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Did You Know...

... that Golden Knights and NMP-PCH Hayabusa will have a 4-way battle in Brazil?

Last Golden Knights winning lineup at the CISM 2006
posted Jul 14th, 2011 - An interesting duel is coming up between NMP-PCH Hayabusa and the Golden Knights Gold team. It takes place this weekend at the CISM, the military world championships. Both teams then continue at the World Cup 2011, Hayabusa in 4-way and Golden Knights in 8-way. There was actually a third team with the same travel agenda, but Ireland's team Fast Air has canceled the participation at the World Cup and attends only the CISM competition.

The miltary event in Rio, Brazil, brings together two of the 4-way and 8-way top contenders at this year's World Cup. The CISM dive pool is very different and much easier, however, both teams will perform the same sequences round by round, and the scores can be compared directly.

Hayabusa and Golden Knights are the two best teams that the CISM championship competitions have ever seen in the history of the event. Hayabusa has shattered all previous highscores and won the event every year since 2007. The Golden Knights were the last team that won the CISM 4-way event in 2006. Then Hayabusa turned pro in the Belgian military and took over.

Scores of the CISM championship in 2007
Golden Knights and Hayabusa after the 2007 battle
It was a tough fight to the last round before the Golden Knights had to accept Hayabusa as the winner in 2007. The Belgian team won by one single point (252 - 251) with a 31.5 average.

Both teams had three members of the current lineups at the CISM championship of 2007. The Golden Knights competed with Brian Krause, Kurt Isenbarger and Matt Davidson. John Hoover replaced 2006 member Eric Heinsheimer and was the 4th Golden Knight at the 2007 battle with the new Belgian soldiers. Hayabusa's original 3-way (Roy Janssen, Andy and David Grauwels) competed with Luc Verstrepen in the Center Inside slot.

The CISM championship in 2007 was not the first time that Golden Knights and Hayabusa members competed directly with each other. Matt Davidson and Brian Krause were with the Golden Knights at the Shamrock Showdown 2005. John Hoover and Brooks Weiner trained and competed in this 2005 lineup. Hayabusa attended the same event with the original lineup, which had Sven Ibens in the Center Inside position. Hayabusa was new and had no chance by then.

Shamrock 2005Round 1Round 2Round 3Round 4Round 5Round 6Round 7Round 8Round 9Round 10TotalAvg
RankAAA Class11-16-J15-17-HF-20-9P-L-5-67-Q-21E-3-K-419-14-G22-2-112-18-A13-B-D-8TotalAvg
1DeLand Fire 21 22 24 23 23 20 20 15 16 2320720.7
2Golden Knights 21 21 23 25 23 20 19 15 16 2120420.4
3Sinapsi PD 19 20 25 22 23 18 18 15 15 2019519.5
4DeLand Majik 18 19 22 23 20 21 18 15 16 2119319.3
5Fastrax 18 19 22 21 19 19 17 14 15 1918318.3
6Spa Hayabusa 18 17 22 20 19 20 17 16 15 1818218.2
GKXP lineup at the World Challenge 2009
Golden Knights and Hayabusa have been staying away from direct competition with each other ever since the CISM 2007. Members of both teams were at the same locations of later events. All four Golden Knights of the 2011 lineup competed in 8-way at the World Meet 2008 in Maubeuge, France. That's where Hayabusa won 4-way bronze medals with Luc Verstrepen.

Two Golden Knights (Brian Krause, Matt Davidson) also competed with GKXP (Kirk Verner, Andy Honigbaum) at the World Challenge 2009. Hayabusa placed 3rd (27.5) and GKXP finished in 6th place (24.7) in Bedford.

All four Golden Knights of 2011 competed at the Shamrock Showdown 2010 where Hayabusa competed with Waedong So in the Point slot and placed 2nd behind France with a 22.3 average. However, the Golden Knights were split up to share their skills and experiences with the new 8-way members. Brian Krause and Sean Sweeney competed with the Gold lineup, while Kurt Isenbarger and Matt Davidson were in the Black lineup.

NMP-PCH Hayabusa at the Shamrock Showdown 2011
The same year, the four Golden Knights Gold members of 2011 and the same four Hayabusa members of 2010 met again at the World Championship of Formation Skydiving 2010. Hayabusa even had future team member of 2011, Dennis Praet, in Menzelinsk as the alternate.

Both teams still did not compete with each other. The Golden Knights won the silver medals for the USA in 8-way, while Arizona Airspeed competed in 4-way. The Hayabusa 2010 lineup ended up in 4th place in Russia last year.

Both teams will now make up for the missed opportunities in the past years and eventually face each other again and with their complete 2011 lineups. Hayabusa has grown into the world's top 4-way contender in the meantime and has to be considered the favorite in Brazil and in Germany. The Golden Knights are still mainly focused on 8-way. However, they are better prepared in 4-way this year and surely one of the strongest underdogs in the history of the sport.

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