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Did You Know...

... that NMP-PCH Hayabusa and Arizona Airspeed will battle for two more years?

Chris Farina and Thiago Gomes with SDC Rhythm XP at the World Challenge 2012
posted Jan 21st, 2013 - The last update coming from the Arizona Airspeed headquarters in Eloy was posted on 28 December 2012. The story broke the news that Chris Farina would replace Josh Hall in the Point slot. Former SDC Rhythm XP member Thiago Gomes was also heading west to serve as the Airspeed alternate.

The personnel changes for Arizona Airspeed and SDC Rhythm XP do not seem to change the situation in the USA very much. Airspeed is still the country's top team, and Rhythm will continue as the main challenger.

The picture may look differently on the international top level in 4way Formation Skydiving competition. The NSL News inquired for an update from Belgium, where NMP-PCH Hayabusa is carefully storing the first silver medals for the country in the history of the sport. Hayabusa won the silver medals at the Mondial Dubai 2012, one single point behind Airspeed at the end of the 10-round meet.

World Meet 2008Round 1Round 2Round 3Round 4Round 5Round 6Round 7Round 8TotalAvg
Rank4way OpenB,17,7H,N,13,A10,J,C,618,12,2E,3,919,O,4D,M,5,1614,20,21TotalAvg
1Arizona Airspeed (US)3032 24162921281519524.4
2France Maubeuge (FR)283023172723281819424.3
3HayaBusa Defence (BE)273323 172722251719123.9
Scores between Hayabusa and US national 4way teams
Team speaker Roy Janssen informed the NSL News earlier that the same Hayabusa lineup will continue for the next two years. His team has been following the development in the USA carefully, and Airspeed's personnel change is not really bad news for Belgium. Hayabusa's goal is to bring the 4way Excalibur sword to a very small country for the first time in 2014.

The charts are showing the scoring numbers over the years between Hayabusa and the US national teams and Arizona Airspeed specifically. The first chart compares the Hayabusa performance with any US national teams only at outdoor meets since the Belgian team was formed in 2004.

The second chart compares Hayabusa and Airspeed directly and includes the indoor competitions where the Belgians have outscored the Americans a few times. The numbers speak their own language, and new Airspeed member Chris Farina may be facing the toughest challenge of all Airspeed lineups in the past years.

World Meet 2010Rd. 1Rd. 2Rd. 3Rd. 4Rd. 5Rd. 6Rd. 7Rd. 8Rd. 9Rd. 10TotalAvg
Rank4way Open10,7,123,11,5J,M,Q,P,L19,1,13N,18,20K,17,82,15,H4,D,6O,E,9,G22,B,16TotalAvg
1Aerodyne Aerokart (FR)2122562022242224402627727.7
2Arizona Airspeed (US)2221532320242325402327427.4
3Sky Panthers (RU)1921562119212322412126426.4
4NMP-PCH Hayabusa (BE)2121552017202322361825325.3
Scores between Hayabusa and Arizona Airspeed
Roy Janssen had a good point when he explained the promising Hayabusa situation: "This is the first time that we have a lineup for longer than one World Meet since we became a professional team. We can finally continue instead of making steps back and fight again to get in front!"

He and the Grauwels brothers David and Andy have been training and competing together since 2004. The 4th team member changed on a regular basis. Sven Ibens competed for Hayabusa in Croatia 2004 and Germany 2006. Luc Verstrepen had the Center Inside slot in France 2008, and Waedong So was Hayabusa's Point in Russia 2010.

Dennis Praet has been the Point for the last two years and came closer to the gold medals than any other Hayabusa lineup. Now the same lineup continues for two more years, and Belgium may have become the top favorite for the World Championship of Formation Skydiving in 2014.

World Meet 2012Rd. 1Rd. 2Rd. 3Rd. 4Rd. 5Rd. 6Rd. 7Rd. 8Rd. 9Rd. 10TotalAvg
Rank4way Open5,12,E6,D,B,KO,8,7N,13,1810,21,M19,H,11C,G,1,A20,9,1516,F,P,Q2,J,4TotalAvg
1Arizona Airspeed (US)2734272223233225402627927.9
2NMP-PCH Hayabusa (BE)2534272123243227402527827.8
NMP-PCH Hayabusa in action over Dubai
image by: Danny Jacobs
However, Roy Janssen doesn't think that Airspeed's new lineup with Chris Farina will suffer much: "They have the right weather, right dropzone, right wind tunnel and the knowledge to bring him up quickly, and he is also already an experienced competitor. Of course, he still needs to prove that he stays mentally cool when the heat is on in a final of a World Meet..."

Roy Janssen knows who will turn on the heat when it comes to this point in 2014, which is very likely to happen. It would not be a surprise if Airspeed and Hayabusa would be locked into each other once again in the battle for the gold medals. He is still happy for Chris Farina:

"He gets his chance now, and for sure it is the best team in the United States at this moment. We had some battles with Perris Fury in the past, and it looks like we will continue, but now with him in the Airspeed lineup. It is also good that Airspeed can continue with a strong lineup. They have been strong players since the early 90's and for sure they deserve to keep going with their project. We are already looking forward to some great battles!"

World Meet 2014

Who has the better chances to win in 2014?

NMP-PCH Hayabusa
Arizona Airspeed

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Arizona Airspeed in Bedford 2012: First battle at the World Challenge 2013
The first Hayabusa/Airspeed battle of the new year will take place at the World Challenge 2013. Andy Grauwels has to recover from a surgery and will not be ready for any earlier outdoor competition. Airspeed will compete at the Paraclete XP Indoor Championship 2013, then at the Valentine's Meet and the Paraclete XP Outdoor Championship 2013 in DeLand. The US team will be ready for Hayabusa in Bedford.

Chris Farina is moving to Arizona in February and will have little time to train with the new lineup. Airspeed has traditionally a very intense beginning of the new competition season before slowing down in the middle of the year. The reigning world champions will have completed two indoor and two outdoor meets in April.

Alternate Thiago Gomes will also get his training opportunities, Chris Farina added. The team will schedule some additional training sessions to keep him involved this year.

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