Monday, 28 September 2015

BMFA F3F 2015. Long Mynd 27 September

I clocked out after my night shift, jumped in my Van and tootled off to the Long Mynd in Shropshire to meet ten other blokes brave enough to have decided to try to complete a competition in what promised to be very light conditions. It was really quite the ‘Who’s Who’ of British F3F with a star studded, although compact, field.

After arriving a little late (I’d have had to drive like a hooligan to get there for the 9am meet) we got set up on a beautiful slope at the end of a little valley that funnels the available breeze.

The forecast told us to expect a very light breeze to start with conditions building as the day drew out. The forecast was correct on one count. It was light.

Our CD for the event was Mike Evans and he suggested that we complete a round Zero to let the conditions build and stabilise a bit before we got started on the official comp. Based on the forecast it was a good call and we all agreed.

The random order generator took 3 attempts to give an appropriate flying order and settled on having me to go first so I donned the number 1 bib and chucked my empty Willow2 into the beautiful scenery. I tried a pump and it was clear that was a waste of stick time so I scampered along the slope trying to build energy and find some buoyant air before the compulsory start of my timed run.
I felt relatively comfortable on that course and found the bases easily and was able to concentrate on keeping as much energy through the turns as possible and posted a time of 61 or 62 seconds.. Not blistering by any stretch but I was quite pleased with how I flew. Aggressive, but not stupid (in MY eyes!)

You can imagine my surprise when at the end of the round, an entire field of world-class pilots with some of the best gliders available were sitting below me on the leaderboard! It was pretty close actually with most times in the 60’s and a couple in the 70’s. I think there was an almost unanimous sigh of relief that there was a round zero.

SO….on with the comp, proper like.

I flew almost exactly the same flight for the first round with exception of spending longer trying to gain energy and height without a pump and I also flew just a little too close to the bracken on one corner resulting in a split second of no control while the wingtip threaded its way through the ferns. My heart nearly jumped out my mouth as one of my top priorities for this comp was to leave with models intact as I’m driving to Rugen (Germany) on Wednesday! I carded another very low 60’s run and I was matched by Mark Redsell, Mike Evans and Simon Thornton. Not sure who won that round but it was close and it wasn’t me.

Round 2 was my slowest flight with a 62ish second run. I don’t think I had quite the same air as the previous run. But I was still pleased with the run. I wish I could remember who won this round, but I can’t. I have a feeling it was Mike Evans with his shiny new Shinto. They really are a gorgeous plane! It could also have been Mark Redsell or Simon Thornton. It might also have been Greg Dakin with his Jedi?

The conditions were starting to really drop off by the end of the second round with a bit of waiting on the flight line for the conditions to read 3m/s and the same was evident for the start of the 3rd round. I was standing waiting to launch, looking at a large group of birds circle out in front of the slope weighing up whether to launch and run to the thermal to get height and risk not being able to have a re-flight due to launching in non-legal wind speeds.
I nodded to Simon to launch and took the risk.
I got out to the thermal, gained quite a bit more height than I had previously been able to and bombed back onto the course half expecting the air to be electric and smash though each turn. It was clear at turn one that I needed to conserve that energy and I managed to set the fastest time of the day with a ‘blistering’ 56 second run.
Mike and Mark also got sub 60 second runs both in the 58’s I believe.

We tried so hard to get a 4th round flown.
Initially we attempted it on the slope we had used but with 4 out of the first 6 pilots being awarded reflights due to a drop in the conditions we shifted around the slope to the south and as we got the course set up, the wind died altogether and the competition was called finished and incomplete as we need 4 rounds to count towards a BMFA League result.

Below are the final results after 3 completed rounds

1 Clayton Landells 2939.37
2 Mark Redsell 2919.62
3 Mike Evans 2898.59
4 Simon Thornton 2813.44
5 Peter Gunning 2794.11
6 Paul Stubley 2778.61
7 Andy Burgoyne 2730.54
8 Greg Dakin 2699.69
9 Martin Newnham 2629.69
10 Mark Treble 2567.33
11 John Treble 2467.13

Yes, you are reading that correctly.

I won with a Willow2!!

I wouldn’t have made any different calls, including the round Zero and I’d like to thank Mike Evans and Andy Burgoyne for hosting and running the event.
Thanks also to all the pilots for their encouragement and support. It is one of the best aspects of F3F in my opinion and why I loves it!

