Interglide is the UK leg of the FAI sanctioned F3J Eurotour. This year saw the event returning to the excellent Marsh Gibbon site .Run over the weekend of 23/24th June. Marsh Gibbon has been unfortunate to have suffered from some terrible weather at past events and this year’s forecast did not bode well. Uppermost in most people’s minds after looking at the weather forecast was whether the dreaded “Marsh Gibbon weather curse” was about to strike again. However, it turned out that the weather gods this time were kind to us by providing two very challenging & difficult days soaring, albeit with a few interruptions due to rain. Compared to the weather suffered in many parts of the country this was a miracle.(Floods in Sheffield)
The poor forecast did put off some people though and several pilots decided not to attend which is a great shame as the organisers had put in considerable effort to make this a great event. When the dust had settled though we still had around 40 flyers including some of Europe’s top flyers. The Dutch team who year after year support Interglide were out in force. Also attending for the first time this year were several pilots from Northern Cyprus along with their helpers. Their enthusiasm and drive in difficult & challenging conditions was an example to us all. Watch these guys, they are going to be a force on the world F3J scene for sure. Tobias Lammlein, one of the world’s top flyers as his past results have proven, flew over to represent Germany. Ryanair managed to loose Tobias’s models on route to the UK so Andre Barosky kindly loaned him his own Sharon Pro for the competition. Tobias normally flies Sharon Pro’s so the model was no stranger to him. However the fact he performed so well with it just goes to prove what we all know, it’s the guy on the sticks that counts more than the model.
Onto the competition itself. Saturday dawned with threatening clouds all around but regardless the organisers were up early to set up the field to suit the forecast wind direction. By the time they had done this, the weather had improved considerably and became very flyable. Wind strength was light to moderate for most of the day with the occasional glimpse of the sun. This provided the difficult and challenging conditions witnessed by the competitors, on the whole the day stayed mainly dry. Massive sink & lift were evident in equal measures during the day but at times some slots had minimal or zero lift to contend with which made for a very interesting contest.As the weather was holding It was decided to fly up to 7.00pm that evening in case Sunday’s weather proved to be less cooperative and thanks to the smooth organisation helped by our competition scorer Hayley Hawes 4 and a half rounds were completed. Several of the top UK flyers were still in the hunt at this stage as well as several of our overseas flyers. Flying stopped at 7.00pm sharp and everyone retired to get ready for the evenings BBQ festivities.
Saturday evening saw the traditional BBQ take place. The entry fee covered the BBQ as well as copious amounts of free alcohol and food. Despite the somewhat muddy field everyone appeared to enjoy themselves. Tony Vale and his partner Karen prepared and cooked all the food with help from Carol Boorman and Sarah Lipscompe. This, needless to say entailed a lot of work before during and after the event. Thanks Tony, Karen & Carol ,Sarah for all your efforts it was a great evening, even for those that cant remember it!
Sunday dawned with a complete change of wind direction to be accommodated. The flight line and control tent all had to be moved and of course it was raining at the time just to make the task that bit harder. By 10.30 the weather had again miraculously improved to light intermittent rain and it was decided it was game on. Round 5 was finished off as was this years challenge for numerous pilots. The conditions were even harder than the day before with many slots becoming a “slaughter of the lambs” scenario. Many pilots were reduced to trying to slope soaring an 8ft high hedge to avoid the irresistible pull of terra firma. The weather was however holding out. So we made the decision to go for a sixth round .This meant that everyone would be allowed to drop their lowest round score. As we were scoring best 5 from 6. Round 6 was perhaps the toughest round of all as many more pilots fell away from contender to also ran positions However several UK and European flyers were very much still in with a chance.
After the round scores had been computed it turned out that 4 UK pilots and 4 European pilots had qualified for the 8 man fly-off. This was to be a three round fly-off which promised to be of a very high standard. For some reason Fly-offs tend to bring out the very best flying from competitors and this was to be the case here.
Round 1 of the fly off saw no one pilot excel. Tobias scored the 1000 but most of the others scored well. leaving the contest still wide open. However it started to rain quite heavy so we decided to hang on till the storm had gone through before continuing. Round 2 was to change the position entirely. Colin Paddon found a very small thermal at low level and worked the thermal for some minutes neither gaining or loosing height until the thermal finally broke away and he managed to speck out his Experience Pro. No other competitor managed to fly out the slot, all having to re launch and hope Colin would make a mistake. However he held his nerve and landed spot on time, scoring the 1000 with his closest competitor being nearly 4 minutes behind him. With a clear 4 minutes in hand Round 3 saw Colin wait on the flight line to observe where the best lift was and then launched into it. Barring a massive mistake on his part in R3, R2 had ensured that Colin had enough margin to take the title which turned out to be the case. Colin was obviously delighted to win Interglide for a third time proving at the same time that age is no barrier to winning at the highest level.
A big thank you also goes out to this years organisers for such an outstanding effort to run the contest and lift the spirits of everyone in the somewhat damp conditions.
Graham Wicks BMFA / BARCS F3J League Coordinator
The British Association of Radio Controlled Soarers (BARCS) arranged for the inaugural Interglide in 1982. It was styled “World Interglide” and was organised by the Coventry Club as part of the BARCS 10th anniversary celebrations.