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Niklas Hemlin and Mikhail Markine of the current Airspeed lineup, which was recruited at the end of the 2019 season, committed to 8-way training and competition after the 2nd place in 4-way behind SDC Rhythm XP at the USPA Nationals 2019. They replaced Rhythm members Steve Lefkowitz and Andrew Happick who decided to focus only on 4-way for the FAI Tanay Mondial 2020.
New Airspeed member Chris Kuhlmann joined XP8 just a months before the world meet when Matt Davidson had to step back due to problems in his recovery process after the earlier hip surgery. Niklas Hemlin, Mikhail Markine and Chris Kuhlmann together then won their first 8-way world championship titles after a historic and most exciting 7-round competition in August last year.
However, the main target for any Arizona Airspeed lineups has been NMP PCH HayaBusa ever since Niklas Hemlin, Thomas Hughes, Mark Kirkby, Josh Hall and Bill Schmitz (Camera) won the 4-way world championship title last time in Dubai 2012.
FAI Tanay Mondial 2020
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XP8 have been looking for three new members ever since, and it took a little while until the 8-way lineup was finally complete. Team captain Kirk Verner informed the NSL News today that Craig Girard has agreed to fill the last open slot.
XP8 were looking in all directions to find the best option for the new 1-year cycle until the next outdoor world championship in Eloy 2022 this October, and there were no big surprises with the first two slots. Andrew Happick was in the XP8 lineup that won the USPA Nationals 2019 and the qualification for the FAI Tanay Mondial 2020.
He continued as the alternate for the 8-way team, even when SDC Rhythm XP decided to train and compete only in 4-way. He stepped in several times at training camps when the complete 2020/2021 lineup was not available.
USPA Nationals 2021
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The next 8-way slot was not a big surprise, as well. Matt Davidson was just waiting for the completion of his recovery process, and the NSL News covered his progress with several updates. He began with the XP8 preparations for the outdoor world meet as a full member and had to step back just a few months before the world meet.
The former multiple Golden Knights 8-way world champion is now restarting his 8-way career with XP8 after the unexpected interruption in 2021.
There was still one open slot, and XP8 decided to take advantage of a wealth of 4-way and 8-way experiences, as one of the most experienced and successful Formation Skydiving competitors in history has agreed to complete the XP8 lineup for the 2022 season. Craig Girard is the new team member, and training with the new lineup will begin later this month. The NSL News will follow up with more information.