2002 - The final analysis...
After a fabulous September and early October the flying season has been abruptly terminated with the onset of autumnal wind and rain - still, on the plus side it gives me a break from running this website I suppose!
As a club it's been our best ever xc year with 1983km flown by 22 pilots in 91 flights, averaging 21.8km per flight. This coming after the disasterous year last year was a real bonus! However I don't think it's been an easy year for xc flying, hence only 91 flights entered compared to 104 in 1999 and 117 in 1998. The fact that there were 7 flights over 50km this year compared to 5 in 2000 and just 3 in 1999 and 1998 has obviously pushed up the average. However we have had the most pilots and new pilots (eight) since 1998, so that's encouraging.
For the second year running Jim Mallinson is in the top position with 282km flown in his top 6 flights and 333km in total, including a 75km flight from Coombe Gibbett and two others over 50km. Well done Jim, thoroughly deserved again!
Snapping at his heels for the whole season has been Rich Harding who has had a fantastic year - 264km in his top 6 flights and 465km overall, including the longest flight of the year, 83km from Olivers. And all this on a glider that seems to want to fold itself up and get back into it's bag in mid-air :-) Congratulations Rich on a storming year!
In 3rd place this year is Alex Coltman with 210km from his top 6 flights and 227km overall, including a gutsy 51km from Coward's Bowl and an amazing 48km flight in the Bleriot Cup which almost won the day... This is Alex's third year in the top three, but the top spot is still eluding him - maybe next year!
As I've already mentioned the longest flight of the year goes to Rich with his fantastic 83km flight from Olivers on 24th June - do read his account of the flight if you haven't done so already by clicking on the link...
Tom Mayne takes the prize for the longest flight on a DHV 1/2 glider with a 40km flight from Leckhampton on 26th March on his Nova Carbon. This sounded like a great flight, not even spoilt by a dog peeing on his glider after he'd landed! Tom maintains that the south coast has got to be achievable from Leckhampton - now that would be an awesome flight!
Best newcomer goes to Martin Stanton who finished in 6th place with 101km, including a fantastic 69km from Coombe Gibbet which I think I'm right in saying was only his second UK xc! I wonder what next year will hold in store...?
This year the award for most improved pilot goes to Jo Eades who not only finished in 10th place with a creditable 47km, but managed to finish 6th overall and top woman in the British Paragliding Cup. and as such has earned herself a place in the British Paragliding Championships next year. Congratulations on an excellent year Jo!
Finally, the Easter XC Cup was won by Dave Yeandle with a small but significant flight from Mere to Long Knoll. Tragically Dave was killed just a few days later whilst on a paragliding holiday in Spain and with this in mind we will be changing the name of the Easter Cup to the "Dave Yeandle Easter Memorial Cup" in his memory.
I think Cath Hutchinson summed up the thrill of xc flying perfectly when describing her first xc flight to me - "it was both scary and exhilarating, an emotional experience that I shan't ever forget". Congratulations to everyone who entered a flight into the pg xc league this year, long or short. Keep the memories of those flights in your head over the winter, and before you know it spring will be here again - don't forget that the first flights this year were entered on 2nd March...
All that remains is to thank our sponsors, Nick Mallabar (System X), Gavin Foster (Advance), the boys at Ozone and last but not least Marcus King, for their support this year - their prizes add greatly to the competition and make it definitely worth going for!
Tim P, Sunday 10th November
Good flying at Pandy I believe, with Jo doing a 10km flight up the ridge.
It's now early October and this fabulous Indian Summer still carries on - please don't stop! Mike made the most of it today, with a nice 22km flight from Frocester. Mike's now flown well over double the 96km he flew in 2000 - what a great year he's had! Will Price followed Mike for his first xc of the year - 18.6km - well done!
Rich just never stops does he? Virtually the end of September and he goes and flies 43km from Westbury on Sunday - very impressive! And no I'm not jeolous at all (much!), considering I was slightly higher and just behind him when he decided to head along the ridge towards Westbury rather than top land in the rapidly strengthening wind... Read all about his flight here... Rich has now flown over 1000km in xc flights, with 465km this year alone!
I had a nice ridge run at Pandy on Sunday (click here to see a few photos) - did anyone else do anything?
Mere Bash w/e - 7th/8th September
Amazingly it's flyable both days at Mere, but no xcs I'm afraid. Still a great time was had by all! Click here for some photos...
Cath Hutchinson flies her first ever xc - 12km from Castle Morton (Malverns). She wrote "it was my first ever cross country and it was both scary and exhilarating, it was an emotional experience that I shan't ever forget..." (read more about it here) Congratulations Cath!
16th -31st August
Quite a few flights entered in the last two weeks of August, most natable being Jim's 50km and Mike's 36km flights from Combe Gibbett (on different days). Jo Eades broke her personal best with an 18km flight during the last round of the BPC at Llandinam in mid Wales. This was enough to secure (in her own words) the top totty spot! Congratulations Jo. Rich has also entered a few flights and is now only 16km short of his 1000km mark - go for it Rich!
28th July-10th August
A bit of a barren couple of weeks... Rich, Mike and Alex have been out and about in south Wales with Alex having a lovely 48km flight from Pandy on Monday 5th August, and Mike a nice 22km flight from Merthyr on 28th July. Earlier Rich entered the first ever xc flight from Draycott Sleights... I'm still expecting a few more entries from the Snowdonia round of the BPC - Jo's 8km flight makes her 10th overall and top woman at the moment! Well done.
