With the weather undecided all week, I was never sure if we would get enough flying in to complete the F3F Nationals. I had received a few mails and texts asking as early as Monday, if I would call the contest off. Putting a weather call on a 2 day contest would never be possible because you may always get opportunities in between the showers, to run a round and complete the required four over the 2 days.
For once the weather gods were on our side and although we could see rain all around us, we were able to get the competition on the way a little after 11am, once the first showers had cleared. The wind was never an issue and we had plenty of it on Saturday averaging between 12 and 15m/s.
Briefing over and bibs handed out we got on the way. First up to start the contest was Paul Upton and he certainly got things going with a bang, 36.50seconds with the Needle 124 taking full advantage of the conditions, but flying the bases very tight to squeeze out every ounce of the conditions. Mike Shellim was second in the pilot box and followed Paul with a 40.66. Not letting Paul take the round easily, Rich Bago applied the pressure, he was also the 3rd pilot to fly posted a 36.61. So the first 3 pilots finishing 1st, 2nd and 3rd in the first round.
This time rather than just moving the start number, X number of pilots on the second day. I moved the start number on 5 places as each new round started. Greg Dakin started round 2 with 42.80sec run, with the round progressing the times stayed reasonably consistent, until Adam Richardson stepped up with the Vampire and posted a 39.50. This followed a good time in the first round and making sure he kept in touch with contest front runners. Tom Macpherson after struggling in the first round with difficult conditions, set off with the Radical nailing the bases to get an excellent 37second run. Paul Middleton also squeezed into the sub forty class. Then we got back to Paul Upton 36.50 in the first round wasn’t good enough, so he flew 36.47 to take round 2. Tom was second followed by Dave Wright, who was flying his Needle 124 for the first time in a contest.
Round 3 started and the times were much more consistent throughout. Simon Thornton although at this point not in with the front runners was always nearby. He took round 3 with a 38.60second moving him up into 3rd for the overall contest behind Rich Bago in 2nd and Paul running things in 1st. For the round Simon was followed by Keith Wood just squeezing into a sub forty and Mark Redsell in 3rd.
Paul Upton, allowing others to have a glimpse of hope in the previous round, stepped up in round 4 to not only win the round but take the fastest time of the contest with a 34.07second run. This was followed by Dave Wright in second with a 37 and Simon Thornton also getting a 37 to take the 3rd spot for the round. Mark Abbotts wasn’t far behind with his shiny Caldera, posting a 38 second run and his first sub forty of the contest. Also Greg and Peter Gunning getting in on the act with a couple of 39’s to take 5th and 6th.
Greg Daking focusing on utilising the EM style, took full advantage in round 5 of the air placing the Radical on the slope in a way that only Greg can. He squeezed a 36.69 out of reasonable air to take the 5th round. Adam Richardson again was not far off the pace against Greg and flew a great 36.80 faultlessly; he was followed by Rich Bago’s 38.85 seconds. Dave Watson and Tom Foreman both flying the Cyril, joined the sub forty crowd at this point posting 39’s to fill up 4th and 5th in the pilots order for the round.
Dave Wright had been in the mix from the start and finally took his first round with a 37.22, looking more and more settled with his Needle as each round passed. Mark Abbotts who was also looking better with each round, flew his Caldera to second in the round flying a 39.94 and 3rd went to Peter Gunning getting a very low 40 second.
Round seven and after being out of the top 3 for a couple of rounds, Paul Upton Stepped up again to fly a 35.68. Under normal circumstances you would think this would be a round winner. Immediately behind Paul, Mike Shellim flew his trusted Sting, almost taking the fastest time away from Paul with a brilliant 34.89, pushing Paul down into second place for the round. Dave Watson also got in on the act to take 3rd with a 35.86. But lurking in the background was Mr Wright not far behind with a 38second time and Simon Thornton squeezing in on the act just making sure the leaders don’t get too far ahead.
With round 8 now on the way, Ronnie Lampe stepped up (still grinning from a recent 31.xx a few weeks earlier) and decided it was time to get in on the act and join many others in the sub forties. Not by just getting under the 40second mark, but flying a 34.20 second with the Strega. To add a little tension he was immediately followed on the course by Mark Abbotts. I’m sure he must have heard the Caldera screaming left and right as he walked off to land. Mark couldn’t quite get Ronnie but did his best with a 34.58. 3rd spot was filled by Dave Wright with 35 second run. 4th and 5th taken by Simon and Rich. Also to note and I am sure there were many others Paul Stubley got a PB with a 41.42, well done Paul.
Round 9 and the last round of the first day Rich Bago stepped up to the pilots box to fly a ripping 34.88, was it a round winner? NO Dave Wright immediately following didn’t want to be out done by his partner posted a 34.75 to rob Rich of the round. Mark Redsell finally got in on the act with a 36 to take 3rd spot. Paul Upton taking 4th and Greg in 5th.
At the end of the first day Paul Upton was in the lead but closely followed by Rich Bago. Dave Wright had earned himself an excellent 3rd spot and Simon Thornton was on his heels in 4th. With everything still to play for on the second day.
The forecast had improved for the second day with regards to the rain forecast; the only challenge was going to be the wind. After chasing the wind around the Hole of Horcum walking (what felt like miles) we managed one more round and abandoning 2 others due to wind direction.
So the results, you have already seen these posted but to summaries. Paul Upton flew outstandingly at every opportunity holding his nerve, it was never a done deal going into the second day. Rich had every opportunity to catch Paul. Dave Wright flew some outstanding rounds not forgetting it was the first time he had flown the Needle 124 in a contest, which is a real credit to the gliders breeding. However Simon Thornton is not somebody who will hand anything over and after winning last year was never going to go down without a fight just took 3rd spot from Dave.
I would like to thank NYMRSC for providing their slopes to hold the 2012 BMFA F3F Nationals. Mark Redsell, Rich Bago and Simon Thornton for running the centre, along with Jon Edison’s technical assistance. Ronnie Lampe for Buzzer supremo and everyone for taking part and not forgetting T9HobbySport and MKS Servo’s for stepping forward to sponsor our most important UK contest in the F3F calendar, providing a full set of the highest specification MKS servos to the winner, along with additional prizes to 2nd and 3rd. Also to Jonathan Wells for his new magnetic switches.