By Kayle Wooll
One would be forgiven for thinking this was a competition for Extra Aircraft, with eight Extras taking part it is fair to say that it’s the most Extras taking part in a competition for a very long time. Six of the Extras flew in formation from Gauteng to Ladysmith.
The turnout for the competition was unfortunately not too great with many of the pilots stating that the KZN competition was a bit too close to the Eastern Cape regional comp held at Wings park last month. This however didn’t dampen the competition in any way.
Sportsman Class was a very tightly fought affair between Gareth Gill and Quentin Taylor in an Extra 300 (ZS-BDE) and Extra 200 (ZS-EDB) respectively. Quentin taking penalties in the warm-up on the Known sequence flew really well, but Gareth flying superbly in his second sequence to take the lead for his first-ever competition win. Fantastic.
Intermediate Tristan Eeles in the Ecko Unltd Extra 330Sc (ZS-XBE) pulled his usual tricks out with his militaristic accuracy and comfortably took intermediate. Roger Deare came in second in his Ecko Unltd Extra 300 (ZS-OLR).
Advanced Class delivered the biggest field and was fiercely contested with the top three pilots achieving scores in the low to mid 70%’s, The battle for second place was a very tight competition with Glen Warden in his Slick 360 (ZU-MDA) having to pull out the stops to stay ahead of Jason Beamish in his Extra 330Lx (ZS-EXT). I managed to walk away with the win in the trusty Extra 330Lx (ZS-XLX).
In the Unlimited Class, both Nigel Hopkins and Barrie Eeles competed in the same aircraft an Extra 330Sc (ZS-XSC). Unfortunately, Barrie lost minor scores due to energy on a snap in the unknown, to lose by only 2% to Nigel. They both achieved great scores in the high 70%’s which in itself is quite an achievement.
Overall it was a lovely weekend in Ladysmith, the weather on Friday afternoon was a bit worrying and we thought would affect the competition. Fortunately, the weather cleared and spirits were high, as always the team of judges were in top form!
Young Miss Maritza Boswel did some training with me for her graduate, making her a first for female aerobatic pilots coming up in a long long time. So good things to come from there in future, keep a lookout.
A big “Thank You” must go to our friends from ATNS who did an excellent job in the “tower”. As well as the excellent medical services on standby that once again had a very boring day, which is how we like it.
The next competition will be the SA National Championships which will be held in Phalaborwa later in the year.