15th -19th July
Jim's two recent flights from Combe Gibbet (54km and 75km two days later) mean that he's the first pilot to fly more than 1000km in the Avon PG XC league. His all time total is 1094km in 31 flights, an average of 35.3km each, quite an achievement - congratulations Jim! Mind you with Rich's recent good form he's only got 87km till his 1000km... These flights also mean that he's overtaken Rich (by 9km) and is now at the top of the league!
By all accounts Alex had a cracking flight from Mere on Friday 19th - he landed north of the M4 at Petty France, a distance of 51km - nice one Alex!
Blorenge Party w/e - 13th -14th July
An absolutely superb weekend (click here to see some photos), with some great flying thrown in for good measure! Amy Stanton did her first ever xc on Saturday - 7.5km from Hay Bluff. Well done Amy, keep them coming in... Rich did 19km, I did 16km, Stafford approx 20km, Alex about the same, all from the Bluff - I'm sure there were more too.
On Sunday, most of Team Avon went to Talybont. The small SW ridge at the top of the path wasn't working so Rich flew and I walked round to the big SW facing ridge behind, and are eventually rewarded with separate climbs and simply amazing views from base (5000' again) over the Brecon Beacons and Black Mountains - this IS why I love flying so much... we are so priviledged to be able to do this... I made it back to the campsite (25km), Rich towards Crickhowell (11km).
And what about those not in Wales... well Tony and Cathy were at Coombe - Tony flew 18km landing near Whitchurch, Cathy unfortunately had a low level collapse which resulted in her hitting the ground hard, disclocating her shoulder and breaking her collar bone... We wish you a speedy recovery Cathy.
Alex gets away from Cowards Bowl on a very unstable day, landing after 23km near Edington.
24th to 30th June
What a week - it started with Rich's amazing 83km flight from Olivers on Monday and ended with some good flights in the BCC on Saturday, where Avon came 1st. Oh, and did I mention Friday? Martin Stanton and I had a fantastic flight together from Combe Gibbet down to the coast, Havant and Bosham in particular - 69km & 73km respectively! That's new PB's for us both... Rich, Alex, Jim and Mike all got away too but didn't make it all the way - best was Rich with 41km.
17th to 23rd June
Jubilee Bank Hol week - 31st May to 5th June
Team Avon put in a good showing in the Airwave Club Challenge in South Wales with some good flights from Alan Davies (50km - not yet entered), Rich (39km), Tony and Stafford. All in all over 200km flown during this week, maybe things are starting to look up...
Jim has a nice 34km flight from Westbury on Saturday. And on the last day of the Bleriot Cup, Alex flew a blinder and only missed winning the day by being overtaken by a Frenchman on the final glide into goal - what a bugger...! Read about Alex's 48km flight here - it's a terrrific story!
May Bank Hol weekend - 4th to 6th May
Mike Andrews breaks his personal best with a great 41km flight from Pandy on Saturday, unfortunately as Pandy was officially closed at the time it can't actually be entered in the xc league - sorry Mike. Meanwhile in the BPC Stafford flies 10km from the Blorenge. I imagine there'll be more entries coming in...
Thursday 25th April
Rather a nice day by all accounts - Rich flies 25km from Selsley, whilst Tony does 17km from Bell Hill.
Tuesday 16th April
Another classic looking day, rated a 5 star day by WeatherJack... Jim is out again and flies 19km from Olivers. Anyone else?
Monday 15th April
I'm stuck in the office, but what a sky! Click here to see a satpic of the UK... Meanwhile Jim flies a 23km flat triangle from Westbury to out beyond Trowbridge, scoring 46km in the league, Garry Mitchell gets away too to make 22.7km and Mike Andrews does 19km from Hay Bluff, his UK best.
Saturday 13th April
My first xc of the season - 22km from Hay Bluff to Abergavenny - started with the most fantastic 8-10 up climb all the way to base at approx 5700'... (Click here for story and photos). Simon went part of the way with me, but ended up near Crickhowell after 14km. Apparently Riz flew approx 30km from one of Robin's training sites in Wales too but I'm waiting for details.
Tuesday 9th April
Ken Wilkinson flies 11km from Blaenavon (I think)
Friday 5th April
Tragic news reaches the club - Dave Yeandle has died in a paragliding accident whilst on holiday in Spain. Our thoughts go out to his family and friends...
Three flights entered for Tuesday 26th - Tom Mayne's 39km from Leckhampton, and both Rich and Mike Andrews getting away from Pandy. On Easter Saturday Chris Harland flew just under 40km from Nant-y-Moel (details not yet submitted), so it looks like Chris wins the Easter Comp... (Initially we had thought that Dave Yeandle's 3km flight from Mere might have won it)
Jim does the first big flight of the year - 39km from Coombe Gibbett - sounded great... Meanwhile Westbury was terrific fun - Tony and Stafford got just past Warminster, but back at the hill lots of pilots (myself included) were enjoying beautiful climbs up to 2,000'+ ato. A layer of cloud moved in during the afternoon which reduced the lift, but not the fun...
I know there have been a few short flights from Selsley & Frocester too, but I'm awaiting details...
Don't think anyone atually went xc, but lots of people had some great flying both locally and in Wales. I had three wonderful hours flying the cliffs at Rhossili, something I've never done in over ten year's flying.