Two Oceans Slope Soarers Aerobatics Event 2014
For a second year in a row we managed with the help of nature to pull off a three scoring round event. One of the standout features of this slope aerobatics event is the manner in which all participants are there to help, assist and call, for one another, even though they are competing against one another. This credo forms the core spirit of slope soaring, as all and sundry can be reduced to a long drop out and fetch at the whims of nature, and this was to prove once again true.
Round 1: Enter the Red Hill arena
Saturday delivered great South East conditions and the event was called for Red Hill above Simonstown. An address by Chairman Tim Watkins Baker and the Competition Director Jeff Steffen and the event was under way. The first round for the Sportsman Class took place in light but ever improving conditions and we were witness to a vast improvement in level of aerobatics over last year. True to the competitive edge, some of the pilots gave into the nerves and delivered less than their best in the round, but that’s the nature of the beast. Straight into battle went the Expert class lads and true to form the competition was epic between the whole class and as they say, practice makes perfect and the near perfect conditions aided that achievement. Notables in the first round were Alan Ball and Hans van Kamp in the Sportsman class and Marc Wolfe and Christo le Roux in the expert class.
Round 2: Battling the sink
And so we rolled quickly into the second round with barely a gap allowed for the consumption of tasty burgers and cooldrinks between the rounds. Sportsman’s class hit the slopes again and by now the engine was well oiled and running smoothly, allowing the class to complete extremely well and finish of quickly. And so we moved to the second round of the expert class, but were worried about the predicted South wind switch – a death knell for Red Hill as it quickly becomes cross slope and entirely lift free. Decision made to proceed and so we threw the Expert class to the lions with the first three quarters of the round getting the best lift. Christo le Roux and Malcolm Riley pulling out all the stops. But as predicted, the wind changed and the lift quickly changed as well, to really bumpy, full of holes and unreliable. With three competitors left we sat and waited out the wind switch hoping to get it to come back on. 45 minutes later and still we waited with time nearly out and the round about to be cancelled. An attempt at a launch was given with the trusty Vector 111, but there was that “hole in the pit of the stomach moment” when the glider loses 30 feet in split seconds in the sink, but a steady nerve and a dead stick glide to the south slope allowed the glider to stay alive. The three remaining competitors to the round, Marc Wolfe, Kevin Farr and Steve Meusel were left with the decision to cancel the round or fly it in really insanely poor lift. Off to battle they went, all launching at the same time, scrambling to get sufficient lift to perform a move and then their callers yelling like a banshee as they came through and completed the manoeuvre to the best of their abilities in utterly awful lift. Then a run back to the south slope, a hurried hunt for lift, all circling in a 5 yard radius, and then back to the box for the manoeuvre. Manic would be an understatement as all this took place in front of the judges. As the final manoeuvres were being hastily completed, the lift died entirely and a rash of hasty landings had to be made while Marc Wolfe attempted to stay alive in no lift situation. The result was a long winded slow decent of the slope, landing on the silver boardwalk of the sewerage farm at the base of the Red Hill. At this point with all manoeuvres completed, the round was called and Marc made a headlong dash down the hill to fetch the glider, patch it up overnight and get it ready for the next mornings round.
Round 3: Winner takes all
Sunday delivered near perfect conditions at Red Hill once again and so the third round of Expert was run with the wind getting stronger all the time, it soon became apparent that the third round of Sportsman’s was not going to happen due to blow back and the landing area becoming more and more hazardous. So the competition was called complete and all and sundry headed to Dixies for a well earned beer and the awards presentation.
It was felt that this was as close a competition as had been run in any of the years, and so Alan Ball took the Sportsman’s Class from the evergreen Durbanite Dave Greer, and Ryan Matchett. In the highly contested Expert Class our TOSS member Christo le Roux beat Marc Wolfe and Louis Genade to the post and took the first TOSS win since Steve Meusel took the first place in the inaugural event. Once more it was proved that these slope lads are tough, uncompromising and yet friendly as hell in this, the best slope aerobatics contest in the world – in front of the toughest judges we know.
And so a big old thanks to our judges, Andrew Anderson and Stuart Nix.
A great THANKS must once again go to the awesome sponsors who make this event worth entering even if just to win the hampers.
Loads of thanks and to Jeff Steffen (CD), Bill dewey (safety), George Lerm and David and Sharon Semple (Scores) and any others that helped to make this one of a kind event happen so well every year. See you next year.
View all the results here