Regionals Round up!

After a great deal of negotiating, planning and organisation we finally opened the Gransden Regionals on 7th August 2021.  Originally planned for 2020 this event was long awaited by many and fully subscribed with 50 entrants.

Two classes – Gin (handicap of 101 or over) and Tonic (the rest) arrived rigged and gridded on the first day in eager anticipation. Of course the biggest single thing we had no control over was the weather and believe me, there is nothing worse than a one day comp with people hanging around a damp and bleak airfield wishing they hadn’t taken precious time off work, thinking about a new hobby completely!

The first weekend was forecast to be pretty terrible in terms of cross country flying however our super talented team including unique weatherman Phil Warner (on loan from Dunstable) and our very lovely task setter Martin Aldridge set some realistic tasks and so it began.

New to directing but a competent and highly successful competition pilot, Finn Sleigh took the lead and took a deep breath before launching the grid into a fairly mediocre sky on the first day – 138km for the Gin class and 105km for the Tonics! More than half the field got ‘round making the day a competition day albeit with modest points. Everyone got back to the airfield safely and we made good use of our mutual crewing pool – this included organising a ‘carry-out’ team to help one pilot out of his field – luckily (or indeed unluckily), he was so close the team could walk there!

After a Sunday scrub, tasks were flown everyday with the exception of Friday making it a 7-day competition in the end – not too shabby!!

From an organisation point of view and judging by the feedback we have had, the competition was a huge success, it ran smoothly and without incident. Club flying continued with Steve Rae operating before and after the grid launch.  Some club members flew their own gliders on the better weather days – either chasing the pack or doing their own thing.  You can review all the task and results on Soaring Spot to see who was chasing who and how the positions changed throughout the week.

Socially, the bar was open and busy most nights and the social events were well attended.  Pilot, competitor and talented photographer, Piers-Rex Murray put together this short video, which pretty much sums up the week:

Personally, having spent a lot of time and energy planning the event, it was very rewarding to see the airfield full of enthusiastic hopefuls of all ages and abilities, enjoy a fun, friendly, safe competition.

We finished the week with prizegiving where winners Matt Cook (Gin) and Henry Inigo-Jones (Tonic) were crowned champions! Thanks were given to all those involved in the planning and execution of such an event. I’m not going to mention everyone again here but suffice to say such an event would not be possible without a huge team effort and support from the club and members so thanks to everyone.

So the big question, would we do it again? You’ll just have to watch this space…..

Lorna Sleigh