Uncle Sydney's and Uncle Hal's Gossip Column
2010 F3J World Championships - France

Pre-preview for next year's FAI worldchamps
Many pilots set to repeat their challenges

It is far too early to start forecasting winners for next year's F3J world championships to be held in Dole-Tavaux in the Jura region of France. But from team selections over recent weeks, the stage is already set for the most nail-biting competition ever. One easy prediction for wine lovers, the local lubricants will provide solace for those who don't make the podium!

Few countries require their F3J pilots to travel further to win team places than the United States of America, and from 5-7 September - last weekend - 31 seniors and 4 juniors competed for honour and privilege in Denver in what amounts to a 'do-or-die' contest, you make it and there's no second chance!

The US team for France next year will be Cody Remington, Daryl Perkins and Richard Burnoski, all the same as last year in Turkey. Brendon Beardsley is again in the junior team, joined this time by Connor Laurel and Michael Knight. I don't know who will be team manager, but surely nobody is better qualified than Jim Monaco who led the organisation of the Colorado selection contest, also placed 17th, and has held the manager responsibility for the last two WCs.

The German team for France holds little surprise with Philip Kolb, Karl Hinsch and Tobias Lammlein who clinched their places last weekend too in the German Eurotour event at Ludwigsfelde in stormy weather. Their juniors will be Manuel Reinecke, Timo Ganser and Max Finke who is only 11 years old!

Special congratulations are due to Philip Kolb because he won to bring his total of 2009 Eurotour wins to six, out of 14 contests so far, with one more to go next weekend in Bovec. Can he keep up this form in 2010?

Australian places are already determined after their qualification process, which takes the form of using the duration scores from the F3B contest at Jerilderie. We shall see Carl Strautins, Jim Houdalakis and David Hobby. Carl competed at Hollandglide and Trnava in recent weeks to get more European exposure so he should be hotter than ever. David Hobby had to be lucky because he only won sixth place and those above him didn't choose to join the team.

Norway's competitors are set with seniors Erik Morgan, Per Pedersen who was a helper this year in Poland and Jo Grini as ever. Juniors will be Stein Marius Pedersen and Jojo's son Fredrik, both having cut their teeth in Poland.

News from UK is still uncertain with one more league event to come and two of the places still up for grabs. Same applies in Holland and France the host country. Michelle Goodrum from South Africa is pleased that one more trial contest is still to come having enjoyed a busy summer of F3B in Czechia, and they should know the team in about three weeks.

New Zealand are set to pick their team next weekend, and many will be hoping that Joe Wurts wins a chance to represent his adopted country for the first time in F3J. I am rooting for Sven Zaalberg, an old flying mate of mine, to make sure he gets to France next year too.

Not much news as yet from the eastern European countries who did so well in Poland's Eurochamps, but I am confident that their successes in Wloclawek will provide a new impetus and make the competition even hotter.

Prior to the US team selection contest I contacted the Remington family in Louisville Colorado, knowing that both mum and dad of Cody were volunteer timekeepers. I requested notes and trivia for my gossip column, not recognising that in Hal Remington I have a rival. I cannot do better than to copy most of what he sent.

Sydney Lenssen 9 September 2009 sydney.lenssen(at)virgin.net

Uncle Hal's gossip column.

The US team selections were held over three days with the 35 pilots in ten teams. Juniors and seniors flew together but their scores were tallied separately. The format for the contest did not include flyoffs and all pilots flew for all three days. First two days were all 10 minute rounds and a total of 13 rounds were flown. The final day was all 15 minute rounds and five of these were flown. The scores were combined over the three days with one throw out from the 10 minute rounds and one from the 15 minute rounds.

The planes competing were mostly Espada RLs and Rs, Supras, Orcas, Icon 2s, Pike Perfects, a few Xplorers and a couple of Aspires. More than half the competitors were using 2.4 GHz radio systems.

Over the three days the weather conditions were pleasant, fairly typical for Colorado conditions at an altitude of 5,280 feet, but the thin air gave some challenging flying conditions. Winds were relatively light and the lift was very light in the early morning. As the day progressed there were areas of huge lift along with huge sink. Going the wrong way often meant relaunching or landing out, which quite a number experienced.

End of day two saw the usual suspects having graduated to the top ten positions, namely Daryl Perkins, Richard Burnoski, Cody Remington, Josh Glaab, Skip Miller, Mike Lee, Ben Clerx, Jeffrey Walter, Thomas Cooke and Jon Padilla. Top five positions were really close so everyone had to remain on their toes - or with fingers twitching. Daryl and Richard had flown nearly perfect rounds and didn't need a throw out. Cody and Skip had one bad score each with Josh having two minor hits, so all of them needed perfect scores for the remainder to avoid dropping out of contention.

Day three dawned with challenging morning conditions and 15 minute flights unlikely. Those leaders unlucky enough to draw these were Mike Lee, Jon Padilla and Cody Remington. Cody managed to eek out 13 mins 45 secs and 99 landing points to make his 1,000. Through round 16 the top five continued to post great flights with no serious losses, the lowest score being 995.87.

At that point in the final day it became clear that five 15 minute rounds would be flown, which in the rules meant that instead of only one throw out for the 16 rounds, a second throw out would apply for the 15 minute rounds. Because of that it wasn't clear on the posted scores what the true order for the five top scores was. The battle for the top three places was still unclear and any of the top five had a chance.

End of round 17 made the top two spots a little clearer and Josh Glaab took a hit which would be a throw out. Only a major hit among the top pilots would change the ultimate outcome. In round 18 Cody took a short tow and posted 14 minutes 58.22 plus a 99 landing, topping both Glaab and Perkins.

The penultimate round saw Skip Miller against Richard Burnoski and clear lift was indicated to the side of the field. Snag was it was the opposite side to Skip's launch spot. He took a short tow and reached the lift at 50 ft high and nursed it to win the round, Richard managing to overfly. It was exciting, but in the end didn't matter because the final throw outs settled the order. The junior team with two newcomers seem set to gain plenty of practice with Brendon because all three come from Seattle in Washington.

I asked Hal and Sue for a few quick notes on what happened in Denver. What I got was a super exciting account of the drama, the only embarassment - which must have made the writing more difficult - was that Cody managed to top the contest and in the process beat master pilot Daryl Perkins. All six pilots will be the teams to beat next year!