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Did You Know...

... that ISR FireFlash has extended the break from outdoor training and competition?

Last ISR Thunder meet at the ISR Grand Prix 2016: Wesley Claessens - Jacco van Eerden - Sven Ibens - Paul Hofstee
posted Aug 11th, 2019 - It has not happened very often in the history of the Tomscat Trophy that Sven Ibens and Wesley Claessens would not compete at the event. Their former team Thunder ISR, the Belgian/Dutch combination (Paul Hofstee/Jacco van Eerden), won the Tomscat Trophy consecutively between 2011 and 2015.

The Tomscat Trophy 2015 was the last time at this event for one of the best amateur teams in the history of the sport. Thunder ISR trained and competed for one more year and concluded the team career at the ISR Grand Prix 2016 in November the same year before Sven Ibens and Wesley Claessens joined forces with two Belgian competitors (Maya Van Campenhout/Glenn Straeluyc) and formed ISR FireFlash in 2017.

Thunder ISR did not miss a Tomscat Trophy between 2011 and 2015, while ISR FireFlash have not visited the Netherlands yet to attend the popular regional 4-way competition. However, the new team with four Belgian competitors developed their competitive skills quickly. The intensive 2017 season, with seven indoor and outdoor meets, indicated that ISR FireFlash would probably follow a similar pattern as Thunder ISR.

ISR FireFlash started from a 21.6 average at the French Indoor Nationals 2017 in April and won the ISR Grand Prix 2017 with a 27.3 average in November. ISR FireFlash also attended three outdoor meets in 2017 on an 18-average level and then joined forces with NMP PCH HayaBusa for three impressive 8-way performances, the last one at the USPA Nationals 2017.

World Challenge 2019 - Top 10
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 Total Avg
Rank AAA Class P,H,Q,5 19,16,E L,3,2 B,A,22,D J,14,8 11,M,G,1 15,21,18 7,O,4 C,N,K,13 20,6,F Total Avg
1 NMP-PCH Hayabusa BE 52 32 28 39 29 32 28 34 42 31 347 34.7
2 Arizona Airspeed US 48 30 27 37 27 31 25 33 36 28 322 32.2
3 IFS-Moscow RU 44 29 26 33 27 29 23 33 34 31 309 30.9
4 Qatar Tigers QA 44 29 26 35 24 29 24 31 32 31 305 30.5
5 SDC Rhythm XP US 46 28 24 32 25 29 24 31 35 27 301 30.1
6 Airheads CH 44 28 22 36 24 27 19 29 33 26 288 28.8
7 Weembi Unicorns FR 43 28 23 32 23 28 19 28 33 26 283 28.3
8 ISR FireFlash BE 40 26 24 33 24 25 19 25 28 26 270 27.0
9 NFTO UK 35 25 24 29 24 25 20 27 30 24 263 26.3
10 Odin Parachute Systems FR 35 28 21 29 22 25 20 25 29 25 259 25.9
10 Chimera UK 36 24 21 27 23 27 21 25 29 26 259 25.9

First ISR FireFlash meet at the French Indoor Nationals 2017: Wesley Claessens - Sven Ibens - Glenn Straeluyc - Maya Van Campenhout
Bad luck followed the promising ISR FireFlash start when Glenn Straeluyc became the victim of a work accident shortly after the Belgian national championships in September 2018. The L1 vertebra of his back broke when he fell through a roof, and he had to undergo surgery twice. His team mates were confident that he would recover quickly and be back in action soon.

Former Thunder ISR team mate Jacco van Eerden helped out two times, first at the ISR Grand Prix 2018, and again at the Belgian Indoor Nationals a month later. Glenn Straeluyc then had his indoor comeback at the World Challenge 2019, just as his team had hoped for.

Unfortunately, Glenn Straeluyc's recovery had a setback after the promising 27.0 performance in Bedford, and all FireFlash members agreed not to take any risks. They decided to skip the outdoor season this year and wait until Glenn Straeluyc will be back in full strength for outdoor training and competition.

The Belgian participation at the Tomscat Trophy 2019 turned out to be the largest in history, while it had to take place once again without Sven Ibens and Wesley Claessens and the complete ISR FireFlash lineup.

Belgian Indoor Nationals 2018 with substitute Jacco van Eerden - World Challenge 2019 comeback with Glenn Straeluyc
ISR FireFlash at the World Challenge 2019
Glenn Straeluyc's back injury requires another surgery at the end of the year, and the team has canceled all outdoor training. However, indoor training is possible, and ISR FireFlash have been staying current with wind tunnel training throughout the summer.

The next surgery is still coming up, and the team does not know yet if they will be able to attend indoor meets later this year or not. ISR FireFlash is ready to handle the uncertainty, as their team mate's full recovery has highest priority. Training and competing with an alternate was a part of the discussion, as FireFlash did with former Thunder member Jacco van Eerden last year. However, the team decided to wait for Glenn Straeluyc. They feel that the team is just not the same when one of the members is missing.

Maya Maya Van Campenhout, Wesley Claessens, Sven Ibens and team videographer Grim Swinnen were still planning for some outdoor training with HayaBusa member Dennis Praet this summer, while they will spend most of the time with coaching and organizing at some events. Sven Ibens said that they would like to use the time to give back to the community that supports the team.

The Belgian Formation Skydiving community keeps growing in the wake of NMP PCH HayaBusa, and of ISR FireFlash, as well, as Sven Ibens explained: "The atmosphere between the different teams (at the World Challenge) was exemplary for the current feeling in Belgium. There are quite a few upcoming young teams in Belgium, and all of the members of the different teams are good friends and know each other very well. They enjoy the friendly rivalry between them, but at the same time enjoy spending time together and lifting each other to new highs. This also shows at the Tomscat Trophy, where, before Thunder and FireFlash, no Belgian teams ever attended."

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