A flurry of late entries meant we had 14 pilots entered with at least 5 of the usual suspects missing for various reasons.
The original CD Simon Jones suffered a devastating family bereavement shortly before the event and obviously had much more important things on his mind than model flying at a very difficult time for the whole family. Our thoughts are with them as they struggle to come to terms with their loss.
Tonk Hickson and the Mike’s (Stern and Fantham) were all on holiday, I hope your weather was better than ours, probably not that difficult in the circumstances given that they are in Corsica, Zimbabwe and Canada respectively. You don’t know what you missed.
Last year’s winner Martin Halston and custodian of the Radioglide hand couldn’t make it, due to injury I believe.
The addition of four first time entrants, Andrew Collier, Neil Harrison, Tony Butterworth and Mike Challinor, who made the not inconsiderable trek from a long way north, meant that in the circumstance 14 was a reasonable turnout. Also good to see Kevin Brown fit and raring to go after his winter health issues.
It was nice to see we had exclusive use of the same field as last year which is just about ideal for F3K with enough features to generate some lift, but nothing that is obviously slope soarable, in keeping with the spirit of flat field soaring.
The Great British weather kept everyone guessing with the forecast changing at least twice a day in the week before and to be fair I don’t think anyone had the faintest idea what we would be getting. Stiff upper lips all round meant everyone remained optimistic and seemed determined to get some flying done having already lost the first two comps of the year due to weather.
The day dawned exactly as forecast, except that the sun appeared to be missing and it was raining hard in South Oxfordshire…………..
Get to the field to find it was not raining and most people already there and test flying, oops CD one of the last to arrive – must try harder or spend less time in McDonalds. However it looks like I managed to bring the rain with me and as soon as we had the field and PA setup it started raining. After plenty of standing around we had a quick pilots briefing in light rain and managed to get the first round under way sometime after 10:30 I think.
Round 1 was best five flights with a maximum of 2 min’s from unlimited launches.
We managed to complete all three groups without interruption from the weather. Surprisingly, given that it had just stopped raining, there seemed to some buoyant air around with 32 maximums from 70 scoring flights. Richard Swindells won group 1 while Neil Harrison and Tony Butterworth made good starts by winning groups 2 and 3.
Round 2, last 2 flights to count with a 4 min max..
Notable in this round was Richard making a 4 min max and a 2:44 to really hurt the scores of everyone else in his group, thanks…..I was in that group. I think we may have had a bit of a rain delay somewhere in round 2 but we eventually got it completed with Tony Butterworth and Darius Zibikas taking the 1000 in groups 2 and 3.
Round 3, 1, 2, 3 & 4 min flight in any order.
Richard again took the honours in group 1 with some very consistent flights, closer at the top this time with Darius not all that far behind.
A cracking flight by Tony Beckett in group 2 saw him get a 4 min max to take the 1000, sadly I missed it as I was flying in the same group………..thanks again, I sometimes wonder why I bother.
Group 3 was a much closer contest with the win going to Simon Barker by 6 seconds from Neil followed by Vytautas a further 31 seconds back with Tony Butterworth only 16 seconds behind him.
Round 4 was poker………..
A tricky round for the newcomers as there is a lot going on and so easy to get a bit carried away and come unstuck. Looking at the scores consistency and not being overly ambitious were the way forward. Darius showed the way for a convincing win in group 1 with 3 x 1:35 and 2 x 1:40. I fear both Neil and Andrew Collier may have been a bit too ambitious in their first comp. Richard opted for the safe option as well and did enough to secure group 2 with 2 x 1:45 a 1:55, 1:50 and 1:40. There then followed a long rain delay which at one point looked like it might ruin the day with only one more group to fly to make it a valid comp. I lost track of time as trench foot and hypothermia were starting to set in fast but somewhere in there we decided that should we get the last group of round 4 flown then we would call it a day so Mike Challinor, having already flown in group 1, decided to make an early start back north, I don’t blame him and hope he had a safe journey home.
Some time later we just decided to go for it despite the consistent light rain. Amazingly the conditions were not too bad and I managed to take the 1000 in group 3 with a 1:10, 3 x 1:20 and a slightly sketchy 1:40. I returned to the same little bit of buoyant air 5 times which had stayed exactly where I left it, which was nice. Not sure what drama befell Kevin but Tony Butterworth, another poker virgin, learnt a hard lesson about the tactics of Poker. Don’t worry Tony we’ve all been there and will no doubt all go there again.
So after four rounds and with a valid comp in the books we called an end to proceedings at about 3:30ish, I guess it was a popular decision judging by the speed with which the field was cleared and packed into the boot of my car.
A quick, if slightly moist, prize giving followed.
1- Richard Swindells with a perfect 4000 gets to look after the hand for a year.
2 – Darius Zibikas just 91 points behind on 3909
3 – Vytautas Zibikas on 3500
4 – Maria Freeman – 3442
5 – Tony Butterworth – 3405
6 – Mike Challinor – 3402
7 – Laurence Green – 3326
8 – Simon Barker – 3182
9 -Tony Beckett – 3012
10 – Aubrey Hack – 2994
11 – Neil Harrison – 2962
12 – Andrew Collier – 2508
13 – Andrew Green – 2383
14 – Kevin Brown – 2127
So congratulations to Richard on the win, I’m sure Hayley was impressed with the return of “the hand” and to Darius and Vytautas for second and third, well done all. Good placing for Maria in forth and Tony and Mike for fifth and sixth in their first comp. Quite tight from third to seventh with only a 174 point spread. Given the conditions there was a lot of great safe flying being done with no carnage as far as I could see. I think the worst damage was Aubrey loosing his launch blade.
Thanks to everyone who made the effort to turn up for what turned out to be a damp but enjoyable days flying. It really makes it worthwhile putting the effort in to organise these things when we get a decent turn out even in less than perfect conditions. Nice to see some new faces and I hope poker hasn’t put you off too much and we will see you at some more comps this year.
Having been “volunteered” at short notice by Mike Fantham to be CD following Simon’s understandable withdrawal I felt rushed and very underprepared to run this, but with help from a number of people it seems to have worked, thanks to Robin Sleight and Graham James at BARCS in particular.
A big very thank you to Tony Beckett for stepping in and doing the scoring for me, I don’t think I could have done it without you, it really does make it less hassle to CD if someone else can take care of the scoring, also all at BARCS for their efforts in making the field available and making it happen.
F3K CD BARCS Radioglide 2014
Download the official results below.