Wednesday was scheduled to be the last day of the contest with the closing ceremony and banquet being planned for Thursday. We were informed of a change of plan that now the Chinese officials wanted to complete the contest today and closing ceremony and banquet tonight leaving Thursday for is to pack our equipment. As it happens we awoke to the sound of raindrops and a heavy overcast sky.
Roman waited a couple if hours and had the Team Managers vote on whether we should fly. The vote was split four to four as the Teams who had pilots in good positions didn’t want to fly and those like us with pilots needing a few points to move up, voting to fly. In the end it was the CD’s decision and we finally got underway with Round 11 distance in light drizzle. The German team were adjacent to us on the line and there was a little grumbling as we prepared our winches. Roman in his matter-of-fact way said to them, “The rain has equal amount for every team.”
Tom was first up and had Andreas Herrig in his group. They headed west to enter the course and though Tom squeezed every last ounce of energy to finish with 22 laps to Andreas 23. It was interesting to see the variety of different Tx garb in use as the pilots kitted out for the light drizzle that was falling. The Japanese had a perfectly made clear acrylic case to house their Tx in a dry environment. Others used plastic bags while Kyle didn’t use any protection. He was up in group 4 and needed the thousand to equal Kunzies 1000 he made in group 3. Kyle would then need to make at least a 1.5 second faster speed run than Kunzie to take third place. It was a relief to us as Kyle stayed a lap ahead of France and finished with 23 to France 22 for one more 1000 pointer. Dave had a great
race with Martin in the last heat and though Martin was a lap ahead Dave had him covered. As he ran to Base B to finish he ran low with lots of energy to be sure of the lap to tie. Kyle said “don’t touch the ground” and just as he finished saying it, Dave’s model found the grass halfway down the course. To put it mildly Dave was not a happy camper as he let Martin Herrig claim the last 1000 points in distance on his own.
With light rain falling Roman called a break for lunch and as we ate our meal it became very clear that the contest would need to be delayed with no stopping the constant precipitation. We waited until 2:00pm with Roman finally calling the contest complete with scores from round 10 to determine the 2011 F3B Worlds result. This is in fact the most rounds ever flown at an F3B World Championships. Considering the difficulties with the language and the initial problems with the field this was a great result.
In general the US team flew an excellent contest in challenging conditions against the strongest team in the world and were not disgraced in any way. In fact the one cut that Kyle made yesterday was the difference between coming 4th or beating Kunzie for 3rd. The Germans took 1st place with Andreas Herrig so 2nd placed Martin will need to hand over the mantle to his brother at the awards ceremony tonight. Andreas Kunz was 3rd with Kyle 4th and Michael Seyfang 5th. Dave was 6th and Tom finished 8th. USA as a team was outright second by a good margin over France the 3rd placed team.
Final individual scores were:
1st Andreas Herrig – Germany – 26,635 points.
2nd Martin Herrig – Germany – 26,455 points.
3rd Andreas Kunz – Germany – 26,066 points.
4th Kyle Paulson – USA – 26,008 points.
5th Michael Seyfang – Germany – 25,775 points.
6th David Klien – USA – 25,284 points
7th Laurent Gauthrie – France – 25,250 points
8th Tom Kiesling – USA – 25,148 points.
9th Fabrice Estivals – France – 24,986 points
10th John Skinner – Australia – 24,884 points
Team scores were:
Because of the smaller numbers of teams attending this worlds and the large number of rounds flown this was probably the first time ever that the US team faced off against a member of the winning team almost every distance round. It also meant that our pilots has a huge amount of practice against the best in the world. If you look at the scores you will see that although we were beaten a few times in the first day or two we certainly had their measure and won most distance rounds against them for the later pars of the contest. This is significant as it shows that with all things equal we are as good or better than the world champions at distance. Kudos to our team for this achievement at a discipline that the Europeans have much more practice at.
The banquet and the closing ceremony which was brought forward one day was scheduled for this evening. We left the field promptly at 4:00pm and were seated at the restaurant over the road from the hotel at 6:30pm. There we were treated to a banquet with each team at their own large round table and a variety of Chinese delicacies to tempt our palets. Roman announced the winners of the Xueye Open pre contest and awarded Martin, Andreas and Michael with their certificates. Roman also announced a special award from himself the CD to Steve Keep of Australia and myself for putting in so much effort to assist the Chinese and Hong Kong teams to participate. This was certainly an unexpected reward for doing something which was an absolute pleasure but the very nice bottle of rice liquor will find a new home in Florida.
After enjoying more than our share of beers and shots of Chinese ‘saki’ we boarded the buses again for the trip to Lake Xueye and the CIAF center for the official closing ceremony. And what a memorable closing ceremony it was with an amazing array of tumbling, dancing, acrobatic and singing acts interspersed with presentations to the winners of the aerobatic competition and then finally to the individual and Team winners of the 2011 F3B World Championships. It was a huge spectacle on a magnificent stage with a very appreciative audience. The 3 US Team pilots and super manager Darrel, climbed on the stage with the German Team and the French team to accept beautiful bouquets and medals.
It was with slightly sad hearts that we boarded the buses in the knowledge that we were leaving this beautiful facility and lake for the last time. It had been a tremendously well organized contest from start to finish in spite of the difficulties with culture and language. The only sad part was the
fact that so many teams that did not attend this worlds missed out on a spectacle and wonderful memories they would have cherished forever.
That’s all folks