Lakes Charity Classic anniversary bash

Thursday 16 June, 2011

Britain’s longest-running paragliding competition, the Lakes Charity Classic, celebrated its 21st anniversary over the first weekend of June this year. Organiser Gordie Oliver reports.

[youtube id=”4UD1gS4ifeE” w=”500″]

After the worst May in memory for Lake District free flying, the event was rewarded with near perfect conditions, allowing task setters Kitt Rudd, Jocky Sanderson and ‘Dangerous’ Dave Ashcroft to set ambitious tasks, sending pilots flying off all around the Lake District in search of victory.

Flying over Buttermere at the 21st Lakes Charity Classic, 2011

Flying over Buttermere at the 21st Lakes Charity Classic, 2011

On the first day the experienced A comp pilots were challenged to fly upwind from Blease Fell to Grasmere and then back into an advancing sea breeze. Ten pilots achieved the task and in the process jointly claimed the UK out and return record.

Day two dawned with a freshening easterly breeze so Carrock Fell, notorious for having a light wind effect compared to the rest of the Lakeland Fells, was chosen. Proving as reliable as ever and despite complete cloud cover conditions were still suitable for a task and a race to goal was set for Threlkeld some 15km away.

Martin Knight was the overall winner of the A comp, and Mark Leach the B comp.

Returning to the events base on Saturday evening, people waited in anticipation to see what aviational antics were to be performed in the fabled LCC Acro Show, especially as last year Felix Rodriguez had gone for the infinite tumble record.

As the display started spectators looked across the lake to see a mini paraglider launch and then start to climb at an incredible rate. As the glider approached the event, the increasing sound of jet enginges gave away its form of propulsion. It was ‘Jetman’ Eric Viret whom the organisers had brought over from Switzerland to entertain the crowds.

Eric has developed, and is the only pilot in the world flying with jet power to remain aloft using, two turbine jet engines, originally designed for use on military drones, which he flies with a specially strengthened ITV Awak 12m mini wing. He put on an amazing display. The site and sound of him looping and spiralling his way around the valley at air speeds of up to 80km/h left all present open mouthed. Watch a video of Eric’s jet-powered flight on Cumbria Live TV.

Lake Buttermere in sunshine – beautiful

Lake Buttermere in sunshine – beautiful

As Eric’s fuel ran out and he headed for landing, the top of High Crag opposite the event’s base errupted as 17 speed wings took off in unison and proceeded to roll and tumble their way down the 700m mountain. Jocky Sanderson launched next on his Ozone Buzz to provide a full SIV run whilst broadcasting by radio to the 900 spectators over the event’s loud speakers, exactly what he was doing.

Finally Zebur Mercan and Brad Brougton closed the show with a syncro acro routine in challenging rough conditions, finishing with Zebur landing just short of the lake shore beach and then being dragged unceremoniously back out into the lake by the increasing wind, to be recovered by the rescue boat.

Bands and DJs kept the party bopping well into the early hours of Sunday morning, with all attendees celebrating this great event’s longevity. For many it was the best weekend of their summer, if not their lives.

The £3,000 raised from the event went to the National Trust, UK Multiple Sclerosis Society and the Farmers’ Benevolent fund.

Sunset paramotoring, Lakes Charity Classic 2011

Sunset paramotoring, Lakes Charity Classic 2011

Lakes Charity Classic website

• Got news? Send it to us at news@xccontent.local.

Subscribe to the world’s favourite hang gliding and paragliding magazine


Never miss an issue

Our subscribers receive 10 issues a year, the annual Travel Guide and exclusive access to competitions and offers

Subscribe today
Back to News
Back to News

Got a story?

If you have news, great images or a story, let us know

Get in touch

Join the family

By subscribing, you support the only worldwide paragliding, paramotoring and hang gliding magazine and you get:

  • Ten issues delivered to your door through the year
  • A 100+ page Travel Guide to the world’s best flying sites delivered with the Feb/March issue each year
  • Plus: Win a paraglider in our annual subscribers’ draw each January
  • Pay annually or monthly with paypal or credit card
Subscribe today

Subscribe and never miss an issue

Print edition

  • Published since 1988
  • The highest production values
  • Gorgeous photography
  • Perfect-bound, collectors’ issues
  • Ten times a year each issue is airmailed to you

Digital edition

  • Read offline on your iPad, tablet, laptop or phone
  • The same content as the printed magazine
  • Delivered through award-winning Zinio software

Print and digital

  • Read the digital issues on your iPad, tablet, laptop or phone
  • Keep the print magazines on your coffee table!
  • Ten times a year, each issue is airmailed to you and sent via Zinio
News and special offers. No spam ever