posted Feb 19th, 2006 -
Airspeed Odyssey dirtdive
The 4-way competition at the 2006 season opener in Eloy began with a warm-up jump for all teams. The sequence of round one (A-M-9-L) was a real tunnel sequence and offered the opportunity to create a cushion for a high meet average. The following four rounds slowed down the pace before round six helped the average to go up again.
The three top teams, Airspeed Odyssey, Airspeed Velocity and Team Fastrax, finished the meet at about the scoring level where they expected themselves after these six rounds. The Airspeed line-ups had not trained much 4-way due to the 8-way commitment this year.
Airspeed Velocity dirtdive
Airspeed Odyssey competed with the same line-up as in 2005 and could take advantage of last year's training and team experiences. Odyssey's point, Eliana Rodriguez, mentioned that it still felt a little bit rough. However, the meet scores were not much different or lower compared to the 2005 season.
Airspeed Velocity competed with a new line-up after replacing Neal Houston and Dennis Rook with Thomas Hughes and Eric Gin. The team performance after four training jumps was quite impressive. Velocity needed the first three rounds to warm up some more with each other, then it looked as if the team was well trained.
Mark Kirkby and Doug Park
In fact, Velocity won the whole second half of the competition after falling five points behind Odyssey through rounds one to three. The highest score in round four was the beginning of a great finish for Velocity. Both Airspeed line-ups tied their scores in rounds five and six, and Velocity finished closer to Odyssey than ever before. It will be interesting to see if Velocity can seriously challenge Odyssey for the top spot in the 4-way event this year.
Team Fastrax was in a similar situation as Airspeed Velocity. Fastrax 2005 members Billy Andrews and Eric Gin were replaced by Mark Kirkby and Doug Park for the 2006 season. Interesting aspect of the Velocity and Fastrax line-ups is the fact that Eric Gin competed against his former Fastrax team mates in Eloy, while Mark Kirkby took on several members of his own former Airspeed line-ups.
Team Fastrax dirtdive
Fastrax competes only in the 4-way event and had more training jumps under the belt as the Airspeed line-ups. However, it still takes time and jumps to get used to the new slots and new pieces. The 32-pointer in round one was already the second highest score in the Fastrax history. Only the 35-pointer for a pure random sequence (N-C-Q-E-D) at the MESL June meet last year was higher than the Fastrax score of round one at the SSL Valentine's Meet.
Fastrax also managed to tie the Airspeed scores in round six for a confident finish of the meet. Veterans Mark Kirkby and Doug Park will surely be able to use the experiences of this first meet for the new line-up and build up the team for the next challenge. Fastrax has the FSL Shamrock Showdown 2006 in March on the team agenda.
The impressive performances of the 4-way teams in Eloy does not end with these three top scorers. Perris Fury and Thunder showed up with confidence and posted great scores, as well. Both teams have promising plans for the 2006 season. The NSL News will introduce both teams and the rest of the field later. Stay tuned.