Pepinster International - August 10th/11th 2003

This years Pepinster meeting was held over the weekend of August 9th - 10th and, watching the weather forecasts during the preceding week, it was clear that we were in for a “hot one”. Temperatures were constantly in the high 30s with peaks of just over 40 degrees being recorded and there was very little breeze through most of the weekend. It was unfortunate that the entry count was low (just 12 teams turning up) as every thing was perfect for good racing.

The Saturday morning was free practice with the circle being shared with the speed fliers and the afternoon consisted of two rounds of racing with official practice sessions preceding each of these.

The first round saw no really quick times but it was Bucci/Perret (FRA) who led the way with a 3:21.2- possibly helped by the fact that it proved to be a 2-up race with Vendel/Van Gemert running in on the first take off. Picard/Perret (FRA) put in a 3:23.7 and the Belgian pair of Dessaucy/Dessaucy were 3rd with a 3:25.5 – just 0.2 seconds ahead of Ougen/Surugue (FRA) on 3:25.7. No other teams got inside 3:30.

The second round saw Ougen/Surugue move into first place with a 3:20 exactly – Bucci/Perret also improving there time with a 3:20.7. Metkemeijer/Metkemeijer (Ned) took advantage of a 2-up refly to record a 3:25.7 and Fry/Whorton (GBR) put in a 3:26.2 having had to make adjustments at the second stop to avoid a third stop. Again – there were only the 4 sub 3:30s recorded and no-one yet under 3:20.

The Banquet was held in a village hall just up the road from the flying site on the Saturday night and was in the form of a fondue party. Wine was free (you paid for your beers) and it was a good evening enabling plenty of mixing.

Sunday morning saw round three and we were at last to see some sub 3:20s – Picard/Perret started the trend posting what was a very good 3:18.9 in a race that went all the way against Ougen/Surugue and Dessaucy/Dessaucy – these teams posting 3:30.3 and 3:28.5 respectively. Bucci/Perret and Borer/Studer (Sui) were then able to take advantage of the fact that the Metkemeijer brothers pulled out a 21 laps – the French team recording the fastest time of the meeting with a 3:18.2 and the Swiss pair just half a lap behind on 3:19.0.

With just 12 entries there were to be just 6 semi-finalists and two races in each round on the Sunday afternoon (after the final two rounds of speed)

In the first round of semis Bucci/Perret posted the quickest time – a 3:21.2 with no other teams breaking the 3:30 barrier. The second race saw a first stop incident with Picard/Perret taking off just in front of the landing model of Ougen/Surugue and Roland missing the catch. At first sight we all thought that the taking off team would be disqualified and the others getting a refly. However - the jury saw it different and did not think that the landing model had been affected by the other team so it was Picard/Perret who got the refly (the race having been stopped as they were the only team in the air with 65 laps to go). Fry/Whorton were then called in as the first reserves and put in a 3:35.7 after serious overheating in the first tank – this moving them up into 4th place at the end of this round.

The second round of semis saw Ougen/Surugue put in a 3:22.2 to book their place in the final with Bucci/Perret but no one else could really get it together. There were a number of times around the 3:30 mark and it was Dessaucy/Dessaucy who were to creep into the final with a 3:29.1. Bucci/Perret opted not to fly in this round giving Fry/Whorton another opportunity to have a go but they also declined as the heat was taking its toll and Dave Fry did not think he would be able to cope with a final if they were to get there.

All three teams got away successfully at the start of the final and it was clear that Ougen/Surugue had a speed advantage from the start (having had to change models just before the final and have a second practice session). The race continued fairly smoothly with all three pilots coping pretty well with the high airspeeds. Roland and Thierry had good pitstops throughout and built up a clear lead – finishing in an excellent 3:34.4 with Dessaucy/Dessaucy over 10 laps behind on 6:55.9 and Bucci/Perret coming home in 7:11.9.

Overall it was a good competition but many of us found the excessive heat a problem with there being very little shade around (and none at all in the car park !!). Times were clearly a bit slow for today's standards with only three sub 3:20s being posted but there was a lot of good close racing as a result of this.

Place Team  Country Heat 1 Heat 2 Heat 3 Semi 1 Semi 2 Final
1 Ougen T / Surugue R Fra 03:25,7 03:20,0 03:30,3 34 Laps 03:22,2 06:34,4
2 Dessaucy L / Dessaucy J Bel 03:25,5 03:48,2 03:28,5 03:33,9 03:29,1 06:55,9
3 Bucci L / Perret JP Fra 03:21,2 03:20,7 03:18,2 03:21,2 dnf 07:11,9
4 Picard F / Perret C Fra 03:23,7 29 Laps 03:18,9 03:33,2 03:42,0  
5 Fry D / Whorton A Gbr Disq 03:26,2 Disq 03:35,7 dnf  
6 Metkemeijer B / Metkemeijer R Ned 03:32,1 03:25,7 21 Laps 19 Laps 03:36,3  
7 Kollar S / Bellys M Fra 03:36,4 Disq 03:36,6 04:02,0 03:37,9  
8 Borer H / Studer H Sui 71Laps 34 Laps 03:19,0 00:00,0 04:06,8  
9 Leupold F / Engfer K Ger 03:39,3 34 Laps 03:30,2      
10 Langworth B / Broadhead J Gbr 03:36,8 03:47,4 03:41,6      
11 Vendel / Van Gemert Ned 1 Lap 03:43,5 03:38,7      
12 Pierron F / Perret M Fra 05:31,6 34 Laps 1 Lap