Today started out bright and sunny with a strong 12 - 14ms SW breeze so we headed up East Lomond again and got the first round underway by 10.20.
Mark Redsell started strongly with a 40.45 in round 11 showing strong intent, I was 2nd with a 42.96 and thats the closest I got to a round win all weekend. The low cloud forming in front of us started to build and blocked out the sun for a few rounds and put a bit of a dampener times at this stage but round 12 went to Simon with a 41.93, two seconds clear of Mike McCracken with a 43.85.
Round 13 saw Martin finding form and he took it with a 41.28 from Simon 42.73, Mark Treble had also found the measure of the hill and was 4th in the round. The wind had started to drop off a little at this point, dropping to a low by about round 16 of maybe 7 or 8ms before picking up again toeards the end of the comp. Round 14 was won by Mark Redsell with a 43.82 followed by Martin with a 44.61 and the next 4 pilots very closely grouped on 46's and 47's, its pretty remarkable how consistent the conditions were over the two days with only a small amount of variability creeping in to the last 4 rounds today when the sun was out again.
Round 15 was won by Mark Redsell with a 43.76 followed by Martin with a 44.61 and the next pilots on 45s and above. Its at this point it was becoming clear that Martin was on a bit of a charge and that the top 3 were consistently pumping better than everyone else, consistently gaining an advantage over the first 4 or 5 legs. There were no booming thermals as such, every run pretty much was defined by how well you climbed out and then managed the speed through the run, a classic EM hill and conditions. Over pulling the turns was costly (as I found most rounds by trying too hard to catch up) and it really was a bit of a masterclass from the top 3, any notion of home advantage I may have had before the comp, well an truly blown as these guys were flying fantatically. Round 16 was won by Mike McCracken (again) who was showing really good form with his FS4.3 followed by me with a 44.88.
Simon, flying the Shinto on day 2 (having flown FS4.3 day 1) took Round 17 with a 42.99 followed by me with a 43.26 having switched to the FS3 from my Jedi, just to see if it offered anything more in the lighter air, apparently it did. The wind had fully picked up again to 12ms or more by round 18 and this showed in the times with Mark Redsell winning on a 40.46 from Simon 41.13, Mark Treble 41.46 and Martin 41.51 (how close is that!) with George and myself on 43 and Ewan on 44.
Martin was really charging towards the finish with the only sub-40 of day 2 in round 19, a 39.83 followed by Simon on 40.90 and Mike McCracken on 41.02 with me on 43 and Ewan putting in another strong 44. The last round was also taken by Martin with near perfect EM on 40.62 from Mark R, Simon and Mike McCracken on 42's.
So another 10 rounds flown, we were finished on the hill by about 2.20pm which would allow those with long journeys a reasonable get away. I think we all felt we had flown enough as its pretty busy with 12 pilots. In the final analysis, Mark Redsell had won 10 rounds, Simon 5, Martin 3 and Mike McCracken 2. only Mark and Martin had managed to go sub-40 and it took some superb flying to do so, this was not a comp particularly effected by thermals, it was all about the pumps and energy management. Hats off to you guys!
So the final results were:
Very well done to the top 3, it was hard fought and very close!
So with 20 rounds over two days, I think we all had a good comp. East Lomond is our least quick hill so I was quite surprised to have Martin waxing lyrical about it! I suppose it demands a particular style and in that sense is quite technical, it pumps well and therefore rewards lots of ballast (on these two days anyway) and works better further out at the ends, close in does not reward you.
I would also like to say thanks to all who came and particularly those who travelled, numbers were marginal and the forecast wasn't brilliant (some of Simon's many weather stations were suggesting we wouldn't fly at all ;0)). But every national comp that has been scheduled in Scotland and had enough numbers to run ( a problem of late) has not only run but been pretty damn good, it would be good to see more you y'all in future!