World C/L Championships - F2C Event

(This is a subset of my complete report from the World Championships in Kiev)

The entry count for team racing was 39 including 5 juniors – unfortunately one short of the 40 entries required for allowing 12 teams to participate in the semi-finals.

Preparation for this event had given the British Team high hopes of success with recent wins at open internationals during the three month run up to the championships. The practice sessions went well and all three pairs were able to go into the first round with some confidence.

Racing began on the Tuesday afternoon following a mornings rain which had threatened to cancel the first day and had slowed airspeeds considerably during the official practice sessions (each pair being allowed 5 mins solo during the morning).

The first British team to fly were Fitzgerald/Thomason in the 3rd heat against Saviotti/Lanzoni (ITA) and Perren/Fernandez (ARG). Mark and Mike were away first flick at the start and had a clear run for around ten laps due to the other teams having starting problems. When the other pairs did finally get into the air it was clear that the British pair had by far the fastest model and a good time looked on the cards following a second flick first stop. Unfortunately the other pairs managed to get their lines crossed when landing together and the race was abandoned because the British pair had only completed 47 laps (50 and they would have been allowed to continue solo).

The second British team to fly were Langworth/Campbell who were drawn with Titov/Yugov (RUS) and Gilbert/Gilbert (FRA). Bernie and Dave had a perfect race until the motor went over the top on 87 laps and resulted in an estimated 6 seconds added as the model droned round to the end of the race. Even so the resulting 3:26.2 was a good performance and was clearly going to be in the top portion of the field after the first day.

The other British team of Ross/Turner were the last to fly in the first round proper and were up against Igolshyn/Chaika (UKR) and Olovics/Rodriguez (BRA). The British pair were away first flick at the start and had a clear edge on airspeed. The motor sounded a little warm at the end of the first tank so Brian took a little heat out with a spray of water. A landing model caused Brian to have to hold down the model for an extra second at each stop and the motor was over hot for the last ten laps similar to that of Langworth/Campbell's. Despite this they recorded the one of the fastest times in the first round, an extremely creditable 3:20.0, aided by an airspeed giving ten lap times of around 17.5 secs.

The fastest time of the first round was to be recorded in the last heat by Andreev/Sobko (RUS) – an impressive 3:17.9, setting the standard for the rest of the competition with the top British pair in second place.

The second round took place on the Wednesday afternoon following official practice during the morning and did not show many improvements, mainly because of the windy conditions that prevailed. Ross/Turner managed to shave a couple of seconds off their first round time and put in a 3:18.0 but the fastest time of the round was put in by Titov/Yugov (RUS) who had the benefit of a two up race following a strange decision by the F2C Jury (not putting the heat back to the end of the round) a 3:15.4 being the result. Both Langworth/Campbell and Fitzgerald/Thomason suffered overheating problems again with 3:41.3 and 3:34.7 results respectively. It was surprising that there were still only 3 teams under 3:20 at the end of the second round.

Thursday followed the same pattern as the Wednesday and racing got underway at 14:30 with the weather far improved from the previous two days. A notable achievement was a 3:17.3 from Delor/Constant (FRA) but the flight to remember was put in by the competition leaders Andreev/Sobko (RUS) setting a new world record of 3:14.1. Shabashov/Moskalev made sure that there were three Russian teams in the semi finals recording a 3:21.2 and the Spanish pair of Pedro Crespi Sequi and Martrin Crespi Bonnin surprised everybody by claiming 9th place into the semis with a 3:23.6. Ross/Turner put in their best race of the competition a knocked yet another second off their second round time, recording a superb 3:17.0 but, unfortunately, neither of the other British pairs were able to put times in and there was to be just the one British team in the semi finals.

The first round of semis got underway on the Friday morning and it was to be the Russian pair of Andreev/Sobko to set the pace again with an excellent 3:16.0 in the second race. The third race saw Titov/Yugov fly against Magli/Pirrazini with both teams recording 3:17.9 with the British team of Ross/Turner struggling against overheating problems. No other team was to press the top three and the only change was in team positions with the USA taking the bronze position behind Russia and France due to McCollum/Lee entering the semis as a refly team and putting in a 3:21.8 as a result.

The second set of semis were immediately after lunch and the only fast time recorded was by the leading Russian pair (yet again) – a 3:18.0 meaning that they had recorded 5 successive sub 3:20 times !. The third Russian pair of Shabashov/Moskalev put in a 3:19.2 to guarantee the Russia team victory in the team event but not enough to make it an all Russian final..

The final was held at 17:00 with the teams of Andreev/Sobko, Titov/Yugov and Magli/Pirazzini vying for the top spot. All models were away cleanly at the start with the two Russian pairs rotating and pitting together very evenly and gradually leaving the Italians behind. Andreev/Sobko slowly put a lap and a half between them and their team mates during the first 100 laps and Magli/Pirrazzini were about 6 laps off the pace. The race was finally decided when Titov picked up his third warning on 160 laps and Andreev was left clear to finish in 6:37 well ahead of the Italians.

Virtually everybody is now using Russian or Ukrainian motors (Vorobiev, Yugov and Mazniak being the most common) and the majority of models are also Russian or Ukrainian (or copies of). The achievements of Ross/Turner must be noted because all of the equipment is home grown (including the motor) – the work Brian Turner has put in over the last few years is amazing and they had the best airspeed at the competition. It is notable that although everybody now has access to the top equipment (and most teams can get airspeeds of 18 secs for 10 laps) there has not been significant improvement over the last few years. A 3:28 would have given the same position this year as in 1992 when I would have expected a drop of perhaps 12 places in the table.

1 ANDREEV/SOBKO      RUS 3'17.9" 3'19.0" 3'14.1" 3'16.0" 3'18.0" 6'37.5"

2 MAGLI/PIRAZZINI    ITA 3'23.4" 52 Laps 3'26.1" 3'17.9" 3'34.7" 7'12.8"

3 TITOV/YUGOV        RUS 3'26.9" 3'15.4" 0 Laps   3'17.9" Disq    Disq

9 ROSS/TURNER        GBR 3'20.0" 3'18.0" 3'17.0" 3'49.1" 3'30.5"

13 L'WORTH/CAMPBELL  GBR 3'26.1" 3'41.3" Disq

23 FITZ'G/THOMASON   GBR 68 Laps 3'34.7" 68 Laps

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