NATIONAL PRECISION FLYING CHAMPIONSHIPS
Cato Ridge – September 2001
By Adrian Pilling
Well can you believe it, before you know it another year has passed and it’s time for the National Precision Flying Championships again. This year it was held in Cato Ridge which is well known for it’s difficult terrain and great hospitality.
The pilots gathered from all around the country and before long the competition was in full swing. The usual stunning organization by Barry de Groot and his crew was evident and for the first time ever – in fact a world first – the national competition was run using GPS loggers (designed by Jan Hanekom). That means no room for argument and the device tells you where you are along the track every second. Boy was this going to be difficult! To top it off the results counted for selection of the National Team to the World Championships in Croatia in 2002, pressure indeed.
Thursday – Competition Day 1
The first day’s navigation exercise was interesting to say the least. The route took us over typically difficult countryside and all this with the accurate GPS Loggers to scare us. Later when all the crews returned it was into the first two prescribed landing tests.
The landing test was carried out on the rather bumpy runway with gusty winds. This resulted in more than one major bounce by competitors and this added some really scary penalties to the scores of several crews. Only two of the four landings were completed that day.
Later the provisional results for the day were announced. There were some recalculations required in order to interpret the results of the loggers correctly. After this was done the results were released as follows: Open Class positions; 1st place Nigel Hopkins, 2nd place Adrian Pilling, 3rd place Mary de Klerk, 4th place Jan Hanekom, 5th place Hans Schwebel. The navigation was so close that only 2 points separated the first two places, however the landings added significant penalties. In the Sportmans Class 1st place Wayne Bond, 2nd place Wendy Barter, 3rd place Paul Barter.
Friday – Competition Day 2
Well this was a fun day because the weather was so bad that the take off was delayed. In fact the route took the pilots way out over the Valley of a Thousand Hills. The cloud was so low in places that the pilots really had to fight the weather as well.
Due to the bad weather closing in, the pilots only managed to squeeze in one landing as part of their landing test. After this was completed the results for this day were announced.
Open Class positions; 1st place Nigel Hopkins, 2nd place Adrian Pilling, 3rd place Jan Hanekom, 4th place Mike Cathrow, 5th place Hans Schwebel. In the Sportmans Class 1st place Wendy Barter, 2nd place Wayne Bond, 3rd place Paul Barter.
Saturday – Competition Day 3
This was the final day and it took us out over some majestic areas. Out over farmland, incredible cliffs and down to the coast and back. This was a great navigation route and a real challenge to the crews.
Later the last of the landings was accomplished and then it was back to the club house for the prize giving. The results for the day were: 1st place Nigel Hopkins, 2nd place Adrian Pilling, 3rd place Mary de Klerk, 4th place Frank Eckard, 5th place Ron Stirk. In the Sportmans Class 1st place Wayne Bond, 2nd place Wendy Barter, 3rd place Paul Barter.
There was an air of expectancy at prize giving as the pilots wandered what their positions would be. After a great dinner the results were announced. 1st place Nigel Hopkins, 2nd place Adrian Pilling, 3rd place Mary de Klerk, 4th place Jan Hanekom, 5th place Mike Cathrow. In the Sportmans Class 1st place Wayne Bond, 2nd place Wendy Barter, 3rd place Paul Barter.
After a great prize giving the team to the World Precision Flying Championships in Croatia was announced: Nigel Hopkins, Adrian Pilling, Mary de Klerk, Jan Hanekom, Barry de Groot, Hans Schwebel (1st reserve), Mike Cathrow (2nd reserve). Adrian Pilling was elected Captain and Paul Barter was selected as team manager.
A very special thanks goes out to Barry de Groot and his team for a fantastic competition and of course to all the marshals, without which nothing would have happened. Thanks to the supporters who traveled from far and wide even coming from Brits (Deon Van den Berg and his team). We wish the team all the best for Croatia and thank the folks at Cato Ridge.
S.A. National Precision Flying Championships – Cato Ridge 2001 – Detailed Results
|Day One||Day Two||Day Three|
|3||Mary de Klerk||0||40||60||441||0||541||2||70||140||528||0||740||0||40||40||162||0||242||41||1564|
|9||Mauritz Du Plessis||0||80||80||1329||0||1489||0||70||160||1125||0||1355||350||270||160||1404||0||2184||228||5256|