But everyone loves a what if……

What if round zero was round 1!!!!!
I’d be insufferable and you’d never hear the end of it! Hahahaha

Better get packing for my trip to the German Open at Rugen!!

Tuesday, 15 September 2015

Welsh Open 2015

What a fantastic 3 days of competition, exercise and mateship!! I want to start by saying a massive thanks to Kevin Newton for running this years event. He did a fantastic job and it was a pleasure to help in the centre of the course.

Day one started with what feels like the longest and hardest walk in the world which depressingly, is only a kilometre. We set up camp on the crest and tried to get started as soon as we could with the random number generator singling out it’s first Spanish number for the weekend and Jorge Medina got us underway. He must have been shitting himself as the crest is a daunting place to fly for the first time in a social gathering, let alone a major comp! I was 4th to fly and it was a bit of a test flight after playing with the CG on my Willow2 and not having had the time to test it. It didn’t go well at all and left me way down the pecking order after a 49.68 in sub 40 air with Mark Treble’s 35.28 with his iridescent Toxic setting the fastest time. I immediately modified my ballast to send the CG forward and hoped that it would behave better from round 2 onwards. Fingers crossed!

Mark Treble and Jon Edison let us use their timing gear for the Welsh Open and it is such a breath of fresh air in the CD chair! The Bluetooth speaker saves your voice and the auto functions enabled us to try to manage the buzzers on bases from the flight line. It worked really well and I’d like to thank all the pilots for their help, understanding and brilliant work on the buzzers.

The addition of ballast and a shifting forward of the CG made a massive difference to the Willow2 and my second round was a much better flown 42.91 although I was still too light and added as much ballast as I was comfortable to carry which was also the last time I changed the ballast over the weekend! As I’ve mentioned before I’ve given myself a couple of targets or benchmarks to beat. Well after two rounds I had given the 3 Whitesheet boys a massive head start! Round two was taken by Joel West with a 33.64.

Round 3 I had finally started to get similar results to Tony Livingstone and Daniel Schneider who were flying either side of me. I got my first sub 40 time of the competition with a 39.31 and was soundly beaten by Fritz Donker-Duyviz from Holland with a fantastic 33.12! It was so good to see so many fantastic pilots from across Europe beating the slope and the wind into submission!

Daniel Schneider from Germany held the early round-lead in round 4 with a fantastic 35.18 which was rudely pipped by Joel West a few flights later with 34.17. Joel’s time stood until Inaki Elizondo blitzed the course with an amazing 32.51 second run. I was still chugging along with a mediocre 42.01 which doesn’t score much against a 32.
The last round for Friday was the 5th round and the conditions were easing off a little bit by now and were also affected by quite a bit more South in the South Easterly breeze. It was quite a challenging round but I managed to get some of the better air and flew a 41.37 second run which enabled me to have clawed my way from 46th after round one to 34th at the end of day one. Joel West cemented his day one lead by winning the 5th round with a very tidy 34.14.
The top 3 at the completion of day 1 were Joel West (1), Inaki Elizondo (2) and Peter Gunning (3).
The team Standings after day 1 were, Mickeys Massive (1), Ye Lo Que Hay (2) and GBU (3)

The forecast for Saturday wasn’t particularly flash leading up to the Welsh Open, however the morning dawned bright and dry and we made our way to the westerly slope of Mickeys and got set up. Then the rain came and we hunkered down to wait for the rain and clag to pass. The Random Number generator had chosen a second Spanish Number to kick off day 2 and Marcelino Punal had the honour of first pilot up at just after midday.

Simon Thornton started the day as he meant to go on, taking the round win with a blistering 35.93. Inaki Elizondo and Martin Newnham were hot on his heels but everyone had been put on notice. Simon was coming to get them! Oblivious to all the front running shenanigans, I wobbled in a lacklustre 48.78 and made no forward progress. The West slope doesn’t like reversals (Turn Style) much so a smoother Energy Management style was called for.

Round 7 saw Richard Bago set the pace with a 36.32 and just hold off two of our Austrian visitors in Kurt Planitzer and Stafan Fraundorfer with 37.xx each. Kurt is a seasoned F3Ffer and Stefan was having his second or third F3F event having lots of Electric Pylon racing experience (F5D) which showed in his very aggressive and skilful flying style. I managed to place 7th in the round with my 39.56 and was well pleased with myself!

