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Did You Know...

... that Hayabusa challenged the defending champion in Belgium in 2004?

Spa HayaBusa in 2003
posted Jun 12th, 2018 - Last weekend's international 4-way competition in Europe, with meets in the United Kingdom and Germany, brought back the topic of the European Skydiving League and ESL Championship, which is scheduled for the September 22 weekend in Saarlouis this year.

The scores from the Paranodon Cup in Germany last weekend have been posted for a few days, and the British scores will be added as soon as possible, while the NSL News picks up another topic that connects the European 4-way history with the presence. In fact, the beginnings of the European Skydiving League was also the start of NMP PCH HayaBusa's road to become 4-way world champions.

Belgium had joined the European Skydiving League with the Belgian Skydiving Trophy a year before the United Kingom Skydiving League was launched, and HayaBusa won the first ESL Championship in 2003, followed by four consecutive ESL titles.

The NSL News found an article in the archives that has not been published yet on SKYLEAGUE.COM and explains HayaBusa's situation at the beginning of the 2004 season. The reigning Belgian 4-way world champions had not competed at a World Championship of Formation Skydiving for Belgium when the article was written.

ESL Championship 2003

DID YOU KNOW that Hayabusa challenges the defending champion in Belgium this year?

Today is a good opportunity to finish the Belgian story before the scores of the season opener in Eloy will arrive at the NSL headquarters and keep the NSL News busy. The story of the tough Belgium 4-way competition to be expected this year still misses the introduction of the challenger. The NSL News of February 9th covered the history of the Belgium 4-way competition and the situation of the defending champion, NMPV, the Belgium Army team. Team Hayabusa is getting ready to stop or at least interrupt the dominance of the current Belgian national team. The chances are better than ever before.

Hayabusa was formed in October 2002 and consists of Andy Grauwels (point, age: 19), David Grauwels (outside center, age: 23), Roy Janssen (tail, age: 25), Sven Ibens (center inside, age: 33) and Bruno Vandeneede (camera, age: 30). Ibens has been actively involved in forming the Belgium Skydiving Trophy (BST) and the European Skydiving League together with Willy Boykens. His team participated in the BST 2003 season and won the first European Skydiving League championship in September 2003. This event was synchronized with the NSL Playoffs 2003. Hayabusa took the second place behind DeLand Majik with a 15.1 average in the 10-round meet.

The result at the ESL Championship 2003 was not the highest score for the young Belgian team. Hayabusa had already posted a 15.8 average at the Belgium national championship after approx. 150 training jumps in 2002 and 2003 and a few wind tunnel hours in Paris, France. Training headquarters for the team was Maubeuge, home town of the French national 4-way team and current world champion. However, Hayabusa did not take much advantage of the French expertise and went mostly their own ways. 2003 was supposed to be just a trial year for the new team.

Belgian 2003 champions: NMPV
The first season was at least as successful as expected. It was not difficult for the team to commit for another year. Hayabusa's talent and potential seems to promise significantly higher scores for the new and second team season. The chances to win the national championship and qualify for the 2004 world meet are also very real this year and made it easier for the team members to continue with the efforts. The defending champion, NMPV, had personnel changes and currently rebuilds the team, while Hayabusa has exactly the same 2003 line-up for the 2004 season.

The commitment and plans for the new year were made early enough in 2003 to allow at least some training efforts during the quiet European winter. Hayabusa has already spent five hours in the wind tunnel in Paris, France, since the end of the 2003 season. One tunnel hour per month has kept the team in shape during the time when team training is not possible in Belgium. The February camp at Skydive DeLand, side by side with their Belgian 2004 rival, was Hayabusa's first training camp after the ESL Championship 2003. It added 25 team jumps and additional five SkyVenture Orlando tunnel hours in the team's log book.

Hayabusa is planning to complete 200 training jumps and has scheduled additional tunnel time in Paris, France, before the qualification event in June 2004. The training efforts depend directly on the financial situation of the team members. Hayabusa is a weekend team, and the individuals are fully responsible for the team's budget. The Belgium skydiving association will cover the costs of the national team for the trip to Croatia this year. However, both teams have to win the qualification event first before this resource can be used.

FAI World Meet 2004
12345678910TotalAvg
Rank4-way OpenB,P,C,189,15,16K,11,19E,F,7,5A,J,21,126,4,1017,Q,L,1H,14,313,22,ON,M,D,2TotalAvg
1DeLand Majik US 2923173018192721192422722.7
2Maubeuge FR 2822183017192320182421921.9
3Sky Panthers RU 2421192522152819162221121.1
4Sinapsi PD IT 2221202821182319162221021.0
5EADS DE 2018172417161917161918318.3
6HayaBusa BE 2117172111162017172117817.8
7Endeavour CH 161714191613191414-14215.8
7Arcteryx NO 191415211513171513-14215.8
9Danez DK 171613211115191514-14115.7
10Spain ES 191615211511161214-13915.4
11Voodoo UK 1514141915131412--11614.5
12VNE UK 1515131815111413--11414.3
13Australia AU 1115131815131413--11214.0
14Stratosfear CA 1514121713121612--11113.9
15R-Fource NL 1614131711101412--10713.4
15Matrix AT 1314131813131112--10713.4
17New Zealand NZ 1514121413111512--10613.3
18Croatia HR 161112161311910--9812.3
19Slovenia SI 14111012109910--8510.6
20Kazakhstan KZ 55064654--354.4
21Iceland IS 21131241--151.9
Spa HayaBusa at the FAI World Meet 2004
The situation in Belgium is very interesting. NMPV has to rebuild the team and can count on the resources and the support provided by the Belgian Army. Hayabusa has limited resources and the same line-up with a lot of talent. Two of the current NMPV members already posted an 18.2 average at last year's world meet. The two new NMPV members are coming from a 13.2 average level. The calculator says that NMPV would begin around a 15.7 average level. This is almost exactly the scoring level where Hayabusa finished the 2003 season. The numbers seem to promise a very exciting race for the qualification as the Belgian national team 2004.

The Hayabusa team members are fully aware of this situation. They are still realistic enough to see that the future will probably belong to the Army team with the better resources.

However, 2004 might become a great journey for the team that they plan to enjoy as much as possible. The stops on this journey alone are exciting enough. Hayabusa will once again fully participate in the Belgian and European Skydiving League events. The qualification meet in June is one of the BSL/ESL competitions of the 2004 season. The NSL News will surely get back to the Belgian story at that time. Hayabusa has the French Cup and the Belgium national championship in July on the team schedule, as well.

Looking at the team's busy meet schedule, Hayabusa obviously knows and values a lot of competition experience. If training and meet practice work out well, then the season will not be over for Hayabusa before the end of September. The trip to the world meet in Croatia could finish the 2004 Hayabusa season with a very happy ending. Another interesting aspect of the Belgian race between NMPV and Hayabusa to the Mediterranean coast is the fact that both teams are using DeLand Majik coaches. Joey Jones is working his second season with the Army team, while Hayabusa hired Doug Park for the DeLand camp. One of the teams will definitely meet their coach in Croatia and compete against him. Who will it be?

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