The Gordon Report
The Gordon Report….???
Well, Gordon is out of the country so I’m going to try to fill in as best I can. I don’t think any pictures were taken so there’s no eye candy with this report. Gordon does a great job! Me, not so much.
FSS #4 – Punta Gorda
The day dawned with pretty much clear skies and light winds. A perfect day for soaring. Test launches before the contest found big air even at the 9 am morning hour.
A total of 16 pilots signed up including 7 Sportsmen, which may be a new record. We were glad to see them all.
The first round was announced and big air was pretty abundant as 10 fliers managed to max the time. 12 pilots found landing points so that the scoring was really tight. Jamie Mercado turned in the best score followed by Rick Eckel and Kris Van Nostran. Four Sportsmen, Moe Mollen, Graham Foster and Gene Chaille, turned in scores of 440+ points in first thru fourth order to pretty much keep up with the Exper leaders.
Round 2 followed with more big air. All of the Experts maxed and three of the Sportsmen found air friendly enough to make all their time. Again landings were made by most of the contestants. Jamie Mercado stayed in first for the Experts while Rick dropped to third behind Kris Van Nostran. Graham Foster built points still in first place in Sportsman followed by Gene Chaille and Andy Porter.
The air went away in round 3 as only 6 pilots managed a max. Jamie retained a firm hold on first place with Ben Carrol having a great round to keep Rick in third place. Kris failed to find the air and dropped to fourth. Meanwhile Larry Squire – back from a long layoff for a heart valve replacement and gall bladder surgery – kept a consistent hold on 5th place. Great to see Larry back.
The Sportmen stayed with Graham in first but Mike Naylor jumped into second place and Moe Mollen had a great flight to capture third place.
Apparently it wasn’t Jamie’s day as he slipped clear down to 5th place in round 4. Ben Carroll moved into the top spot followed by Rick and Kris. Larry continued to fly well moving into the fourth spot. Graham and Mike continued to hold onto first and second in Sportsmen. Gene Chaille jumped back up and into third place. Nine pilots maxed round 4 as big air was still available.
The skies had darkened during rounds three and four. In round 5 they started giving up some moisture in a drizzle and finally a full downpour. Some pilots got their flights in before the rain and a few had to finish up in calm air after the rain passed. At the end of the round eight pilots had made maxes. Rick moved into first place for the Experts followed by Ben and Kris. Graham continued to lead Sportsman but his challengers had changed to Mike Naylor and Andy Porter, neither of whom were that far behind.
With the rain having subsided CD, Bill Grier, announce one more round. The air had gone very flat and most figured it to be a hang-time round. The Punta Gorda air only gave up five maxes in round 6 to help stir the pot at the end of the contest. Rick hung on to first in Expert followed by Ben Carroll in second and Dan Johns who went from fifth place to take third at the end. In Sportsman Graham Foster was not to be denied. An almost max and landing points kept him ahead of Mike Naylor and Andy Porter.
The scoring was tight due to the great air in Punta Gorda. (If you weren’t there you missed a lot of great soaring!) We lost some (three I believe – owned by two pilots) planes on the winch and one to an off field crash of indeterminate causes. Despite the losses it was a very fine contest. Bill Grier runs a fine event and he is supported by John Agnew on scoring to keep everyone honest. Bill also had great support from his clubmates. The one day event was a great success but since there was such a good turn out Bill will consider a two day next year. Hope to see even more guys next year!
Rick Eckel (aka Gordon’s temporary replacement)