27 Jun 03

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"That Ridge Is Bound To Work..." (1)

Most of us took advantage of another sunny Sisteron afternoon to make our final flights of the expedition. Ariane flew once again with Hervé in one of the Sisteron Duos (TD) on a cat's cradle task designed to get everyone around in time for prize-giving in the evening. The task consisted of 7 legs totalling about 170km with a height limit of 2500m (to make it slightly less easy for the ASH25). TD managed to get round at 100kph, despite suffering an unwanted low point at Chabre just before the finish.

Looking up at Chabre from 1000m

"That Ridge Is Bound To Work..." (2)

Robert, flying his LS8 (W8), hurtled towards the Ecrins and, on his way to Guillaume, decided to try to make Chabrières work. To Rob's great annoyance, the mountain,  despite being south-west facing and in sunshine, not only failed to co-operate but also injected a huge amount of sink into his path, dumping him over some non-approved fields requiring some rapid and accurate decision making. His assessment of the field after a safe landing was that it was perfectly ok, apart from a water hydrant on approach. And trees at the far end of a short landing run. And the slopes, of course, in both longitudinal and lateral axes.

"The field was perfectly good - 2 out of 10" (quote from Rob)

'...and for best labrador...'

Everyone's A Winner

The end of the Regionals brought with it the traditional prize-giving session. In the UK, this usually involves some recognition of the sponsors and a countdown, in reverse order, of the top three places with cups awarded accordingly.

Here, in France, things are done differently. Every pilot who took part was introduced by the club president and awarded a prize. With 30 entrants, this understandably took some time.

The true stoke of genius was to hold the event in a non-air-conditioned room, while the outdoor temperature was only just descending through the mid-30s. The president nevertheless stuck gamely to his script, despite frequent interjections of ribald singing from the competitors, forgetting only to acknowledge the sponsors who were simmering quietly in the background. The event only ended when there was no more audience left, either because they had already won a prize or, having lost the will to live, had gone off to the bar for a cold beer.
Postscript: Click here to find out what we really thought of our expedition. 
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