Tuesday, 16 July 2013

Saturday 13th July 2013 Results and Closing Ceremony

Saturday 13th July 2013 

Closing Ceremony


Well, this is it. The last blog for the competition. And what a comp it has been! Team GB should be very proud of what they have achieved. With some of our highest ranking Rigid pilots unavailable for this competition, this trip was not about medals or podiums. It was about learning the terrain, gaining mountain experience, and nurturing new talent. We all learned a great deal.  Some of the visiting pilots told me that this was the first comp that they had not made goal  - it was not easy.

Neil "Bomber" Atkinson - perhaps he should be renamed "Grafter"
Neil Bomber" Atkinson managed to double his mountain flying time, even though he was struggling with the set up of his glider, which has now gone back to the AIR factory for assessment and set up. It was a gallant performance, and one which we should all applaud. Having flown alongside Neil many times in the UK, I know what a good pilot he is, setting himself and achieving ambitious tasks  - he hasnt been leading the UKNXCL out of luck.

Luke "Skywalker" Nicol
Luke "Skywalker" Nicol joined the team late in the day on the BHGC Training Camp initiative and was paired up with mentor Andy "Buzz Lightyear" Hollidge. His drive, focus and talent shone through, and his flying was way beyond what one would normally expect from a relatively low air-time pilot with limited competition experience. I just loved the day he got lead points for being ahead of the lead gaggle due to making a very good decision on which line to take en route. He clearly gained a great deal from the camp, and maybe, just maybe, with a more competitive wing, there could have been a few surprises in the results. Perhaps next year, Luke?

Andy "Buzz Lightyear" Hollidge
Andy "Buzz Lightyear" Hollidge did himself proud. In his early flying career, Andy had competed alongside the best of them, but like so many pilots, work and family commitments meant that his competition career was put on hold. Now back on the scene, and as hungry as ever to prove himself, Andy flew his socks off, frequently making goal, and often with, or ahead of, the lead gaggle. Until, that is, it came to gliding - perhaps there should be the rigid equivalent of flex Sprog testing to even out the playing field. The day the task was accidentally stopped just for Team GB was the day when I believe he was going to be first in goal. Like a true gent, he took it on the chin, picked himself up, and flew continually well. On top of that, he was also mentoring Luke, helping in task preparation and was often heard on the radio offering advice en route. What a team player. Maybe next year it will be "To Infinity and Beyond...!"

Kath landing
It was a real shame that Kathleen Rigg picked up an injury to her shoulder, meaning that she could not fly the competition after day one. It is clear that Kath is highly respected on the circuit, with many of the  pilots telling me that they have taken inspiration from what she has, and continues to, achieve. Hopefully next year Kath will be back out here giving them a run for their money.

Buzz and Ben celebrating a goal flight
I was very proud to be once again looking after a team that was representing our country. Even though it is a minority sport, hang gliding is treated with great respect in many other countries. The Pre-Worlds and Worlds in Annecy have received the full support from the local authorities who made it clear several times during the competition how much hosting these events means to them, the local economy and the future of hang gliding. I was glad to be a part of it. 

Jean Louis Debiee (General Director of Championship)
and Doussard Mayor Michele Lutz

The organisers did a fantastic job in managing this event, always listening to feedback and implementing changes to improve the way things were working. I am convinced that the Worlds next year will be a fantastic event. Bravo Jean Louis! 

The Silverware

Organisers T Shirts

The Class 5 Podium 

2nd Walter Geppert, 1st Tim Grabowski, 3rd Herwig Mayer

2nd Corinna Schweisighausen, 1st Francoise Dieuzeide-Banet, 3rd Helene Toyer 

Class 2 Winner: Mafred Ruhmer

Sports Class:
2nd Serge Mainente, 1st Fabien Garing, 3rd Benoit Benier

The Pre-Worlds Posse


  1. excellent blog Ben, Tim and I will be there with you next year even if I have to bubble wrap the man for the next 12 months

  2. Well done Ben. Gripping stuff again really brings the competition scene alive and accessible.