2003 - What a year!
Well, the xc season has been and gone now, but what a year it's been! With 4,759km flown by 32 pilots, the figures speak for themselves... They say a picture is worth a thousand words, so check this out:
Last year we had 22 pilots flying an average of 90km each, this year the average was 148km. Last year the number of flights entered was 91, this year it was 198. Last year the average flight distance of people's top six flights was 25.4km, this year it was 30.1km. Which ever way you cut it it has been an exceptional year - with both more xc days and better xc days.
August was the exceptional month with an amazing 1,909km flown - only just less than the total for the whole of last year! It more than made up for a disappointing July...
But in amongst all these stats there have been some quite exceptional individual performances. Last year Tom Mayne flew one 40km flight, this year he flew 462km, averaging 66km in his 7 flights (417km top 6), including one of 115km. And he doesn't just fly well, he tells a good story too - if you want to improve your xc flying you could do worse than reading his flight reports on avonpgxc.co.uk (click here for his report of the 115km flight).
And then there's Garry Sandell - in his first year of xc flying he's shot to 2nd place with a massive 485km across 14 flights (355km top 6) including one of 86km and two more 70km+ flights. OK, so he gave up work to fly, but that takes real dedication (and an obliging partner!) But what a summer to take off...!
Then closely following in 3rd place is Ken Wilkinson who only entered one 11km flight last year - this year it's 483km also across 14 flights (347km top 6). OK, so Ken's a teacher and had plenty of time off, but even so it's no mean feat!
It's the first time in years that Jim Mallinson hasn't been in the top three, but this year he's 4th only 25km behind Ken. Jim was out of the country for much of the summer so he's done well considering.
Alex Coltman in 5th place flew 401km in his 12 flights (303km top 6), and gets the prize for the longest flight with his 116km flight from Leckhampton with Tom - what a cracker, well done!
The best newcomer, as we've already seen, is Garry Sandell with his incredible 2nd place in the league.
Other notable first timers are Stephen Chiles with 128km, Graham Richards with 114km, and Pete Taylor with 104km... Well done to you all!
The most improved pilot (apart from Tom and Ken I guess, but they don't count :-), is Will Price - last year he had one 18km flight, this year it's 11 flights totalling 131km, putting him in 10th place overall. Well done Will, keep it up!
There's too many other people to mention individually, but well done to everyone who's entered the league this year, even if it's just been a 5km flop over the back. I remember my first xc, 4.3km from Fan Gyhirych many years ago, and the sense of achievement was massive. As a contrast to Tom's flight report, make sure you read Penny Robinson's account of her first ever xc, an 16km flight from the Malverns - it shows just how good it can be! (click here)
Click here to view the final positions.
There's only one other thing I want to say - what do people think about having a 9-5'ers league, for those people (like me :-) who have to restrict their flying to weekends and only the odd day off? I reckon it's a good idea…
Finally, although I haven't been in touch with our sponsors about prizes yet, I'd like to thank our sponsors, Nick Mallabar from Swing UK, Rob & Mike from Ozone, Gavin Foster from Advance UK and Carlo Borsottino from Windtech UK for their continued support this year - it's great to have you supporting the sport at grass-roots level.
Fly high, and here's to 2004!
Tim P, 7th November 2003
Monday 8th September - Sunday 14th September
At last it's quietening down - only a couple from Mere on Saturday, Will with 8.2km and me with 6.2km... But it was a lovely day though - see some photos here. Just heard that Eddie flew 69km from Frocester on Wednesday - nice one!
Monday 1st September - Sunday 7th September
And September has started well too - on Thursday Garry flew a new PB, 86km from Castle Morton, then on Saturday Martin Stanton did approx 48km from Westbury landing at Combe Gibbet. On the morning after the Mere Bash at least four or five people got away from the Rifle Range - Ken 73.8km (this is a new site record, beating Richard Westgate's 72.7km 1995 flight), Tim B 65km, Stephen 27km and Garry approx 20km! None of them were prepared for an xc - no mobiles, no money, no flying suits, it was just supposed to be a boat around above the tents!
Monday 25th August - Sunday 31st August
Well August went out with a bang - a mere 340km being added this week, most notably Alex and Tom's superb 116km & 115km flights from Leckhampton on Saturday 30th, landing near Alton in Hampshire. Read Tom's account of the flight here. Rich was at Leckhampton too and left one thermal behind Tom and Alex making 85km to Andover. Westbury was pretty good too - Tony and Stephen flew 28km and 25km respectively. Rich was out again on Sunday, flying 28km from Hay Bluff.
