The Year 2000 - They think it's all over, and it is now...
Well, with 1628km entered in the league it's been a disappointing year compared to last year's 1951km, but as usual there have been some epic flights and many new personal bests..
The one that immediately springs to mind was Jim's stunning 132km flight on 29th May during the first round of the Nationals in mid Wales. Jim's flight report here makes a great read... Not only was this a new personal best for Jim, but it's the longest ever flight in the Avon PG XC league, and I believe it's the best flight in the national league too. When this was added to Jim's other flights, which included a 72km flight from Combe Gibbet in July and 50km from the Blorenge in April, it made his position at the top of the league unassailable! Congratulations Jim on another excellent year!
In second place this year is Alex with 162km flown in his top six flights. These include 46km from Hay Bluff in July, a 26km and two 25km flights amongst his tally this year. Alex won the two Scottish rounds of the BPC and finished 2nd overall so congratulations again on another superb year.
In third place and hot on Alex's tail, with 149km in three flights was yours truely! I've had my best ever xc year with my fewest number of flights, and more than doubled my previous PB of 30km with a 72km flight from Pandy on 1st May. (This flight won me the Easter Cup this year). I was also lucky enough to be at Westbury on the Sunday of the Mere Bash when I managed to set a new site record of 57km during a great flight with Jim and Rich. My third flight best flight, although only 20km, was perhaps the most fun since I made the garden of my in-law's house near Trowbridge my goalfield on that flight from Long Knoll.
This year, the prize for most improved pilot goes to Mike Andrews who has gone from 11th place with 39km from two flights last year, to 6th place with 97km from 9 flights this year (84km from top six). Mike's enthusiasm for both the sport and the Avon Club make him a very worthy winner. Well done Mike and keep it up!
Garry Mitchell wins the best newcomer prize this year - his four flights, totalling 82km, put him in 7th place in the league. Achieving an average flight distance of 20km is a fantastic accomplishment in a first xc season - congratulations Garry.
Second placed newcomer this year goes to Angie Wier, with a 19km out and return coastal ridge run from Beer Head in Devon in September. Coastal ridge runs, whilst often sounding easy, should not be under-estimated, as once you've got over your initial fear of flying over water, you've got hazards such as gaps in the ridge and generally very limited landing options to contend with also. So well done Angie!
Jo Eades wins the third placed newcomer, with two 9km flights in Wales. The first was from Talybont on the xc virgins weekend in May, and the second from Harlech during the BPC round in August when she beat most of the competitors (including Alex and Marcus)! Well done Jo, and keep it up next year!
A new prize this year is for the highest placed pilot flying a DHV 1/2 glider, which goes to Charlotte on her Mac Eden. Her four flights this year totalled 30km, and her best, 13km at the Lakes BPC round in May, was enough to make her best female pilot in third place overall - congrats Charlie!
Well, that's a summary of the prizewinners, but let's not forget all the other entrants in the league this year - especially Fi in 4th place who flew an excellent 49km in the mid Wales Nationals round, Rich in 5th place who broke his PB with a superb 44km flight from Westbury, Marcus who's exciting flights in Piedrahita could not unfortunately be included in the league, 'our Tone' with a new PB of 33km during a flight from Pandy, Andy Sumerskill with a creditible 50km in his second xc season, Tom Mayne would have been placed higher had he entered his 40km+ flight from Frocester (but as he's recently a new dad perhaps he can be excused for this minor lapse!), Simon who's xc ambitions were curtailed this year after breaking his shoulder early in the year, Dave Yeandle who's getting in the practice at Ubley, and finally Alan Wainer who's off the mark with a 4.5km flight from Westbury back in February.
All that remains is to thank our sponsors, Rob Arnold (Mac UK/ParaExcellence), Nick Mallabar (System X) and Gavin Foster (Advance) for your continued support this year - thanks for all your prizes, they add greatly to the competition and make it definitely worth going for!
Tim P, Sunday 19th November 2000