ASHDOWN GALA - 30 July 06

From Gary Oulds


The third outing on the Forest this year was the Ashdown Gala.

A low-key free flight competition organised and resurrected for the local flyers by Neil Allen over recent years, which has successfully helped fill that long summer gap in the contest diary between area events.

There was a good selection of events and individual prizes up for grabs for the top places in each of the classes flown, for those that wanted to fly. Or you could just sit back and watch it all unfold. No RAFA points and no pressure for any national places, just emphasis on having a fun day out.

Overall Gala Champion, John Richardson, with his F1HOverall Gala Champion, John Richardson, with his F1H

Firstly, we were all based at the Friends Clump car park throughout, it was another fairly hot one, as the day developed, so did the increasingly windy conditions which swung models south/south-westerly across the forest. The somewhat turbulent conditions, caught out many flyers, but others fared well, getting away without too much damage from rough landings. John Oulds wasn’t one of the lucky ones today, his gliders appeared either to be slightly off-trim or they just hit terrible turbulence that they couldn’t handle. Either way both models were shot down in consecutive flights out over the forest, and the resulting pod and wing damage put him out of Open Glider. Terry Knight, normally pretty sharp with glider, especially A1, but it caught him out today when he admitted after he got sort of twixt between when towing up, he seemed to think the model was fitted with the old 80s style impulse hook requiring the Robin Hood twang release approach. The circle hook naturally wouldn’t budge open at first, Terry returned to the 21st century just a shade late to save the model releasing into what was terrible sink …down in under a minute and that was that, his hopes for the day somewhat dashed in one flight.

Faring better and making a welcomed comeback on the glider scene today after a two year absence Maidstone‘s Dennis Bird dusted the cobwebs off his old faithful Pink Elephant A2…showed it wasn’t far off when last packed away, great tow, just needing maybe a bit of a tweaking to get the glide really spot on again, good to see him back …

Hand Launch Glider and Catapult combined is always a fun event to try and attempt at Ashdown, there’s a little bit of luck in getting a good flight nicely away over the cliff edge…Of course one also has to employ a good spotter, “I think it’s in the gorse somewhere Terry!" In the end the total scores between Ken Taylor, Neil and myself were very close…. but way off the winning mark set by Mike Cook, he needed only to complete 5 flights to win by a very clear margin, this included the only max mid afternoon.

The Combined event fielded the most support on the day, unsurprisingly, as no less than 6 classes were pitted against each other. Tony Clark, never one to shy away from  windy conditions, seemed completely relaxed in this element, maxing out fairly easily with some great A1 flights. Neil Allen challenging late needed a max with his final Coupe flight to force a fly-off…didn’t make it, leaving Tony the clear winner.

Easiest event to report on would be Open Power/SLOP/Open Electric with zero entries. As the day panned out it probably wasn’t really a good day for firing up power models. Although the ever-enthusiastic Peter Lang put in a great effort to keep going flying Electric early on in Combined, before finally having to call it a day. 

Four contested Open Vintage, Peter Cameron and Jervis Sheppard dropped early, which put them out of the running and left Robin Willes and Peter Norman contesting top spot. Peter’s Senator winning out fairly comfortably in the end.

Open Glider was the only class that still had to be decided. The shoot out was between Alex Cameron’s A1 vs. John Richardson’s A2. Both flyers and models had flown exceptionally well during the day, and if they got away clean the fly off was going to be quite difficult to call. Alex launched away first and the model settled into what looked to be a very nice patch of air edging the woods. John must have followed fairly soon after and both models were now airborne…and it was now just a matter of time down on the watches.

In the end John’s was clocked off first at 3.33 when it disappeared as it glided behind the back of some trees and Alex’s model was seen clearly down to the ground, missing the trees in front of the Lodge Gate House, for 3.57, just enough to clinch it.

Neil then rounded us all up for the Gala prize giving.

All the winners were congratulated and presented with a choice of fine table wines from the cellars of chateau Allen no doubt.

Overall Gala Champion
John Richardson
Open Glider
Alex Cameron
Combined F1H/F1G/CO2/E30/P30/MV glider
Tony Clark
Open Vintage
Peter Norman
HLG/CAT glider
Mike Cook


top of page