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Did You Know...

... that the new Hayabusa line-up has begun with the training?

ESL Championship 2006 awards
posted Mar 5th, 2007 - It has been a while since the NSL News reported news from Belgium. The story on 11 September 2006 (Archives > 2006 > News) covered the Belgium national 4-way team, Spa Hayabusa, and included the fact that the ESL Championship 2006 was the last competition with Sven Ibens in the line-up.

The NSL News remembered on 29 December 2006, that an update from the Belgium team was due. It took over two months until the new Hayabusa 2007 was ready to inform the NSL News about the plans for this year. Big changes have happened in Belgium in the meantime, and Spa Hayabusa has turned into Hayabusa Defence.

Spa Hayabusa at the World Meet 2006 in Germany
Original and continuing team member Roy Janssen provided the NSL News with an overview of the team situation in 2007. Sven Ibens, former Inside Center for Hayabusa, and videographer Bruno van de Eede have left the team. David Grauwels (Center Outside), Andy Grauwels (Point) and Roy Janssen (Tail) first felt a big gap of experience and friendship.

Then the Belgium team began to look for replacements, as Roy Janssen explained: "We have been in full swing for several months to find qualified new team members."

Luc Verstrepen and Danny Jacobs
The remaining three team members knew already by then that they were looking for a way to turn into a professional full-time team. Spa Hayabusa had reached the limits of an amateur team that trains mostly on weekends. However, the Hayabusa line-up of the past years had shown several times that the team had the potential to keep up with the top teams in the world.

Hayabusa still had plenty of motivation and energy to continue the drive to higher levels. However, the next step with new goals required a move that would guarantee more training.

NMPV line-up in 2003
The solution for David Grauwels, Andy Grauwels and Roy Janssen was to join the military services in Belgium. They have now become official members of the Belgium Military Skydiving Team. Luc Verstrepen is taking Sven Ibens' Center Inside position, and Danny Jacobs is the new team videographer.

The new Hayabusa member in the driver's seat, Luc Verstrepen, is a very experienced competitor and has already been in the Belgium military services for many years. He has competed at several international military and FAI competitions, together with the new Hayabusa videographer, Danny Jacobs.

Hayabusa Defence in action
image by: Danny Jacobs
Both new members were competing with the Belgium national 4-way team of 2003, NMPV, and finished in 7th place at the World Meet in France 2003 with an 18.2 average. Then Spa Hayabusa took over the prime 4-way spot in Belgium and defeated NMPV in the battle for the slot as the national team.

Finally, both team worked together at their last competition with the previous line-ups. Hayabusa (20.5) and NMPV (17.4) took the first two places at the ESL Championship 2006 and contributed greatly to Belgium's victory in the nations' overall standings. The NSL News reported on 9 September 2006.

Boot camp for three Hayabusa members
The new Hayabusa soldiers of the Belgium military had to go through the usual routine, including boot camps and other military drills before they could finally get to their first training camp with the new line-up in February 2007 in Spain. Roy Janssen was happy with the first experiences:

"The experiences of our new team members have a big value to othe team. We did our first training camp in February in Empuria, and things started to go better and better towards the end. None of us did any serious 4-way ever since the ESL Championship in September, so we all felt a bit rusty in the beginning."

Hayabusa Defence prepares for a jump
image by: Danny Jacobs
He added that it was still too early to guess where the team could be later this year: "It is too early in the season to make a good prediction where we will be standing at the end of this season. But, as always, we have high ambitions and are super motivated!"

Hayabusa Defence will attend its first competition with the new line-up at the World Challenge in Bedford, UK. The NSL News will cover this event live on site and provide addtional information very soon. The results in Bedford will determine the starting point for Hayabusa Defence.

The 2007 season for the new military line-up will end with a military meet. Hayabusa Defence will compete at the military world meet (CISM), which will be held in India in October. Team goal is to win a medal in the Formation Skydiving event.

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