Russell's European Sortie

Double Header - Netherlands and Belgium

On a weekend that had no World Cup events, I was privileged to be invited to two local events. On Saturday at the GMVC club in Waddinxveen, Netherlands, and Sunday back to Belgium to the Michamps Club in Bastogne.

I also teamed up with Mr Arthur Sivry who hails from the Isle of Man. Each year since 2001, Arthur has travelled World Cup events in his campervan, and since we’re going to many of the same events, and Arthur knows the roads (etc) better, I’m following him.

Arthur and his Citrin

 

 

The Netherlands club is a superb club set in the Ringsvaade, which means it is surrounded by dykes, and is actually 10m below sea level. The weather was very windy, which (I’m told) is very common in the very flat countryside of the Netherlands.

Arthur and I were further privileged to receive exceptionally warm and friendly hospitality by the club, but especially by Messers Danny & Jan van Vliet and their families, for which I am very grateful.

 

Danny & Jan Vliet training with sightboard

Club President (for 40 years), Mr Henny van Loon also went out of his way to make us very welcome, and asked me to say “hello” to Henry Hutchinson and Aaron Garle. And Ferry Meerkerk deserves a special mention for breakfast, and his humour.

The competition had 12 pilots and was flown as 1 round of P15, 1 of F15, and finishing with 1 round of P15, which is the most common format in Europe for local competitions. The wind was mostly moderate - compared to the prior 2 days.

The field faces towards the south – which is toward the sun in the northern hemisphere – and necessitated the use of a sun shield for some pilots.

 

The winners (L-R): Roy Oostema (3rd place), Derk van der Vecht (1st place), Danny van Vliet (2nd place)
P15 schedule in Dutch

Following the Saturday competition, Arthur and I then travelled to Bastogne, Belgium to participate in the competition at the Michamps club. This club is located overlooking a beautiful valley, with windmills behind. However, we didn’t fly towards the valley: Due to the sun (which never came out), we turned around and flew behind the club, cars and windmills which were on either side of the field. The windmills were especially worrisome, and take off and landings had to be made well clear of them, but they didn’t present a problem.

If we thought that the Netherlands were windy, Belgium stepped it up a notch, and additionally provided the most turbulent air I’ve flown in! Maybe that was caused by flying between two windmills :)

From behind the judges and pilots

The competition had 14 pilots. 13 flew 3 rounds being P15, F15 then P15, with one pilot being in C class. Europe’s F3A class system is:

A Equal to F3A in Australia
B Equal to Expert in Australia
C Equal to Sportsman in Australia

Cumulative Stats
Competitions: 3
Distance travelled: 1400kms
Flights:57