The Gordon Report Sunday
Sundays wind was forecast to be around 10mph with some gusts up to 20 and it was interesting how the wind was already up one hour earlier before we began first Group at 9:05 am. Ed White came out to CD the event and he ran a very short pilot meeting to let everyone know we were going to seek at least six rounds and we would keep the contest moving along quickly.
The first 2 groups struggled with the 8 minute max Ed had set and only 2 pilots could find the right place to fly as the others gathered around the LZ many minutes early for low scores. By Group 3 the air had improved slightly with Jeff Carr and Rusty getting their maxes but no one was getting a gimme. Allan parsons was the only pilot in Group 4 to get the time while Group 5 saw just myself, Ray Alonzo and Jamie Mercado achieve the target. Just 8 pilots of the 28 who flew round one managed to get the time. Paul Mittendorff took the 1000 points in Group 2 with a time of 5:20.
Round 2 began with Lance Ropke in 1st place followed closely by Rusty Carver and John Kennedy sitting in third. Group 1 saw more of the same fickle air and Bob Whitney held out over his group to take the 1000 with a 5:58 time and added a nice 90 landing as well. The air was improving as the sun started to warm things up and Group 2 saw 5 pilots of 6 make maxes. Peter Schlitzkus from Delaware was the only pilot in Group 3 to get his time while Group 4 had only 2 pilots miss the target. The real problem was that what lift was available was short lived and often broke up just as quickly as it formed. Gaining altitude was often not on the cards but maintaining or slowly descending was the name of the game. The longest flights were achieved by pilots who simply avoided flying in the sinking air. The final group 5 all managed their time and the leaders going into Round 3 were Rusty Carver, John Kennedy with his 3.8X and Jamie Mercado and his 4.0X.
Ed worked hard to get the groups through quickly so as soon as the scores were in and cards hung on our board he immediately got the next round underway while the air was good.
Only 7 pilots failed to achieve their 8 minute max in Rd 3 as the lift became more stable and some thermals were defined enough for pilots to make some decent turns and stay in the good air. Gerald Baxter took the top points in Group 1 with a 7:53 – 68 while Randy Everley showed us what he can do with a Supra and flew an 8:03 and a sweet 98 landing in Group 2 for the max points. Dillon (our junior) clearly learned a lot from his previous round as he stuck a great 98 landing to match his 7:59 to take the group 3 top points. Group 4 was won by Jody Miller with a 8:00 – 89 as he slowly clawed back to the top group after an early round mishap. The final Group in round 3 was taken by Jamie Mercado with a 7:57 – 88 over my 7:57 – 87 in very tough air that saw everyone else in the group fall short of their time. This really mixed it up some at the top with the three leading pilots going into Round four being Jamie, Gordon and Jeff Carr. Jeff came all the way from Nth Carolina to play and was flying a Tragi Cluster very nicely.
We stopped for a very short lunch which was fetched and prepared by one of the Buzzards best helpers in Gerry O’Keefe. Gerry was honored on Saturday afternoon by club president Jody for the stellar work he puts in to all of the Buzzards and IRKS events. Jody presented him with a beautiful framed award as an Honorary Ambassador of Florida Soaring. Thank you Gerry for all that you do.
Ed turned it up a notch for round 4 with a 9 minute max set and the first group were at the winches for launch shortly after midday. Once again the cycle was already past and Gerald Baxter took the group with a 6:47 – 93. Group 2 was won by Mike Naylor flying his Shadow and Group 3 was owned by Bob Whitney. Group 4 saw Dillon once again take the competition to his much more senior rivals scoring an excellent 8:59 – 95 to take the top points. The final Group was won by myself with a 9:00 – 93 in air where everybody in the group got their time fairly easily.
The contest leader entering Round 5 was myself with Jamie Mercado close behind and Jeff Carr in 3rd place with his Tragi. The task remained at 9 minutes and the first group away found air to die for as they all maxed and shot landings. How fast that air can blow through though as Group 2 discovered it was all sink following and the Group was won by Paul Mittendorff flying his Vulture and scoring a 7:12 – 88. Dan Johns excelled in Group 3 with an 8:56 – 90 and Group 4 was won by Bob Whitney with an 8:48 – 89. Bob was flying a Supra and launching it very hard for some amazing starts. He was also prepared to follow lift much further downwind than most – courtesy of his DLG experience.The final Group 5 also found a great lift cycle and everybody once again got their maxes with only one pilot faltering in the LZ which just happened to be me. I scored a horrible 65 with an early pushover to dork way early on the tape.
