The annual Sport Aerobatic Club of SA Ace of Base competition is a competition like no other, all of the competitors stand a chance of walking away with the coveted title of “ACE OF BASE”. In any other competition, the winner of the unlimited class is declared the winner of the competition, at Ace of Base however the pilot with the highest aggregate score form any of the classes is declared the overall winner. This really tends to encourage the competitors to up their game to a much higher level.
Baragwanath Airfield was the host for this year’s edition of Ace of Base, originally planned for two days the weather didn’t allow for any flying on Saturday, Sunday, however, delivered close to perfect flying conditions. Some of the entered contestants were delayed by low cloud but the majority of the contestants managed to get to Bara.
Sadly there were no entrants in the RV and Unlimited Class, leaving the fight for ACE OF BASE up to the Sportsman, Intermediate and Advanced Classes. The day was kicked off with a safety briefing by Competition Director Eugene du Preez followed by a short address by the Chief Judge, John Gaillard on the dos and don’ts for the competition. John also took the opportunity to welcome newly qualified judges to the fold.
The competition then got under-way with the Sportsman Class pilots getting airborne in for their “known” sequence, they were followed by the Intermediate Class and finally, the Advanced guys got to strut their stuff. Due to the low number of contestants, the judges made a call to not take a break but rather push through and have the second sequences directly after the first round.
Once again the Sportsman Class led the way with the “Free” Sequence, The Intermediate and Advanced completed the days flying with their “Unknown” Sequences. Everyone was then invited to the clubhouse for a great lunch spread laid on by the good people from the Johannesburg Light Plane Club.
The judges were hard at work during the lunch break calculating the final scores, as soon as they finished the results were announced by Eugene du Preez. The winner, second and third places in each class presented with a medal. The last award was for the “ACE OF BASE” for the second year in a row this prestigious honour went to a Sportsman Class pilot.
Events like these would not be possible without the generosity of the sponsors, and a special thank you must go to Aircraft Unlimited and PSG Insurance for joining hands with the SAC to keep the sport alive. ER24 also deserve a “thank you” for positioning one of their ambulances at Baragwanath for the day just in case there was a need which there thankfully wasn’t.
ACE OF BASE is historically the last competition of the year and I’m sure most people are glad to see the end of 2020, we certainly hope next year will be a good one without the type of interruptions we experienced this year.
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