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Did You Know...

... that the big 4-way Open Class showdown in Round 10 had to be postponed?

Showdown: Gary Smith - Solly Williams
posted Oct 11th, 2018 - It would be difficult to dream up a drama as it unfolds in 4-way Open at the FAI World Meet 2018.

There was no doubt that Arizona Airspeed and Aerodyne Realfly would try to challenge the Belgian 4-way world champions of 2014 and 2016 for the next set of FAI gold medals and put as much pressure on NMP PCH HayaBusa as possible.

However, Airspeed's Niklas Hemlin had mentioned in earlier NSL Talk interviews that he and his team would be happy to stay close to the top and win a round here and there, maybe even get into serious contention for the top spot. All scoring numbers of 2018 were speaking for the Belgians as the top favorite, and the situation after Round 1 provided all the evidence.

Three days and nine rounds later, the French 4-way Open Class team has fallen out of the battle for the gold medals, while Airspeed and HayaBusa are on the way to create the same drama that both teams with different lineups went through at the FAI Mondial 2012 in Dubai. Airspeed won in the very last second with the 27.9 record average that is still the highest outdoor number in history. Once again, both teams are tied in 1st place, and Round 10 will be the tie-breaker, unless an extra round will be needed. There is also a good chance that both teams will eventually leave the 28-average benchmark behind.

FAI World Meet 2018
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 Total Avg
Rank 4-way Open 21,L,B,G 22,18,17 19,7,O J,16,12 10,A,D,15 Q,M,F,C,N H,20,P,13 6,14,11 E,2,5 4,1,3 K,9,8 Total Avg
1 NMP-PCH Hayabusa  BE  32    21    27 -2 24    22 -3 62 -2 22 -2 20 -1 27 -1 -    -    257 28.6
1 Arizona Airspeed  US  26 -5 21    27 -1 24    24 -1 60 -1 26    22    27    -    -    257 28.6
3 Aerodyne Realfly  FR  29 -1 19    24 -2 23    24    52 -3 20 -3 17 -3 24    -    -    232 25.8
Start to the 1-point drama in Dubai 2012: Niklas Hemlin
The weather situation even added to the 4-way Open drama. Meet Director Bryan Burke was planning to complete the whole world meet on Thursday, and it looked for a while like it might be possible. The VFS teams completed their ten rounds, and the other events were not too far behind.

Then a new weather system moved into the area, which was expected even earlier, and all teams were eventually sent back to their hotels. The world meet was over for the seven 4-way Open Class teams who had completed their Round 10 earlier, and the big showdown for the gold medals had to wait until Friday, or even Saturday.

Both teams have at least one night with only Round 10 in their minds. Coaches, fans and online audience have the same night to speculate about the outcome of the showdown. Coaches Gary Smith (NMP PCH HayaBusa) and Solly Williams (Arizona Airspeed) did their best to help preparing their teams for the grande finale and had some fun with that, too.

The NSL News discussed the situation before Round 10 with Gary Smith and Doug Barron, and the audience has the opportunity to vote for the potential winner.

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