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It seems to be difficult to realize that the last 4-way competition in Great Britain was the national championship in August 2019. A total of 40 teams competed at the event and completed all meet rounds. That was the end of 4-way and 8-way competition in the country until last weekend.
Chimera and Pajama Pumas both still added one more meet in 2019 and traveled to Arizona for the FAI Outdoor World Cup 2019 in October. Then they were at the end of their training and competition activities, as well.
Both teams have come back with their new lineups. The NSL News reported the details of Chimera's personnel change on 12 April 2020, and the new lineup has one more opportunity for competition practice at the UKSL July meet before Round 1 of the FAI Tanay Mondial 2020. The UK Nationals 2021 are scheduled after the world meet at the end of August. British Skydiving Judges Coordinator Lucy Westgarth kindly provided more details of last weekend's 4-way season opener.
FAI Outdoor World Cup 2019
|2||SDC Rhythm XP||US||19||-1||22||25||21||-2||20||-1||20||23||25||29||-1||24||-2||228||22.8|
|5||Aerodyne Cypres Lille-Bondues||FR||15||-1||16||19||21||16||-1||17||18||22||25||21||190||19.0|
In AAA, Chimera and the Pumas opted to use the meet to dust off the cobwebs and use an opportunity for some competition experience with new team members ahead of the British Nationals in August. As previously covered by the NSL News, Chimera's lineup now includes Will Cook (previously of ACM) in the tail slot and Pete Harries on camera.
Similarly, the Pumas have a new inside centre in the form of Derek Cornelius (previously of team Vantage). Neither team have competed with these lineups, plus they had to contend with a lack of currency following the pandemic. Despite these challenges, the Pumas had one of their cleanest meets, and Chimera were still able to throw a wide range of solid exits out of the Sibson Grand Caravan, finishing with a 12.2 and 16.0 average respectively. These are lower averages than what we've seen in the past, but they have nevertheless set a solid baseline for the rest of the season.
United Kingdom Skydiving League June 2021
|1||Sons of Zeus||5||-3||4||7||-2||5||1||-3||7||-1||29||4.8|
Similarly, the British Army Formation Skydiving Team "Sons of Zeus" were the sole representatives in the A category. Their team colours (navy and yellow) led to some visibility issues for the judges due to the spring crops of the English landscape below, but we hope to see them at meets later in the season.
The Rookie category is where the competition started heating up with three teams entered. Ordinarily in Rookie, we expect to see some spectacular funnels, severe issues staying on level and the occasional team/videographer collision, but the teams were refreshingly "safe" at this meet. I enjoy a comical funnel as much as the next person, but it was equally fun to watch new teams making steady progress throughout the rounds.
All three teams (camera included) took the opportunity to learn from more experienced flyers and sought advice when needed. Antigravity won gold with a 3.2 average, Team Tilstock took silver with a 2.2 average, with Learning Curve (perhaps the most improved team of the meet) picking up bronze with a 1.3 average.