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Did You Know...

... that Airspeed Odyssey and France Maubeuge each won half of the meet?

Airspeed Odyssey at the FSL Shamrock Showdown 2008
posted Mar 19th, 2008 - Round 3 of the FSL Shamrock Showdown 2008 was the last round before the Skins Game would begin. The popular Skins Game for cash and prizes applies a handicap system, so each participating team has a chance to win.

The average after the first three rounds is the foundation for the calculation of each team's handicap. Event sponsors donate prize money for each following round. However, a large portion of the whole jackpot also goes to the winning teams of each competition class before handicap.

The FSL Shamrock Showdown 2008 had a new record jackpot of $4,500 total. The winning team of the AAA Class, Airspeed Odyssey, received $1,100 cash. Start Skydiving, the Fastrax home dropzone in Ohio, contributed $700. Dr. Joel Shugar's Natur Coast EyeCare Institute added $400 cash for the winner of the AAA Class.

Guillaume Bernier, Alexandre Pereira and Jeremie Rollet enjoy the night life in DeLand
France Maubeuge won $850 cash for the second place in the AAA Class. United Parachute Technologies (UPT), gear manufacturer of the Micron, contributed $400 cash, and the NSL added $450 of the registration fees for the AAA Class team in second place. The French competitors promised to spend at least some of the money the same night in DeLand, and they followed up on the promise...

The Golden Knights finished in third place and won $600 cash. Sun Path Products, gear manufacturer of the Javelin Odyssey, sponsored the third place of the AAA Class with $400, and the NSL added $200 more of the registration fees. The US Army team forwarded the whole amount of $600 instantly to the Warriors Foundation.

All prizes were awarded according to the standings after eight rounds. Several teams continued and completed nine or ten rounds until the eight official rounds were judged and the scores posted.

Airspeed Odyssey's Round 3 at the FSL Shamrock Showdown 2008 - see video
Golden Knights at the award ceremony
Airspeed Odyssey and France Maubeuge both completed all ten rounds from the Pilatus Porter. The US team won by five points and has now been undefeated since February 2007 when Odyssey beat the same French team at the Valentine's Meet 2007.

However, the same five points that eventually separated the first from the second place last weekend left both teams much closer to each other compared to February 2007. Odyssey won by ten points over France Maubeuge (222 - 212) last year. The French team split its training in half between 4-way and 8-way throughout the 2007 season, while Airspeed Odyssey trained and competed only in 4-way.

France Maubeuge obviously still managed to cut the distance to five points at the Shamrock Showdown. A closer look at the details of the scoreboard adds other aspects to the situation on the very top of the world's 4-way competition.

France Maubeuge's Round 3 at the FSL Shamrock Showdown 2008 - see video
Airspeed Odyssey and France Maubeuge at the Valentine's Meet 2007
Both teams received almost exactly the same number of penalties. Odyssey lost four points, three points were deducted from France Maubeuge's scoring account. More importantly, and possibly alarming for the Arizona team, is the fact that the French team was on top of the competition after the first three rounds.

Odyssey created a comfortable lead of six points in the first three rounds of the meet (75 - 69). In fact, the lead actually grew to even nine points after Round 5 (130 - 121). It seemed as if the US team controlled the field without any problem.

This picture changed in the second half of the meet. France Maubeuge countered when the fastest sequence of the competition came up and posted an unofficial world record of 45 points in Round 6. This score obviously added confidence, and the French team gave up only one single point from then on until the meet was over. France Maubeuge won the second half of the competition by four points (126 - 122).

Golden Knights' Round 3 at the FSL Shamrock Showdown 2008 - see video
Airspeed Odyssey and France Maubeuge are boarding the Pilatus Porter at the FSL Shamrock Showdown 2008
The first meet videos show already that Airspeed Odyssey looked much sharper and more confident from the right-hand door of the Pilatus Porter, compared to the Valentine's Meet 2008 in February. Most likely, the team's exclusive focus on the 4-way event will result in even better exits and sub-terminal pages.

However, the French performance at the FSL Shamrock Showdown 2008 puts pressure on the US national team and will make it work even harder in the upcoming months.

France Maubeuge will continue to split the efforts between 4-way and 8-way. The French 8-way team has to defend the gold medals against the US team Knight Trax, which will require a better progression than in the last two years.

Hayabusa Defence and France Maubeuge after their jump-off battle at the World Cup 2007
The four 4-way competitors of the French 8-way lineup will have only limited time and resources to train in 4-way. It will be very interesting to see whether the French 4-way team will be able to train efficiently enough and get even closer, or whether Airspeed Odyssey will use the training advantage and create more distance.

The situation between the FAI World Cup champion of 2007, Hayabusa Defence, and Airspeed Odyssey will be next on the 4-way world's agenda. Both teams will compete at the World Challenge 2008 in the ten days. The NSL News will cover the event live from the competition site at Bodyflight Bedford.

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