August Bank Holiday weekend, Saturday 23rd - Monday 25th August
Loads of flights done over the weekend by our victorious BCC team (Martin, Ken, Rich, Stafford, Stephen and myself) both in the comp and on Sunday from Pandy after the task was cancelled! On Friday Rich, Ken and Stephen did 17km-15km flights from Fochriw, and on Monday Rich, Ken and I flew between 40km and 32km from Pontlottyn. Rich took the prize for best flights over the whole event. Read Rich's account of the event here.
Lots of other people were flying at Pandy on Sunday and Monday with a couple of new entrants in the league - Paul Whatley and Richard Zaltsman (flight not entered yet).
I'm still awaiting more flights so I'm sure by the time they're all in we'll have topped the 4,000km mark!
Monday 18th - Friday 22nd August
A couple of nice flights this week - Jim's flew 51km from Olivers, and Ken 29km from Frocester.
Wednesday 13th - Saturday 16th August
Probably the best week's flying ever recorded - there are too many flights to mention so I'll do personal bests only: Ken Wilkinson 77.2km from Leckampton, Garry Sandell 74.5km, Satfford Evans 57.8km, Graham Richards 18km and Penny Robinson 16.3km ALL from Kettle Sings! Congratulations all! Jim and Tom also had good flights from Kettle Sings on Friday...!
Monday 21st July - Monday 11th August
I've been away on hols to the Isle of Wight and then a long w/e up in the Lake District, which is why the league hasn't been updated for a while - sorry folks! but there has been a huge amount of flying recently, another 700km has been added since the last update! (Too much to go back over now...)
Monday 14th - Sunday 20th July
Garry Sandell is out at Castle Morton on Monday and adds another 26km to his already impressive total of 150km... Will and Howard were also out in force this week with flights from Castle Morton and Mere (Will)...
Monday 7th - Sunday 13th July
Will flew 15km on Wednesday, but Friday was the day! Howard flew a new PB of 42km from Frocester (17/9/2003 - Howard realised he landed in Lynham airspace and so this flight has been deleted), and Garry Sandell clocked up another 26km also from Frocester. Jim flew 31km from Liddington after watching gliders come over from Frocester, and Stephen flew 8km on his tandem from Olivers... Will Price, also at Olivers flew a new PB of 1km - well done!
Monday 30th June - Sunday 6th July
Not a great week, although Stephen Chiles and Richard Dandbury fly 5.5km each from Snowdon to Llamberis as part of their successful Three Peaks Challenge.
Saturday 28th - Sunday 29th June
Lots of entries from the BCC round in South Wales - looks like the Avon team came 3rd... Well done all concerned!
Friday 20th - Tuesday 24th June
Some cracking days producing some good flights - notably Garry Sandell's 73km from Frocester on the 20th which not only is a new PB, but is the longest flight of the year - well done! Hugh Makin entered his first flight into the league on Monday, 14km from Frocester, and Alex had a great 34km flight from Hay Bluff on Tuesday in virtually nil wind conditions.
Friday 13th - Monday 16th June
Lots of good flying in Wales and Worcestershire, most notably Tom's 65km flight on Sunday and 45km flight on Friday, both from the Malverns, and Pete Taylor's 42km flight from Pandy on Saturday... Tom has now flown 170km in a week, and this now puts him in the top spot ahead of Jim and Alex! There were plenty of others too - Howard (new PB 19.5kms, well done!), Stafford, Richard Danbury, Mike Andrews and Simon Chippendale...
I've just noticed that Alex Coltman is now the third pilot to have entered over 1000kms in the Avon xc league - congratulations!
Monday 9th June
Monday 2nd June
Garry Sandell flies 15km from Haresfield.
29th, 30th & 31st May
A few good days with Jim getting a couple of nice flights from Pandy and Alan Davies doing a nice 28km flight from Mere after his three month enforced layoff!
Bank Holiday Monday 26th May
Lot's of people get away from Nant-y-Moel during a BCC round... Simon Kerr does the longest Avon flight - 18kms... Amongst others, Graham Richards flew 11km in his first xc - well done!
Friday 9th May
Not a bad day for the Avon sky-vers, myself included for once! I went to Merthyr with Fi and Alex - Alex flew 43km, I did 33km and Fi about 20km. Meanwhile at Olivers, Jim flew 66km landing near Basingsoke, and Stephen Chiles flew 34km for a new PB! Any more?
