When the north wind blows you can be sure that the Icicle will live up
to its name. What you can't be sure of is that the rest of the required
weather will play ball and so it was that a select group of Iciclists and
their Intermediate colleagues converged on Sandtoft, only to spend their
morning drinking tea and willing the cloud base to lift just a few hundred
feet. The monotony was punctuated with a few rounds of "catapult Cas Smith",
a fine game which requires a self sacrificing cloud dummy to repeatedly
strap on his mount and "go have a look" before returning to land to echoes
of twenty four hundred feet around the paddock. After a while everyone gets
bored and judges need feeding, so lunch is declared.
Another stalwart and long distance traveler has a remarkable ability to gaze
remotely into the crystal ball of the RAF's finest meteorologists and come
up with very accurate predictions of the unfolding met picture. On this
occasion he pronounced a post luncheon lifting of the skies and so it came
to pass. The Smith launched again as The Buck and his team of judging
experts headed back out into the teeth of the 20 knot northerly. A
challenging on judge wind was expertly handled by most, but the cumulative
effect of Left and Left Left, resulted in a least one first of a zero for
positioning, despite a quite competent rendition of the first Unknown. The
new rules for scoring positioning were well applied by the judging team and
will clearly cause pilots to think very carefully about where to place
figures for best effect.
Once The Doe had finished crunching numbers the sole Unlimited
representative led the field ahead of the diminutive lime green One Design
and the super slippery Extra 330SC, which appeared to be flown primarily at
flight idle. No shortage of 'uphill go' in that machine. A quick fire round
of Intermediate resulted in a deserved lead for one of our two low country
entrants, with a neat little sequence.
The penalty for an early lunch was no tea break for the judges so efficient
preparation for the second Unknowns was the key. Again, our Unlimited man
was best prepared and delivered a blistering 81% to secure his 5th Icicle
win, with a consistent One Design in Silver and the Extra in Bronze. Special
mention to our man with the zero for positioning in the first round. He hit
the nine ball for round two earning a special tick from the CJ. Applied
learning at its smartest.
The Intermediate contestants fought a sterling battle to bring the
competition to a close. In the end a few nerves settled the final standings,
as HZ made its way onto a couple of score sheets. For a small field this was
well contested and the worthy and popular winner was the Extra 200
'Eek-a-mouse', closely followed by our budding Fleet Air Arm candidate in
the Edge and a deservedly pleasing Bronze for The Flying Dutchman.
As ever at the start of the season there were a few moving up and testing
themselves and definitely a few to follow this season. The standard of
airmanship and the competitive spirit displayed were commendable. Under the
eagle-eyed scrutiny of The Hotelier the BAeA rules were immaculately upheld
and our hosts played a fantastic part in making this a smooth, successful
and uneventful day's sport for all.
Many thanks to all who contributed. Your hard work and patience were duly
rewarded. To those who chose not to attend this curtain raiser to the
season, you missed a great Icicle. Let's hope next year will see a record
entry at this fabulous venue.