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The NSL News got a hold of Arizona Airspeed's Mark Kirkby after Round 8 was completed in Dubai. He was on his way to torture himself once again with a long distance run. It was not a 100-mile challenge this time, as the NSL News reported his last one on 7 November 2009 (Archives > 2009 > News > Seach for "100-mile"). He was only preparing for a 50-mile distance last weekend. And by the way: Marathon is a 26 mile-run...
The NSL News talked to Mark Kirkby while he was boarding the plane, and the flight assistant was interfering quite a few times with irrelevant announcements. Who cares about listening to safety procedures if you have an Airspeed member aboard?
"It is quite amazing how far the teams with their new lineups are only a few months after the World Championship of Formation Skydiving 2010."
He had seen only the Airspeed competition jumps by then and not much of the other two top contenders, Aerodyne Aerokart and NMP-PCH Hayabusa. It was easy for Mark Kirkby to see that the former Airspeed lineup with John Eagle in his Tail slot did not have enough training to keep up all the way. However, it was almost a surprise that Airspeed was actually so close to the top spot.
He does not expect any of the top teams to pull away from the field significantly at any time in the near future. It will most likely always be a battle at each meet.
Training methods, techniques, talent and efforts are so similar that the times where a team could break away with a new recipe seem to be gone. Meet psychology, experiences and form on a given day have become more important than ever.
The next outdoor competition, the Shamrock Showdown 2011, will bring together the three top contenders of the next two years with their current lineups. It will be even more exciting than in Dubai.
The competition will be even tougher for the visitors at the Shamrock Showdown since the other US top contenders will also be competing in DeLand. Perris Fury, Paraclete XP4 and Golden Knights will put additional pressure on France and Belgium and challenge the new Airspeed lineup for the first time.
All the US top teams will have completed their first 2011 competition before the Shamrock Showdown comes up in March. The Paraclete XP Indoor Skydiving Championships 2011 will be the first real test for the best US 4-way teams. Belgium and France will know after the Paraclete indoor meet what to expect from the new Airspeed lineup under pressure. Training scores and videos from Arizona will probably be available earlier.