There were two EPIC flights in round 8. Martin Newnham took the round win with 32.59 and Greg Dakin probably couldn’t believe his eyes when his own extremely fast time of 32.87 was beaten. Stefan Bertschi (Switzerland) and Ronnie Lampe both had stellar runs to grab 3rd and 4th in the round. I was getting the hang of the required style for the hill and posted a 41.19 in 18th place.

I had another really nice flight in the 9h round and was on track for another low 40’s flight until I missed the base (cut) on the 9th turn and had to loop back which cost me 3 or 4 seconds giving me a 44.28 which was still good enough for 14th in the round and more forward progress. Simon Thornton kept plugging away and won the round with a 38.24, just beating Jose-Louis Alvarez and Keith Wood.

At the end of day 2 I had managed to scramble up to 28th position with a few good flights. Simon Thornton had closed the gap to Joel west and was now only 90 points adrift with Martin Newnham hot on their heels in 3rd 45 points behind Simon. Inaki Peter and Greg rounded out the top 6 with the teams having a bit of a change-up too. Mickeys Massive still held the lead with GBU hot in pursuit followed by Ye Lo Que Hay.

I thought that our chances of getting any flying done on Sunday were slim to none so I wasn’t even thinking about flying while we gorged ourselves on Indian food at the Natraj in Bridgend. I woke on Sunday to a very surprising sky and forecast and bolted to the Crest for another pack-horse session. Massive thanks to all the guys that helped drag the course to the slope and back over the weekend! 

Kevin and I chose to move the course about 150yds north from where we flew on Friday and found a place where we could just squeeze the course onto a cliff face. We were a little bit concerned that some might dive straight into a rocky outcrop coming out of Base A. There was nothing to worry about as nobody hit that particular piece of earth……

The Random number generator picked on another Spaniard for Sunday, this time it was Inaki Elizondo’s turn to go first. He wasn’t particularly lucky as he did a massive double-cut on base A and carded a disappointing 51.88. I tried reversals again for this slope but they just didn’t work and gave me a 48.57 with a few ‘squirrely’ moments to consider. ‘EM’ for the next one then. Greg Dakin managed to find a mid-morning thermal square on the face for his 34.36 second run and bound his way towards the top 3 with that! Lazaro Martinez had a great flight to go sub 40 and hold off Pete Gunning and Kevin Newton.

Simon Thornton must have woken up smelling a mixture of fear and blood in the air. He was on a mission and took round 12 by nearly 3 seconds with a 37.77 second run. Alejandro Gil Garcia beat Kevin Newton and Kurt Planitzer to second place by 5 hundredth’s of a second followed by John Phillips and Graeme Mahoney who had had a very good Welsh open and was in with a shot of a top ten finish! Speaking of top 10, I got a 43.39 with the Willow2 which gave me 10th place in the round. We were starting to get a few significant ‘dead spots’ in the conditions and some pilots were feeling the (lack of) effects.

The ‘EM’ turns in round 12 paid off for me again with another 10th place 43.40.  Simon Thornton clearly wanted the title of Welsh Open Champ as he was on form again and held off Joel (39.36) with a rapid 37.24 while Dave Rumble got his best round place with 3rd in 40.31 seconds. Inaki had gone from bad to worse when he misjudged the height of the ground and clipped the cliff on the way TO base A. He was then followed by Keith Wood doing exactly the same thing. I felt bad for them, but at the same time was relieved that they hadn’t hit the rocky outcrop we warned people about in the briefing!!

Round 13 was our final round. It turned out to be our only weather effected round of all 13 over the 3 days! Tony Livingstone was on the flight line getting ready to launch while I was willing him to fly as it didn’t matter how wet I got, I was going to fly IN the rain rather than in the soggy mess AFTER. Unfortunately Tony didn’t launch and we started the timer for the 30 minutes allowance to continue the round or call it a day. So we all had 30 minutes to ponder the results. Would we continue? Had Joel done enough to hold off Simon? Had Martin done enough to beat Pete to third? Had Greg  beaten both Martin and Pete to third? Had I done enough to beat Tony Livingstone and Martin Drewett? I knew I hadn’t beaten Graeme, he’s stepped up a level.