Tuesday 6th May
Big Tuesday! What is it about the day after Bank Holidays? Steve Ham (not an Avon member) showed the rest of us how to do it with a 165km flight from Frocester to Brighton! Then we've got Stafford with 42km from Westbury, Jim and Eddie with 39km each from Liddington, Tony with 39km from Bell Hill (who only landed because he didn't want to get wet) Will Price with 22km from Frocester, Stephen Chiles with two flights from Westbury - 10km and 6km, Garry Sandell with 8km from Selsley and Pete Douglas with 5km from Westbury. Staff's, Tony's, Will's and Stephen's are all PB's.
Click here for to see a satellite pic of the UK at 2pm - what's interesting is the large swathe of Somerset and Dorset with no clouds, anyone know why that would be...? I've just noticed that in a satpic of another classic day last year (15th April) it shows the same blue hole - must be something to do with the sea breeze and Somerset Levels...
Monday 5th May
No xc's, but good fun flying at Woolacombe for a round of the BCC. Click here for photos...
Wednesday 23rd April
Another day, another PB, this time it's Jo Eades with a 37km flight from Pandy - congrats are in order! Will Price flew 16km from the Malverns, whilst a burnt out Ken Wilkinson (I quote "A very promising day which I blew... I'm getting a bit tired! Thank God its finally raining!!") could only manage 9km from Cwmbran :-) A chance would have been a fine thing as far as I'm concerned!
Tuesday 22nd April
And another - Ken Wilkinson flies 49km from Nant-y-Moel for a new PB. In Ken's words "Lovely day, climbs from very low, and strong up high (a Weatherjack 5*)". This puts Ken at the top of the league with 121km - congratulations! Stafford was also at Nant-y-Moel, he flew 26km which I believe is a new PB for him too...!
Thursday 17th April
Ken Wilkinson has a great 44km flight from Cwmbran on his Edel Atlas (a new PB). As Marcus would say "who needs DHV2/3 hotships to do big distances"!
Monday 7th - Saturday 12th April
What a great week - 258km added! It started with Garry Sandell flying 11km from Castle Morton in the Malverns, then with Jim Mallinson going straight in at No 1 with a 38km flight on Monday and a 44km flight on Tuesday! Howard and Cath had nice 18km flights from Kettle Sings on Tuesday - new PB's for them both. Of the rest, notable were Tom Mayne's 71km flight from Kettle Sings on Saturday (the longest flight of the year so far and a new PB), and Alex's 22km flight from Pandy on Wednesday. Up in Snowdonia for the BPC Pete Douglas flew 16km, also a PB. There were other Avon entries in the BPC - read Pete Taylor's account of the comp day here, and of his flight the day before here...
Saturday 5th & Sunday 6th April
I had a great flight revisiting my old training sites on Saturday - taking off from Heol Senni, stopping by at Fan Gyhirch, before gliding across to the huge ENE facing ridge 4-5 km west of Fan G. This is something I've wanted to do ever since my first dreams of xc flying some 13 years ago, so I guess I can retire now :-) Read more about this flight here... Alex & Rich flew 10km down the valley to the Gwyn Arms...
Meanwhile on Sunday Ken Wilkinson, Richard Danbury and Graham Richards all doing 18-20km out and return ridge runs at Pandy.
Monday 24th - Sunday 30th March
Another beautiful week with lots of flights in south Wales... Wednesday - Pete Douglas flies 15km from Pandy to Hay Bluff, Thursday - Mike does the Pandy ridge run again for 20km, and on Sunday Alex makes the most of some lively conditions to fly 45km from Hay Bluff... Meanwhile in England Eddie Colfox flies 24km from Leckhampton on Sunday too... Were there any more?
Sunday 23rd March
I went up to Snowdonia and got my first xc of the year in - a fantastic 20km tour of Snowdon and the surrounding area. It was a truly spectacular flight... Meanwhile further south Ken Wilkinson flies a 9km out and return ridge run on the Malverns.
Sunday 16th March
Some nice flying at Pandy if you were prepared to wait... Mike Andrews kicks off his xc season with a couple of thermic ridge runs... Jo Eades also makes it to Black Darren and back for her first xc of the year.
Sunday 2nd March
A beautiful day by all accounts with a couple of flights entered - Garry Sandell's 24km from Selsley was the best. Congratulations on what I believe is a personal best! Eddie Colfox flew 17km from Selsley too... Alex was at Westbury and had an extended 9km glide which started with an 8 up climb out - not bad for 2nd March!
Wednesday 5th February
Alex Coltman gets the first one of the year with his 24km milk run from Hay Bluff to Crickhowell. Well done matey!