The leading trio for what was to be the final round 6 were Jamie Mercado, Gordon Buckland and Jeff Carr. We started Round 6 at about 1:30pm and it is a great credit to Ed White for keeping the contest rolling along as quickly as he did to fit that much flying in to the 5 hours we had available as our target.
Only one pilot could manage the 9 minute max in Group one and that was Paul Perret flying a giant Supra. Gerald Baxter did the same in Group 2 as everybody else failed to find air where Gerald did to take the points. Group 3 also had trouble as Jack Wallner took the money with a 7:06 – 71. Group 4 didn’t fair any better as clearly the lift had become very sparse and the only pilot to stay away from sink long enough to scratch out 9 minutes was Bob Whitney with an 8:53 – 93. His nearest rival was Dillon with a 7:44. The final Group launched into air that was not improving and Jamie Mercado went left pretty well on his own to find the best of what was ther to nearly make his max. The rest of the field initially followed me upwind and finally scattered as we all sunk out and began scratching for the time. I managed to hit a small bubble on the edge of the field and flirted with the trees for a minute and a half before taking one turn too many and entirely missing the LZ for an 8:18 – 0. Jamie Mercado had stolen the flight and the contest with a very skillful display of thermal soaring in tough gusty conditions. His time of 8:42 was only a little short of a max and his 97 landing thoroughly sealed it. It was the best I have seen Jamie fly and he has many more wins in his future as he continues to improve. Rusty Carver managed a 7:28 – 98 to take out 3rd place on the Sunday. Final scores were Jamie 6507, Gordon 6360 and Rusty 6241.
The accumulated scores from Saturday and Sunday were added to decide a Tangerine Grand Champion and that trophy was presented to me with my two second places totaling 11761 points to Rusty’s 11667. The great thing about the Grand Champion trophy is that my accumulated score is a qualifying LSF V win. 🙂
The top Sportsman for Sunday was taken out by Jack Wallner, with Randy Decos 2nd and Buddy Bradley third.
The final event for the day was the Tangerine Flyoff where the CD chooses 6 pilots from the weekend to fly off in a one off 10 minute duel. The pilots chosen to fly were Rusty Carver, Jamie Mercado, Gordon Buckland, Jody Miller, Jack Wallner and Kris Van Nostran. A random draw decided the order of launch and Ed got us all away in quick fashion. I was 4th up so I was able to follow the group in front while they were in reasonable air. I soon decided that I needed to push right as I saw the front ships on the left getting bigger and I kept moving forward while constantly comparing my altitude with those I was leaving behind. I managed to find decent air on the way and a nice bump very deep to the east which I turned as I drifted back to the field. Jeff Carr had graciously agreed to time for me even though he needed to get on the road home. He is a great caller and he constantly kept me informed about what was going on. At about the 6 minute mark the first of the a few aircraft began landing and by the time we were nearing 8 minutes I was back nearer the field and sure I would have my time with just Jody Miller left in the air. It was sort of like last year where it was just the two of us left standing and just down to the final act. Jody landed ahead of me and a quick glance told me he was long. I flew my circuit like a robot as Jody and I have practiced hundreds of times this year. Perfectly lined up down the tape all was well until once again I misjudged the speed of the Xplorer and dorked early. We measured the nose for an 86 and asked Jody what he had. Jody conformed that his was an 82 and the Fly off was mine. It is a lot of fun to compete against the best and prevail but as I said to Jamie Mercado after the event I would gladly trade the Fly-off and the Grand Champion trophies just to have the win on the day. I am working on my second Level 5 LSF and am finding wins very hard to come by.
A big thank you once again to Raed and Ed for their hard work running the event.I must thank my wife Sheralyn and Kym Graves also for working tirelessly all weekend on the scoring and keeping that end of the contest on time. It was the best Tangerine we have had in years with challenging conditions but terrific camaraderie and fun times for all. Hope to see a lot more join us in Florida next year for some fun in the sun in November.
- January 15, 2019, 10:32 pmClear
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