27 minutes into the rain delay, the weather cleared and we were able to get started again. As predicted, Tony, Daniel and I got the soggy air and posted 50’s and 51’s. Joel managed to beat Simons time by 0.7 seconds but no-one was expecting Peter Gunning to stand up and be greeted by a monster thermal and post a 32.84 absolutely obliterating the rest of the field. Until that flight Martin Newnham looked odds-on for third as he took 4rd in the round with 40.17 behind Kurt and Inaki. Greg Dakin wasn’t to be outdone as he took 6th in the round behind Graeme Mahoney and Mark Treble.

Before we crawled back to the cars I scrambled down the cliff to retrieve a bag of bits that used to be Scott Ravenscroft’s Caldera. I’m not a big fan of litter and offered to get it for him after a complete radio failure left him powerless to do anything but watch as his plan accelerated into the cliff base.

I had a fantastic weekend. It was awesome to see so many pilots from across Europe and the UK and amazing to get so many rounds flown over the 3 days. I was really quite impressed with the Willow2 enabling me to have a few top 10 round finished and also flitting between reversals and EM with relative ease.

Massive congratulations To Inaki Elizondo for taking the fastest time of the competition with his blistering 32.51!

Congrats also to the winning team of Joel West, Peter Gunning and Stefan Bertschi: Mickeys Massive

Exceptionally well done to our Welsh Open Champion of 2015 …….. Simon Thornton flying his Shinto!!

Second place was a valiant Joel West with a Freestyler  and in Third after smashing the final round was Peter Gunning!

Thanks again to all that Helped. Special thanks to Kevin Newton for organising and running the event and to Mark Treble, Jon Edison and Rich Bago for their help in the middle when needed and for the timing gear. I’m going to see if I can get some for the SWSA!

Below is the final results and the complete spreadsheet will be available by email, possibly on Kevin’s site, Mike Shellim’s site or hopefully I can figure out how to make it available on my blog.

1 Mickeys Massive
3 Ye Lo Que Hay
6 All Stars
7 Tea Swillers
8 Bonkers
9 Fake Pilots

1 Simon Thornton             10949.04
2 Joel West                             10873.91
3 Peter Gunning                     10780.76
4 Martin Newnham             10606.39
5 Greg Dakin                     10602.92
6 Inaki Elizondo                     10417.80
7 Mark Treble                     10335.98
8 Mike Evans                     10250.86
9 Richard Bago                     10249.23
10 Stefan Bertschi             10210.18
11 Graeme Mahoney             10194.47
12 Kurt Planitzer                     10186.40
13 Ronnie Lampe                     10074.38
14 Kevin Newton                     10051.00
15 Jose luis Alvarez             10012.71
16 Daniel Schneider              9959.05
17 John Phillips                      9953.30
18 Stefan Fraundorfer              9941.96
19 Stefan Bernardy              9857.97
20 Lazaro Martinez              9793.96
21 Fernando Moro              9776.22
22 Frits Donker Duyvis      9759.22
23 Keith Wood                      9715.88
24 Clayton Landells              9678.49
25 Jorge Medina                      9673.09
26 Tony Livingstone              9627.25
27 Martin Drewett              9583.61
28 Reto Blumer                      9569.39
29 Inigo Herrera                      9548.21
30 Dave Rumble                      9528.69
31 John Treble                      9516.02
32 Alejandro Gil Garcia      9486.13
33 Mike Shellim                      9447.50
34 Paul Stubley                      9392.71
35 Andy Burgoyne              9373.67
36 Ewan Maxwell              9370.90
37 Erik Heijne                      9348.00
38 Christian Schnepfleitner      9261.29
39 Scott Ravenscroft              9220.91
40 Rick Ruijsink                      9047.12
41 Marcelino Punal              8956.90
42 Jon Edison                      8837.83
43 Jason Bioletti                      8735.97
44 Ian Mason                      8634.13
45 Mark Abbotts                      7254.93
46 Tony Robertson              6185.69
47 Frank Hulton                      5776.88
48 Vic Eldridge                      3983.62

Thursday, 13 August 2015

Skipsoaring, the business

After much soul searching I have decided that I am no longer going to attempt to make a business from my hobby. I don't want to take the enjoyment away. I still want to create some planes, I just won't be commercialising them. Fortunately, I hadn't even started or invested any real money into it!! Back to just blogging about my gliding adventures then!! The Willow2 had it's first competitive outing at the North of England Open and performed really well! I took a gamble in the last round aiming for a top10 spot and dropped from 14th to 19th. A lot yet to learn about ballasting!!

Sunday, 24 May 2015

Willow 2 is ready to rock!!

