This year Interglide reverted to its usual June date because it was delayed in 2008 until July to avoid a clash with the F3JW/C in Turkey. The strip of water that we call the English Channel and the high cost of crossing its always reduces the number of competitors from mainland Europe but we still had entrants from Holland, Norway and Sweden. Unfortunately the entire Turkish team with their accompanying German manager, Philip Kolb, had to pull out because of scheduling problems as they have done from other Eurotour competitions this year but total entry numbers were still up on the previous year.
A hot week of weather beforehand reverted to normal on the Friday before with thunderstorm and downpours at Glastonbury and the roof closed for the first time at Wimbledon. However at Marsh Gibbon all remained hot and dry as the field was laid out and final flight testing undertaken. The hot sun and thundery showers remained over the entire weekend but the only rain that fell at Marsh Gibbon was late on Saturday evening just after the BBQ was finished. MasterChef Jim Wright, the Chairman of the Ivinghoe Soaring Association who were hosting the event, proved again that with the assistance of his wife Norma he can produce a superb meal in the middle of a field with no electricity for 50 or more hungry flyers – magnificent! When the rain finally arrived it only lasted for an hour or so and good use was made of the marquee with its supply of beer and wine.
During the flying itself there were no interruptions for rain so the competition proceeded at a good pace. In the late afternoon the of the Saturday the wind shifted so that launching was downwind but rather that shift the field layout we decided to finish a little early and compete the rounds on the Sunday. This decision met with great approval as it allowed more time for washing and drinking before the BBQ!
The Sunday again dawned with sunshine and light winds – but in the opposite direction from the day before. The field was soon laid out to cope with this and the final qualifying rounds proceeded at a good pace. The top six from the rounds were a good representation of the international flavour of the event with Jo Grini from Norway, Lennart Arvidsson from Sweden, Albert Kort from Holland joining three Brits in fly off. By the time of the fly off light cloud had gathered and there were even a few light spots of rain which made thermals hard to find and very scratchy. Three round in these very challenging conditions left Adrian Lee as the worthy winner followed by Jo Grini and Peter Allen in third place. Austin Guerrier from Acemodel kindly donated some of the prizes which were well received by the winners.