I’m home!


Evening all,

I’m back from the Juniors, and what a week it was, anything but ‘classic’ weather, but some decent soaring and a few tasks! Only 3 comp days, and a very low point comp as day 2 and 3 there were so few people who got round.

Day 1: 207km – Bicester North West – Bletchley – Oundle – Caxton Gibbet – Bicester Airfield.

Juniors 2010

I was one of the first to launch, and came off tow at 2k, and straight into 6 knots, pretty much the start of what looked to be an awesome day. After about 1hr and a half just as the start gate was going to open, my logger failed, well my PDA that reads off it went crazy, so in a busy start sector i decided to land rather than play about with it in the air.

Got back on the deck and after half hour or so i took another tow, climbed to 3600′ then off i went. By this time the front forecasted from the south, had drifted north and avoiding a Nav Warning/TRA (Thus the confusion that i’m sure many have heard about) i had to skirt along the crappy weather, treading carefully. Got about 12km from Bletchley and there was NOTHING! So had a very slow long dead glide to Bletchley and back losing over 2k, but luckily there were half a dozen gliders circling so i cruised straight to them and carried on climbing. The run up to Oundle was simple enough, passing over Lyvden where i was the other week so i knew a few of the local hot spots.

After Oundle, it became tricy, i.e. the front had moved further North and every scap of Cu was diminishing.  Kept getting strong climbs though, so pushed on,  sneaked round caxton by which time it was now completely blue on track, crap north and a long way to the Cu south.  Found a few local gliders and a couple of comp gliders circling so it had obviously gone blue and was still working, so i ran diagonally across towards the cu, south of track, but hoping to have a faster run home with more thermal markers.

Eventually i got to a point where i had to either go even further off track south, or head off to Bicester into a murky looking inversion. -150ft on the final glide calculater, sod it, fingers crossed… nothing… -100ft still…1knot, not enough to gain enough height to push back into the 15knot wind… nothing…a glimmer of light in the distance, my friend Chris in his 19, circling in 4 knots, fantastic, have a bit of that. As my final glide came into positive figures he headed for home, i still needed a fair bit more height. It eventually topped out at about just over 3k, just enough to get in?! Slow final glide, hit another 4 knots, so took that a few more hundred feet just to make sure as the wind was still strong, and did the last 10k easy, only landing a couple of minutes after Chris, but 3hr 42 on task. A slow one, but i had to miss the good weather because of Silverstone and long slow glides a lot of the time.

13th out of 45 on day 1.

Day 2 – 172km – Deddington – Winchcombe – Worcester Race Course – Calvert Rail Junction – Bicester

Well i was the most pessimistic person on the grid, forecast 20 knot flying winds, in an unballasted ASW15, not fun! On the back row of the grid i got ready. To start with, it was a 15km glide out to the start sector! That took two glides in itself! I started almost as soon as i could as it was forecast to overdevelop later on.

Literally about 10km down track it had already spreadout and it was CRAP! Gliders headed south, north, west, every different directions and it wasn’t long before i saw gliders dropping into fields, and me down at 1500ft! I just kept going into the sunlight, just hoping i’d get something, and i did, half a knot. Kept with it and climbed 300ft hoping something would cycle. Chaz in his cirrus came underneather me so i pushed upwind at 2000ft to see if i could find something else, in hope he would stay and mark the thermal. I left, and came back as i found nothing. Got a little bit higher and then pushed on again at about 2300ft.

I saw chaz about 5km up track, and saw him go into a field whilst i was down at 1300ft, well, may aswell go to that field via that little village. Got 3 knots, which turned into 6 under a beautiful cloud. Quite literally just luck, and really unlucky for Chaz, if he held on an extra 5 mins, he may have got away. So after that it was pretty easy running. Got some decent climbs running north from the cotswolds after the first turn, 8knots up to 4400′ and spanking along this street with a DG1000.

Slow glide out to Worcester with big gaps ib between climbs. 7km out i got about 1k short of cloudbase and a few gliders joined me quite a bit below. So i thought sod it, and zoomed in and out of the turn at 80knots, getting back to the same climb where those gliders stayed marking the climb.

Took that then headed back to the energy line i used before. Looked good south of track towards Brize, nothing direct on track, and North of track looked like a huge long way off track to get anything decent. So i went south. (BIG MISTAKE) Followed the line down until i realised if i kept going i was going into Brize, so i tried to jump across track to this dying Cu. By the time i got there, it had died completely, so i i just took a glide into Little Riss where i was with 7 other gliders who had landed there on the way out.

10th on Day 2 after doing 143km. Only 6 made it round.

Day 3 – 194km – Bicester East – Towcester – Bourton – Bletchley – Bicester

Original task was taking us South where the good weather was, but the 18m Nationals were coming north from Lasham so the director, on the grounds of Safety took us North and West, exactly where all the upper cloud and showers were forecast.

So i took the decision to go early and try and beat the showers. I made the first turn easily enough, but it was crap on track, sort of ok quite far north, or amazing to the south. So i literally back – tracked back to Bicester, kept getting decent climbs, but through a few showers. I tried to push on west, but there was just no way i could get around the showers, in front, to the north and east were showers, and south, well spreadout and then big big gaps before any clouds. I’d heard plenty of people landed out, and a fair few people just decided to give up and go straight into Biecester instead of on track. I pushed as far on track as i could until my glider got very wet, then a straight glide into Bicester to de-rig just as the rain came through.

74km of the task and 3rd place.

Leaving me in 9th overall. Not too bad bearing in mind i haven’t even had the glider back a month yet and all except 3 people that beat me are the British Team, maybe me next year perhaps?!

Huge thanks to Tom Smith for crewing for me, and pretty much being the handyman about the campsite – Legend!


2 Responses to “I’m home!”

  1. Russell Says:

    Well done Matt.I am happy for you that you had a safe and productive Comp,Maybe next year you will get into the GB team and realy put WDP on the map.Look forward to seeing some photos and vids if you have any.
    Take care

  2. Mark Rushton Says:

    I agree with Russ’s sentiments – very well done, Matt. Hopefully this is just the beginnnig of a wonderful comp career. Looking forward to seeing you all in a couple of weeks



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