It took me far too long.......... I am the master of procrastination!

Yesterday I finally completed the build of my Willow 2 and took her for her test flight at Mickeys on the Bwlch. 

I bumped into Paul (keeps the Sussex Slope Soarers blog) flying his Omega. It was nice to have some company and encouragement. He also took some video which I will add here when he uploads it.

The Willow flew really nicely straight out of my hand, only requiring a little bit of up trim on the elevator. I played with the snapflap which it seemed to like (in those conditions) and was purring along nicely. I flew it empty as the conditions were a 'bit' marginal and am looking forward to seeing how she goes with a bit more weight in her belly. I've got 1.67kgs of tungsten just waiting to crawl in!

I've set the CG at 110mm from the leading edge which seemed nice and twitchy with elevator throw of +-5mm. The Flaps for landing are just short of 90deg and she stops really, really well! It was slow enough on a crow-through for me to pluck it from the air if I was brave enough! (I wasn't).

Hopefully get some more testing and fettling flight in before I drive to Scotland for the next BMFA F3F event in June!

If you want one, the Willow 2 is available from Rich and Dave at T9 Hobbysports! Really impressed with this model!

As promised, here are two flights. Both are uncut! The first one was the maiden and the second one was after re-setting the elevator neutral.

2015 BMFA F3F Nationals, Bwlch. 16-17 May 2015

The weather looked really quite good for day one of the 2015 edition of the BMFA F3F Nats, the mountain weather forecast for the Brecon Beacons was estimating winds of 25 -35mph from the NW which is awesome for the Icecream Slope at the Bwlch. Unfortunately the Bwlch is quite a way from the Brecons and the wind speed and direction were more like the forecast for Bridgend which was 10-15mph form the WNW which is a bit pants for the Bwlch. A challenging first day was in order in beautiful sunshine and no need for coats, scarves and Bobble-Hats!

It was fantastic to be able to take part in a competition on my home slopes whilst not filling an official role. As league co-ordinator (event organiser), Martin got us underway with a welcome and handed us over to our overall CD John Philips. John was assisted by Jon Edison and Pete Burgess. Stuart Wallace volunteered for the un-envied task of Buzzer Supremo and we also had a jury in place consisting of Mark Redsell, Peter Gunning and John Treble. The organisation and running of the entire event was brilliant.

I’d really like to organise a competition overlooking Blaengarw. It would be fantastic when the wind is W to WNW, but that is a discussion for another time….. Day one was to begin on the Icecream Slope.

The first five rounds were flown in varying conditions with thermals effecting the wind direction, strength and buoyancy. Some pilots coped better than others. I flew like a trollop.

Tony Livingston, Stuart Wallace, Martin Newnham, Mike Shellim and Joel West took the first five rounds, making the most of the air they received. Mike’s 37.68 with his Sting was a highlight for me from our time at the Icecream slope.

The conditions had become a bit too variable and the decision was made to move to the Westerly Mickeys slope at around 3.30pm. The move was extremely slick and enabled us to get two more rounds in before a suitably exhausted and well-spent group of pilots made their way off the slope.

Rounds 6 and 7 were won by Martin Newnham and Mark Redsell. I flew a little bit better but must have been standing with a limp because I couldn’t hit the right hand base with any confidence and nearly cut on every flight.

Most of the lads went out for a meal on the Saturday night to sample the unique delights Bridgend has to offer. I was half way through a cleanse/detox so stayed at home and missed the eye-opening fun and frivolity!

Day 2 saw us set up the course on Mickeys Westerly slope and get underway sharpish with Paul Stubley leading the way and Mark Redsell taking the round.
I had received some tungsten on Saturday and really wanted to play with my new ‘toys’ so consequently flew too heavy for the conditions all day and my times suffered. I was ‘all in’ and flying at the legal FAI weight limit of 75g/dm2! This I only realised when I got home and weighed everything! I was gambling on having at least one flight in buoyant air.

That gamble was about to pay off in the final round of the day. My pumps were gaining some significant height and energy and as I zoomed of course with my eyes wide in anticipation the shattering words “you have to re-fly” filled my ears and brought me back to earth with a thud………. I felt a bit deflated after that and found out the the SWSA timing gear had let me down. My reflight was in less inspiring air and that completed the 15th round.

