Sunday saw the gentle breeze return to help dissipate the smog that seemed to have built up over two days of virtual calm. Much of the smoke hanging around appears to come from the farmers burning bundles of corn husks and stalks. The local farmers make good use of the asphalt roadways in many areas around Laiwu by spreading their corn harvest on the road to dry. (Heaven knows how they did it before tourism added the infrastructure.)
The final two groups of Rd 3 distance were flown first with HongKong having a small triumph to fly 17 laps to Australia’s 16. Steve Keep and I have been assisting the very inexperienced Hong Kong team and they have been improving rapidly. Round 3 of speed was started by Kyle and he flew what looked like a tight run but was only a 17.33. Once again like yesterday the launch air was simply difficult to get a loaded model high and as the round went on it was clear that 17 secs wasn’t too bad. Tom didn’t like either of his first two launches and took a 3rd with just 55 secs to go. It seemed that he spent longer on launch than normal and it was like an eternity as his model tracked back to get behind. He finally entered with less than 20 secs and cut his 2nd base B turn for a zero as he finally ran out of time. We will have enough rounds for a drop though so this is only a minor setback. Dave didn’t like his first launch but his re-launch was better and he made 3 good turns to post a 17:32. He may have started a bit high and flew a little conservatively to ensure a score but he has runs on the board with this one. The Herrigs flew well for the conditions and always appear to out-launch us. They are running slightly lighter mono (0.90 and 1.02) and seem to build greater tension with an almost stalled winch. They also tapped the pedal a few times today after one line break forced a change to slightly heavier 1.02 and 1.12 mono. Andreas flew a 15.91 for the 1000 in what was the best air of the round and Martin a 17.10. Yoshida (16.37) and Sakurai (16.53) the two very fast Japanese pilots were 2nd and 3rd fastest.
That concluded Rd 3 which was won by Andreas Herrig with 2991 points. Naito Sakurai was 2nd with 2962 and Michael Seyfang 3rd on 2934. Due to the discard of a round the overall result is not easy to determine but 4 germans currently hold down the top four spots with Kyle our highest placed US pilot in 6th.
Rd 4 of speed followed in the reverse order with Tom up first. Tom flew very safely for a 19.87
Dave was our 2nd pilot up and took a long turn at B for a good time of 17.65 and Kyle flew clean and tight for a 17.02. The round was taken again by the magic of the Germans with Martin H making tough air seem good with a 15.11 followed by Andreas Kunz 15.86 and Andreas Herrig 15.91.
A short break was taken and then Rd 4 of distance commenced.
Tom was up in Group 1 against Michael Seyfang of Germany and Naotao Sakurai of Japan. The Germans launched first and launched high turning in lift slightly to the East. Tom quickly followed and joined the lift beneath Seyfang who entered the course earlier. Tom took an extra turn and charged into Base A with a few seconds to spare and raced through a masterful 30 laps to Seyfangs 26. It was a great victory for Tom and the US team.
David made a great showing in his distance. He launched first to find poor air to the east and Craig Goodrum saw us struggling and launched to. The west to find some big air. By the time Dave relaunched to join Craig he was 500 feet lower entering with a few seconds to spare. The result was a 28 to Craigs 30. Close but no cigar.
Kyle was our last pilot up and had the measure of Patrick Medard with a 26 to 22 round for the 1000. Unfortunately missing signal for the HK pilot meant the entire group had to be reflown. The reflight saw Kyle match Patrick for 26 laps each. Still another 1000 for Kyle tho – yoohoo!
The button pushers were given a short rest while we flew round 4 of duration.
This was the first duration round flown in the middle of the day and clearly it would be a tight result where a perfect score would be the only way to ensure a 1000 points. 1 st group included Tom and his 10:00 – 95 got him 995 points. David was up in group 2 and he nailed the hunski getting red carpet paint on his nose. His 10:00 – 100 perfect score was matched by Craig Goodrum and Tim Kullack of australia. Kyle was in th last group and he scored a 10.02 – 95 to complete round 4
The winner of Rd 4 was Martin Herrig with 2981 points. 2nd was Andreas Kunz (2951)and 3rd Andreas Herrig (2948). The German machine are hard to beat but Kyle, Tom and Dave all took thousands in this round with 2 in distance. Things are certainly improving as the US Team gets their measure.
Round 5 speed was commenced after lunch and once again the 3 Germans of Herrig, Herrig and Kunz set the standard with all 3 hitting the 15’s – Andreas 15.31, Kunzie 15.48 and Martin 15.82. Kyle and david were close behind in 4 th and 5ith with a 16.58 and a 16.59. Tom is also coming to terms with the air and flew a solid 17.77.
Round 5 distance gave us the most exhilarating races to date with plenty of choices to make with big air. Rudi King launched 1St in Kyles group and then Andreas Herrig closely followed by Kyle. All three thermalled just east and upwind of the course with Andreas clearly much higher from his launch. Andreas entered with 30 secs still available while Kyle stayed for an extra couple of wraps. When Kyle entered the course with a few seconds spare he was lower and three laps down on the German. The lift was no drifting on course and Kyle quickly made the best of his air to match Andreas 26 for the 1000. Toms flight was a classic as he launched early and went west where some locals had started a fire and smoke as showing good air. Toms read was perfect as he entered the course 2 laps ahead of Martin H and that’s where he stayed to take the 1000 with 24 laps.
David also had a good distance round but lost by one lap to Aussie John Skinner with 20 laps.
Last task for the day would be round 5 of duration. The sun setting low was mostly obscured by the smog in a big dull red orb and that was the only direction to go where the heat was being retained by the buildings etc. With smooth flying after a decent launch it wasn’t hard to get times and good on Roman for keeping the contest going until the full duration round was complete. And the sun was almost home on the horizon when the final group had landed. Kyle took the 1000 points in his group with the perfect score. Thomas followed suit also with a perfect 10:00 – 100 and Dave made it 3 1000’s in a row with a 9.59 – 100. This surely was the change in fortunes the team needs and tomorrow promises to be a whoop-ass day for USA.
Tonight the team found a restaurant offering beef so we left the sanctuary of the Hotel for one night in a little cuisine adventure. I think I prefer my wifes cooking but nevertheless it was a nice diversion.
Zaijian (Chinese for goodbye)