The first training camp of a whole week took place in Paraclete's 16-foot flying chamber earlier this month, and all team members showed up: Brian Krause, Kirk Verner, John D'Annunzio, Solly Williams, Shannon Pilcher, Josh Hall, Thiago Gomes. The names of the lineup members speak for themselves.
It takes a lot of confidence to set a goal as highly as this 8way team does it. The main opponent is no less than the reigning 8way world champions of the Mondial Dubai 2012, the Golden Knights. However, the Paraclete lineup cannot have any lower goals for good reasons.
The three 4way world champions Solly Williams (2004), Shannon Pilcher (2006) and Josh Hall (2012) don't have the same 8way experiences but bring everything else and additional knowledge and expertise to the Paraclete XP8 table. John D'Annunzio and Thiago Gomes have the talent and skills to just float along and benefit from the wealth of 8way and 4way competition experiences of the others. USPA 1998
Rank 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 Total 1 Arizona Airspeed 21 24 23 24 21 20 16 22 18 18 207 2 Golden Knights 24 23 23 19 13 20 15 24 17 20 198 3 Dr. Evil's 8-way 11 11 9 10 10 10 7 12 8 10 98 4 DeLand Genesis
The Golden Knights were always on top of the 8way competition when there was no serious civilian challenger, with a few exceptions. BJ Worth and Jerry Bird beat the US Army 8way team with their Mirror Image lineups whenever they wanted. This only changed when Mirror Image retired.
The Golden Knights then kept winning until the 8way team Vision/Coors was formed on the west coast and took over the 8way dominance in the early and mid 80s. The US Army's 8way team only came back to the top when the Coors 8way team retired. Then the Golden Knights were almost without any 8way competition in the USA for a whole decade and won the national and world titles year after year, including six consecutive world meet gold medals between 1987 and 1997.
USPA 2010 Rd. 1 Rd. 2 Rd. 3 Rd. 4 Rd. 5 Rd. 6 Rd. 7 Rd. 8 Rd. 9 Rd. 10 Total Avg Rank 8way Open P,1,J,A K,13,4 9,O,2 D,20,17 15,B,L,3 E,10,Q,M N,22,7 16,H,12 19,21,6 G,14,5 Total Avg 1 Golden Knights (US) 24 19 15 19 30 18 18 23 17 16 199 19.9 2 Arizona Airspeed (US) 21 19 15 16 27 22 18 21 17 15 191 19.1 3 Paraclete XP8 (US) 16 16 12 17 25 16 18 18 12 13 163 16.3
Arizona Airspeed eventually won the USPA Nationals in 1998 and replaced the Golden Knights as the US national team at the World Meet in Australia 1999. Paraclete XP8 member Kirk Verner was in this Airspeed lineup. The Golden Knights fought back for a few years and then left the 8way field for Airspeed who competed for the USA until 2006 and won all national 8way titles between 1998 and 2009, with one exception in 1999.
Airspeed gave up the focus on 8way in 2006 and kept winning the USPA Nationals without any training until the Golden Knights launched the new 8way project in 2009 and won the national title for the first time in 2010.
The new lineup has probably the best talent and experience that is available and can be put together in the USA at the moment. The main question is how long it will take Paraclete XP8 to get to the scoring level that will threaten the Golden Knights, which has to be identical with the highest scoring average in 8way history.
Arizona Airspeed's 8way project needed one year to become competitive and another year to challenge the Golden Knights seriously. Paraclete XP8 will try to fast forward the same development of the late 90s and challenge the Golden Knights already this year. It will be a very interesting 8way year in the USA...