Sunday, 6 January 2013

Saturday 5th January 2013
Registration and Opening Ceremony

(Note to self: change all your clocks to Oz time!)
Having arranged to pick the team up at 9am and been awake since sunrise sorting out a few things, I managed to get completely confused and arrived later than intended to take the team to registration. Luckily Steve was on the ball and trucked up to take the team down to the competition HQ at the Forbes Sports Club. Even arriving fifteen minutes late meant queuing for a couple of hours to get all the official registration  and helmet checks completed. However, it was a very sociable affair with pilots from all over the world catching up with each other again. 

As the competition was now only one day away, I called the crew together for our first Team GB meeting. We headed over to the Mezzanine Coffee Shop just up the road from the motel and spent the next hour sorting out logistical issues such as expenses, daily shopping requirements, radio frequencies and etiquette, and retrieve processes. Our team is full of highly independent and talented individuals, many with an enviable track record of competing in international competitions over many years, so there is a fantastic pool of knowledge to tap in to - it may occasionally be challenging to manage, but that is a small price to pay for having such a strong team.  As the sky and conditions started to boom, a couple of pilots began to get itchy feet to get flying...

Steve Gale stocking up on rehydration liquids
During the afternoon most pilots decided to take the time off to sort out some kit issues and have a rest while Grant, Gordon and Kathleen went for a fly. I managed to get some shopping done including many litres of water, before heading over to the Team Managers meeting which covered Task and Safety Committees, and Health and Safety issues, the main one being coping with the increasing heat - apparently it is going to be one of the hottest two weeks on record - talking of which, there is potential for a few records to fall during the competition, including speed over a triangle.

Early in the evening we all gathered for the team parade through Forbes to the Official Opening Ceremony at the Forbes Rugby Club, and for the Forbes Biggest BBQ. I have to admit, it was a great site to see all our team together, dressed in our team shirts, carrying two Union Jacks. After a leisurely procession, introductory speeches, including one from our very own John Aldridge (who is now a CIVL representative and on the Competition Jury Panel), a presentation to Jonny Durand for his record breaking flight, the BBQ and party kicked off properly.  

Fly safe, fly far, fly fast. Go Team GB!

Dave Matthews and John Aldridge 

Johnny Durand with his World Record 

As you can imagine the food was fantastic (well you would expect an Aussie BBQ to be nothing less) and the live music from Gabemusic was superb. Eventually the dancing turned into a kind of "flag off" dancing competition with yours truly proudly taking centre stage...

Vicki Cain tries to organise a rather large international gaggle of hang glider pilots...

A great evening had by all, and now things will start to get a little more serious with the official practice day on Sunday and the competition proper starting on Monday. At least the pilots have enough time to get over their sore heads....

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