Overview of the 2016 Gauteng Regionals
After a doubtful and very blustery start to the day, which threatened to have the contest declared cancelled before it even commenced; we were eventually able to fly a safe successful and enjoyable Gauteng Regional contest, with all 10 pilots being able to get in two flights, a known and an unknown. The inclement weather forecast resulted in a number of competitors wisely electing to pull out the day before, when winds in excess of 30kts were experienced. This was a good call for the Free State pilots who would have battled low cloud and strong winds had they attempted the ferry to FAVV. Great judgement guys!
Thank-you to all the competing pilots who did decide to be eternal optimists and attend on the day against the odds. This is obviously a much easier call to make when your ferry is less than 15mins.
A very special thank-you to Natalie for being at the competition and for handling the scoring with her typical professionalism. Everyone sincerely appreciated having you there, we all salute your courage and we all really enjoyed your company.
The wind started at 20kts and by 09h00 was gusting to about 30kts but straight down the runway, resulting in very poor visibility. However unlike most days, conditions actually got better as the day progressed, and by the last flights at around 15h00 the wind had calmed down to less than 10knots resulting in an improved horizon. Newbie to competition Chris Joubert served as the first flight up ‘wind dummy’. All pilots and judges watched his inaugural competition flight with a wry sense of humour as this ‘’rookie’’ had to tackle gusts that were clearly out of competition limits. (Note - there was no danger as there was no x-wind; however keeping it in the box was going to be challenging for Chris). By the time he had completed his warm up figures we were all sure about two things – firstly although conditions were marginal we could indeed fly; and secondly that Chris has loads of potential for this sport. He went on to win the sportsman class with a very respectable 74.9% - nicely done! Another noteworthy mention is Ivan Van der Schaar who flew his classic Pitts S2a with great élan and scored a very credible 73.5% earning himself a 2nd place in the Sportsman class. It was really good to see a Pitts S2a on the competition circuit again, especially one flown so well. Thanks also to the very popular stalwart Roger Deare for flying up from Durban the day before to compete in the Sportsman class.
Adam Puc continued his victorious momentum from nationals by winning the Intermediate class with a 74.5%. (The Viagra seem to be paying off Adam). Barrie Eeles posted a 74.6% average for his unlimited known and unknown sequences firmly establishing his place as a bona fide unlimited pilot. He is certainly on the up and up, and I do not think that we have seen the best of Barrie yet, this may well be the start of a meteoric trajectory for him – no pressure pal. Thanks specifically to Neville who was not going to enter, and who have not flown serious Aresti since Nationals, but who decided to give it a go in order to make up numbers, he flew a credible contest.
Thanks also to the other Kitty Hawk stalwarts Gary, Andrew and Eugene, who are always solid competitors and a great asset to the club. Gary is flying his Pitts brilliantly and doing really well in the Advanced class, one can easily recognise that Bertus (the Pitts master) has had a positive influence here.
Thanks also to all the judges for making this a successful contest, and to Neville for co-directing the contest and organising the EMServices and the catering. It was great to see Johnnie and his daughter on the judging line again; Johnnie is a highly seasoned competitor and his continued involvement in the club is appreciated. Another great piece of news was that Charles Urban was actually brining his Yak across of Rand to compete but a mag drop held him back. It will be a great day when he again dives into the competition box; he is a highly respected campaigner whose presence has been missed over the last 18 or so months.
After the traumatic events of 2 weeks before it was important that we had a good contest, which we did. This proved the resilience and strength of the SAC. Well done to all.