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Yes, Belgium: the small country in the heart of Europe, hosting the government of the European Union in Brussels, the country's capital city.
I have given NMP PCH HayaBusa, Belgium's reigning indoor and outdoor 4-way world champions, enough attention with the Sun Path Products NSL News over the years. Even Turning Points covered the team in the summer of 2012, when they had become a serious contender for gold medals in Dubai.
They did not win that year but it seemed to be only a matter of time when it would happen. Then it took two more years until they became 4-way world champions and they defended the top spot successfully in 2016 with a new team member. Enough of that, at least for now, as they are aiming for the third set of FAI gold medals in 2018.
The same three HayaBusa members who won gold medals in 2014 and 2016 (Dennis Praet, David and Andy Grauwels) and new Belgian 4-way world champion Jeroen "Bob" Nollet may have been bored when they came up with the idea to start an 8-way project with the Thund8rbirds, a Belgian/Dutch combination in 2016.
The six Belgian 8-way members eventually decided to add two more Belgians to the lineup and continue the 8-way project with the Fly-In Machine 44, which is now eligible to compete as a national team for Belgium at FAI events.
That so far is all about the Belgian team projects. Let's get to the invasion now.
French Indoor Nationals 2017
|1||NMP PCH HayaBusa||BE||26||36||37||33||29||32||29||30(-2)||29(-1)||32||313||31.3|
|3||French Weembi Girls||FR||26||32||33||29||25||29||27||25||29||28||283||28.3|
|6||Espoir Saumur Weembi||FR||21||30||29||23||21||28||24||22||24||25||247||24.7|
|9||Wom'in PCP Bouloc||FR||18||26||28||24||19||22||19||20||22||21||219||21.9|
|15||Ookpik Armee de Terre||FR||17||22||24||19||19||19||19||18||17||19||193||19.3|
|16||Flyzone Les Affranchis||FR||17||24||22||19||16||20||16||17||19||16||186||18.6|
|17||Maubeuge Espoir Weembi||FR||14||22||20||17||16||22||19||15||17||20||182||18.2|
|21||Corbas Coyotes JCM||FR||16||19||16||18||14||16||16||16||15||14||160||16.0|
|25||Vive La Chute Hmmm Shamal||FR||13||18||16||13||13||14||10||12||13||13||135||13.5|
France recently held the Indoor Nationals 2017 at Weembi, a new wind tunnel in Lille. The French national 4-way teams (French Weembi Girls in 4-way Women and RealFly-Sion in 4-way Open) both tried to get closer to HayaBusa's 4-way lineup, which turned out to be as difficult as before.
Even the new French national indoor 4-way team, Weembi Lille, with four 4-way world champions of 2014 and 2010 (Roy Janssen, Julien Degen, Mathieu and Guillaume Bernier) were not able to challenge HayaBusa seriously on their home turf. That was the first invasion, which was not really a surprise, as HayaBusa is the reigning indoor and outdoor world champions.
France has also been as strong in 8-way as in 4-way in the past, and all of the 8-way world champions of 2006 - 2010 were present at Weembi. They did not compete together to defend their home turf and showed up in several other 4- and 8-way lineups. The last time they competed together was at the Clash of Champions 2015 indoor competition where they finished with a 27.9 average.
French Indoor Nationals 2017
|1||Fly-In Machine 44||BE||27||29||25||24||20||42||29||27||36||35||294||29.4|
|9||Team Hell Veloce||FR||16||14||14||17||15||24||10||17||20||19||166||16.6|
|10||8way Donut PCP||FR||16||17||13||13||13||20||15||17||18||14||156||15.6|
It's not over here, and now I am relating to this month's article, "Australia's Asian Invasion". There could also be a Belgian invasion of Australia next year. Gold Coast is hosting the FAI World Championship of Formation Skydiving in 2018 where NMP PCH HayaBusa and the Fly-In Machine 44 might both compete for Belgium.
There is no doubt that HayaBusa is the top contender for 4-way gold, and the Belgian 8-way lineup will have chances for medals, as well. Probably not for gold in 8-way, where the Golden Knights seem to be out of reach. Are they... ? Belgium will not have a medal contender in 4-way Women, even though new 8-way member Maya Van Campenhout demonstrates the Belgian girl power. Belgium - wow... Do I have to add the small country to the list of formation skydiving powerhouses now...?