The other thing that let me down all weekend was a combination of failing to decisively hit base B and in the wise words of JP, “Fannying around on the bases”. I don’t think there was a flight where I didn’t run straight out along the sight line and have to make a correction to cross it and I had a massive, proper CUT too!
I had the pleasure of flying directly after Mark Redsell and Simon Thornton. Although they have different styles of flying, they both do two things extremely well. They make sure they aren’t going to cut and they manage the energy they accumulate very well. I’ve been learning a lot from them both and will hopefully be able to put it into practice soon!

The conditions were quite variable on Sunday which lead to some very exciting flights! Keith Wood managed to score the fastest time of competition with a fantastic 33.48 and then followed it up two rounds later with another round win and 33.64! John Phillips was a bit dejected with his 33.73 in the same round after that! 
John had a fantastic second day of the Nats and rocketed through the field from his overnight position of 11th to finish the comp in a very well deserved 4th!
 Martin Newnham with his Freestyler made the most of every bit of air (good or bad) and took the first podium step from the very consistent Simon Thornton who steered his Shinto expertly around the course all weekend. Simon almost took the top spot from our overall winner and I think he might have taken the title if we had flown one less round and only had one discard!
That wasn’t to be and our National champion of 2015 is Mark Redsell! Massive congrats! A brilliant display with his Freestyler all weekend.

 Keith Wood took the previously mentioned fastest time of the comp and also took the Senior National championship in a high quality battle with Mike Shellim and John Treble who both won a round each.


Joel West F3F Nats 2015 from Clayton Landells on Vimeo.

Graeme Mahoney. F3F Nats 2015 from Clayton Landells on Vimeo.

After having named my markers as Tony, Graeme and Martin, I was suitable obliterated by all of them and am really looking forward to seeing how I go in Scotland in June for the next leg of the F3F circus with my newly completed and maidened Willow2.

Thursday, 14 May 2015

Exciting news!

I won't flood my blog with info about my business Skipsoaring, I promise!

I just want to let you know that is now selling the Rotmilan, Rotmilan Midi and Wizard Compact in the UK. The Website has been updated so check it out if you like. Skipsoaring also has a facebook page where I will keep you up to date with updates. Like it if you like!

This Weekend is the BMFA F3F National Championships and will be held at the Bwlch. Two days of furious competition coming up!! I'm going to make a concerted effort to get some pics and vids this weekend. Can't wait!!

I've got the rest of today and all day tomorrow to get the Willow 2 completed to hopefully maiden at the NATS. Wish me luck!

Monday, 27 April 2015

2nd round of the BMFA F3F Summer League 2015. Whitesheet (VR Slope). 26 April

After much deliberation and consultation by our trusty League co-ordinator, the excellent decision was made to shift the 2nd round of the 2015 BMFA Summer League from an unflyable Whitesheet to the Bwlch in Wales. The forecast looked very promising with clear skies and a decent blow on the VR slope.

We were greeted at the Bwlch by drizzle and a very week breeze. Where did that come from?!?

Fortunately the drizzle didn’t stick around for long and 20 pilots got the competition underway in what we hoped were 'building' conditions. The first round was a bit pedestrian with only a handful of pilots carding times under 50 seconds with Mark Redsell making the best of the tricky conditions to take the round with a time of 48.28. The ground in the valley hadn’t warmed up yet, so a spread of 11 seconds across the 20 pilots was as close as the gap from first to last got. The thermic influence was yet to come!

When it came, it came with a BANG!! I’m not sure if I have seen such variability in a comp before. In most rounds, the gap from first to last was around 20 seconds but the biggest gap was 53 seconds.

Round 2 saw Simon Thornton take the honours from Graeme Mahoney with 41.05 and the ground was starting to warm up a little, giving us little ‘love puffs’ to play with and tease us with regards to ballast. I chose to leave mine in all day, except for one round, which was empty. The thing about CD-ing is, you just don’t get any time to adjust anything! I can’t remember which round it was, but I popped a flap servo out and Simon Thornton took my place in the centre to enable me to glue it back in and a massive thanks to him for that.

Mark Redsell took round 3 from a hard charging Ronnie Lampe. Both their Freestylers were looking fabulous all day. The Thermals still hadn’t really materialised and we were yet to see a sub 40 run with 41.39 taking the round.

The 4th round saw the first evidence of a proper thermal with Mark Redsell scoring a 36.74 to take the round from Simon, Graeme, Mark T and Martin Newnham. Martin had a bit of a day to forget really. He was in obvious discomfort with a sore back, didn’t get much luck with the thermal lottery and was stuck in the centre too! His Freestyler looked great though!

