Michel Carnet won the 2016 British Paramotor Championships, ahead of Mark Morgan and Ric Womersley. Paul Smith and Jamie Goodridge report from the event, which took place in Swindon, UK, at the end of June.
The British Open Paramotor Championships 2016 were held this year on farmland in Swindon between the 25th and 28th June in beautiful scenic countryside.
We have seen an increased number of competitiors this year, and a late decision from the organisers to let under 21s compete for free saw Dylan Marsh and Honest Anderson take part in a very challenging competition. Both were well-placed for their first event. They were joined by Jason Taylor, also in his first year of competition. All three pilots were from Footflight Paramotor School who seem to be leading the way in training safe and competitive pilots.
The good old British weather didn’t let us down, throwing wind, rain and thunder at us. Task director Mike Chilvers nevertheless set 10 good and challenging tasks under varied conditions.
Following the recent announcement from the FAI that all pure slalom events should be held over water on the grounds of safety, there were no slalom tasks in the event. Instead, a varied array of precision tasks kept the pilots’ and spectators’ attention. The Wing Control was challenging for the pilots and fun to watch: Pilots had to enter the course and hit a stick, then land, keeping the wing under control, and slalom around cones set out on the ground. Once the last cone was passed, they had to re-launch and hit the final stick in the air. The stick-hitting started and stopped the timer, and the fickle winds made it less than easy to keep the wing under pressure.
The Skittles and Spot Landings were challenging, British Team pilots demonstrating their prowess in the latter having been out training for the Worlds and using every flight as if it was a competiton. It’s always good to hear the YES! as they hit the spot.
The top three places from the British Open went to Michel Carnet, Mark Morgan and Ric Womersley.
We sadly lost a British Team member Barry Holleran earlier in the year. Barry’s work and inspiration for the team was second to none, and we found it fitting to offer a yearly memorial trophy to the best navigational task winner. This year, its first, it was awarded to a very proud but emotional Barney Townsend.
The British Open also allows us to pick places for the British Team, the top three Open pilots automatically qualifying, and a further three being selected shortly after. The new team is The team is Paul Smith (Team Leader) Michel Carnet, Richard Womersley, Paul Martin, Simon Scott, Barney Townsend and Mark Morgan. They are currently training hard for the World Championships in August.
Welsh pilot Jamie Goodridge reflects on his first British Championships:
Well, I finally plucked up courage to have a go at this year’s open, and now that I’m back home safely and my head has stopped spinning I have to say that it was a great first experience and loads of fun. I haven’t told the wife yet, but I’m thinking of having another go next year as I think I might be hooked.
No excuses, but deciding to take part was a bit of a last minute decision for me. I hadn’t flown with a map board before the competition and come to think of it, never really spent much time looking at maps. A great help was that I received a call from Mark Morgan before the comp and he told me a bit about competitions and also what bits and pieces I’d need to sort out.
He gave me plenty of info. The problem I had was not being able to retain the info long enough to be able to use it to my advantage for the competition, doh! Thanks again for being so patient, Mark.
I found I was capable of flying all of the tasks that were set, as they’re designed to be fun and (luckily for me) not too complicated. Spot landings, slow/fast, bowling landings, economy tasks and skittles were fun but also challenging. If you want to score highly on these tasks, then this is where skill and practice pays off. The nav tasks were also fun, especially the snake but, as I found out, a big part is in the preparation. Also, before you fly, always remember to grab your GPS logger, especially if it’s a nav task. Forget this and it’s a struggle to score. (I guess there are some things you just have to learn the hard way!)
Throughout the whole competition my scores meant that I hung around the bottom end of the scoreboard. Never mind. I still feel quite chuffed considering the competition I was up against. The main thing is, I’m glad I had a go. I’ve learned the basics and now I can practise, practise, practise.
So, if you’re like I was and you’re dithering about, thinking of entering a comp but you’re not sure if it’s for you, just get your name down and have a go. You’ll get to see how the top guys do it, and later you get to chat and have a beer with them too. I really did enjoy it and learned loads, not only about comps but also about paramotoring in general.
A massive thanks to the organisers, marshalls, competitors, the landowner and all involved in this year’s paramotor comp. As usual, people working hard, mostly behind the scenes, in order to make things run smoothly and safely.
See you next year guys, and watch out Michel
We believe the increase in competitors is down to the new fresh and fun approach to competing and a more personal relationship with everyone involved. The dates for 2017 will be available soon at www.ppgcomps.co.uk.
Even if competing is not for you, come and join us anyway and feel the love. You never know, one day you could be fighting for a place on the British Team!
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