Tuesday, 29 March 2011

Champion of Champions

The rubbish weather over the winter and the demise of all the Scottish Winter F3F League events meant that my 3rd place for turning up to seven out of the eight 2010 Summer League qualified me for the Sloperacer Champion of Champion event at the Bwlch in South Wales.

Peter Gunning picked me up at 9:30 and we headed for Cumbernauld to collect Dave Watson for the long drive to Bridgend and the Bwlch. We passed this wind turbine blade (and two others) on the Perth bypass. Big!

After missing the turn-off for Dave's house we had a detour almost as far as Stepps before we could get off the dual carriageway and head back to Cumbernauld and Dave! The weather on the way down was brilliant and made the journey very pleasant.

We stopped at M6 services and again at Ross-on-Wye on the M5. The first people I saw when I got out of the car at Ross-on-Wye were Richard Bago, Jon Edison and Keith Wood! I had to do a quick double-take to be sure I was right! This was extremely fortuitous because Richard had the Kong Fu DLG kit I had ordered and also Peter’s new Alliaj. A quick unpacking and repacking of cars meant Peter and I had new toys to play with in our rooms that night!

Friday night we met-up with Joel West, Simon Thornton and Martin Newnham for a curry and a few beers and great start to the weekend.

Saturday morning was bright and sunny and the light wind was blowing onto the Crest which meant we had a bit of a trail to the slope but no real climbing to do. Dave Watson was first up and was looking quick but cut about turn 8 and lost time in the recovery. Peter Gunning was also going well and looked like he would do well. AJ’s flight looked great with full reversal turns and almost “big” air. Yes!

Mark Redsel launched my Vikos out into the void (it is a big hill) and into some smooth air. About lap 7 the wind started to die and the last few laps were poor. The wind continued drop after I flew and the competion ground to a halt. A few others flew later in the morning but the slight increase in wind now and again didn’t last. We trailed back to the cars early afternoon and onto the back of the Wrecker and a few more flights were flown but the round was never completed. Frank Hulton and Mark Southhall never flew a race.

Some sport flying took place although I was never tempted to try the back of Wrecker with no possibility of landing out. I was happy to sit and watch the brave fliers and the DLG antics and listen to the banter!

Saturday night was a repeat of Friday with more curry and beers and the six from the night before were joined by Adam Richardson, Mark Southall, Mike Evans, Mark Abbots, John Phillips, Frank Hulton, Andy Burgoyne and Scott Ravenscroft. Much more banter and many laughs! The “sensible ones” (me included) headed home early (bearing in mind we were about to lose an hour’s sleep), some others went on for more drinks and highjinks!

Sunday morning saw a good breeze but low cloud and mist on the hill. There was a lot more wind in the Wrecker car-park but this was a result of all that Bridgend curry! The sun came out and we set-up on the Wrecker but with the warmer air the wind dropped again and the competition never got going again. 1:30 saw the CD call it and the competitors with a long way to go packed up and headed home.

So only one flight for me but I had a great weekend. One good thing was that we were home before 10 pm instead of the wee small hours.

Thanks to Peter and Dave for their company and particularly to Peter for doing all the driving and putting up with me gabbing more or less non-stop there and back! (If nobody is talking I will!!) I bet Peter was glad when I sat in the back for the last leg before dropping Dave off and he got a change of company!

Thanks to all who helped organise the weekend and to Zim and Sloperacer for sponsoring the event. I have a new hat now!!

I’m looking forward to my next visit to South Wales.

Dave Watson took some great pictures. There are also some from Zim on the Sloperacer Blog page and also some from Mike Evans here.

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