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Did You Know...

... that the British top teams have moved closer together?

Awards at the UK Nationals 2017
posted Aug 24th, 2017 - Participation was down this year at the UK Nationals, while the competition was as exciting as it usually is at the event. A total of 40 British 4-way teams competed at Skydive Hibaldstow and completed all scheduled rounds last weekend.

It was not the FAI World Cup 2017 that kept teams from competing again, less than a week after the award ceremony in Saarlouis. In fact, all six AAA Class teams that had competed for Great Britain were back to post more scores after the short 4/5-round meet in Germany, due to the bad weather. This time, they were able to complete ten rounds in three days.

The AAA Class competition did not offer any serious battles. However, the British top teams have moved closer together this year. Team 4mula, with a new team record average despite the last-minute personnel change and significantly less training than originally planned, finished closer than ever to the top spot that Satori claimed for the 8th time since 2009.

It might have been an even closer race for the UK gold medals and the trip to the FAI World Championship of Formation Skydiving next year in Australia without the difficulties that Team 4mula had to deal with.

UK Nationals 2017
RankAAA Class - OpenK,10,D,M3,Q,4B,21,L,814,C,N,1615,7,1219,G,O,E13,6,25,17,111,F,9A,20,18TotalAvg
1Satori XL2218191917221720241819619.6
2Team 4mula2216191817231519221818918.9
5Heavenly Pests1815151513151315191415215.2
11Tyanno4us Rex131114911151011111211711.7
16Mental Blox79866105559707.0
First UK medals in AAA: Chimera
Satori XL, now with three Sebastian XL members of 2003 in the lineup (Pete Allum, John McIver, Steve Hamilton), and Team 4mula both would have easily made the Top 10 at the FAI World Cup, where Chimera was the strongest British team in 15th place.

Chimera was the most improved AAA Class team at the UK Nationals though and won the their first set of UK medals in this category. The new 17.3 team record average would have been close to a Top 10 spot in Saarlouis.

Chimera also finished four points ahead of NFTO this year on the way to the bronze medals, after the closest AAA Class 10-round battle for any top spots this year.

The competition for gold between Satori XL and Team 4mula included two former Vision 99 members, who won the bronze medals together at the UK Nationals 2016, right behind the same two top teams.

Ady King took the open Satori XL slot when Team 4mula had to withdraw from the FAI World Cup due to eligibility troubles. His former Vision 99 team mate Pete Mather had joined Team 4mula for the entire 2017 season. Will Cooke stepped in when Ady King left and ended up with a significantly higher meet average than he had seen before.

UK Nationals 2017
RankAAA Class - WomenK,10,D,M3,Q,4B,21,L,814,C,N,1615,7,1219,G,O,E13,6,25,17,111,F,9A,20,18TotalAvg
2Heavenly Pests1815151513151315191415215.2
For Great Britain in Australia 2018: NFTO
The UK Nationals 2017 also included the official qualification for Australia 2018 in 4-way Women, even though the UK Nationals don't have a separate leaderboard for this category.

Both top challengers were well prepared, even though the new Heavenly Pests lineup was formed only this year. NFTO, who had won the bronze medals for the British delegation at the FAI Mondial 2016, skipped the participation at the world cup in Saarlouis to be ready for the Heavenly Pests challenge at the national championships.

It even looked like there would be serious trouble when NFTO lost the opening round by three points (15 - 18) and both teams were still tied after Round 3. However, NFTO actually never gave a round away again after the first one and won by 17 points over Heavenly Pests, with former NFTO members Lynne Murray and Maria Russell in the lineup.

The new NFTO lineup will compete for Great Britain in Australia 2018, together with Satori XL. The British national 8-way team for the world meet next year first has to win this weekend at the same location.

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