Round 5 saw Martin Drewett and his Pitbull take the win with a brilliant 36.41 run beating Neal Shead and his PB of 38.07. Andy Burgoyne had a fantastic run with his Drops 277 to take 3rd in that round. I think it was this round that I had a booming thermal and managed to cut about half way through the run and perform the world’s worst recovery to kill all the speed and ruin a potential PB by at least 10 seconds.

Round 6 started with Martin Drewett getting another blistering time and setting a 36.17 as the early benchmark. Tony Livingstone fell just short with a 37.42 then up stepped the irrepressible, undeterrable John Treble. I was walking back to the pits after another mid 40 run to see Johns Pitbull being sucked straight out of Mark’s hand into the stratosphere in the mother of all thermals. Everyone’s eyes were glued to the spec with fingers crossed in nervous anticipation as John slammed the Pitbull through its paces and scraped the bases for a beautifully flown 31.67 seconds of screaming ecstasy!! The cheer that erupted for John after that flight was immense and I won’t forget it for ages. That was the flight of the day for me. It must have ignited the afterburners under Mark Treble too.

No Son likes being beaten by their Dad. It’s a man thing. Mark bounced into the centre of the course as a juicy thermal arrived with fire in his eyes and set off in pursuit of a time better than 31.67. He came so close and squeezed what he could out of his Toxic and the thermal to card a personal best 33.31 and win the 7th round from Martin Newnham and Tony. Martin almost smiled after that flight! Graeme Mahoney had been having a stellar day at the races until this round. He had to use some antigravity magic to keep his Jedi Space Lift aloft for the 87 seconds it took to complete the 1km course.

Mark Treble tried again in the 8th round. He took the round win from Tony and Ronnie but 34.08 wasn’t fast enough for him. Tony and Ronnie were rocketing up the leader board with some excellent flights! Andy Burgoyne copped the brunt of the dead air before a thermal in this round.

The 9th round was to be our final round. The winning time was 40.18 by Simon followed closely by Martin Drewett and Mark Redsell. The air had died for the start of the 10th round and it was pretty uncomfortable watching Stuart Wallace fighting to stave off a dreaded land out and the unanimous decision to call it a day was made. I had no idea who had won overall as so many different pilots had good flights and bad flights.

It was awesome to see Vic Eldridge at an F3F comp. I hadn't seen Vic for ages and was chuffed to see him throwing his Elita about the place! It was also a shame to see him park it early on in the comp and sit the rest of the day out. A special mention goes to Neal Shead for popping his ‘Bwlch F3F’ cherry. He flew his Strega very well and went sub 40 for the first time with a new PB of 38.07! I’m sure he won’t forget this event for some time! Ian Falconer managed to caress his Jedi around the course in 42.94 in his second F3F outing to the Bwlch. Mark and John Trebles PB’s were a highlight for me and it was great to see a bit of family rivalry on display. The determination on Mark’s behalf to beat Dad was visible, and he came close too!

Massive thanks to Martin Newnham for organising and running the competition through the pain of a back in spasm. Thanks to John Treble for organising the buzzers, all pilots for buzzing when asked and a huge thanks to all the guys who tirelessly launched all day.

Congratulations to Simon Thornton on winning our first completed Summer League competition for 2015!! He flew his Shinto brilliantly all day and made the most of the air he was given.

Mark Treble got close at the end of the day but had to settle for a fantastic 2nd place in front of the superhuman Mark Redsell who managed to finish the day in a valiant 3rd place.

Looking forward to our next F3F event which will also be held in Wales in the middle of May. The BMFA F3F Nationals. Entries are open now, so get them in!

The final results from the second round of the BMFA F3F Summer league are below. The spreadsheet is available on the GBSRA website. Hopefully someone, somewhere, took some pictures or video as I didn't get a chance to.

S Thornton
M Treble
M Redsell
M Drewett
T Livingstone

R Lampe
G Mahoney
M Newnham
C Landells
S Wallace

M Abbotts
J Treble
A Burgoyne
I Falconer
N Shead

M Evans
F Hulton
M Shellim
P Burgess
V Eldridge


Mike Shellim took some fantastic photos and has let me show you some here! Thanks Mike!

Check out Mike's other photos in his Zenfolio albums here