The Junior FAI World Champs in Prilep, Macedonia -- Final (Report No.6) by Bob Stalick
The day after the final event at the World Champs was billed as a makeup day (for fly offs, if needed). It wasn’t needed, so we had most of the day, until 6 pm, for sightseeing. The entire team and most of the supporters decided to go to a village, named Krushevo, about 15 miles from the field where a hang gliding competition was being held. We arrived around noon or so, and were amazed at the number of enthusiasts who were there. We watched takeoffs, thermal soaring and long glides. At one point, it appeared that several dozen gliders were in a huge thermal at a very high altitude, so high that with the telephoto lens, they appeared as specks in the sky. It was quite a show. After late lunch and a brief tour of Krushevo, we headed back to the Crystal Palace to clean up for the closing ceremony.
The ceremony was held in downtown Prilep at the same location where the opening event took place. Trophies were awarded to first, second and third place individual and teams. Some winners received perpetual trophies as well, including a set sponsored by the Magnificent Mountain Men of Colorado. Our individual winners were Joel Yori, who took third in F1A glider, and Alex Stalick, who took third in F1P power. Team placing was second in both F1B rubber and F1P power. The best part is that each one of our team members received at least one award. Some great memories were made this day.
The event concluded with some local girls dancing to traditional music. Then, it was off the “banquet.’ At this dinner, much trading goes on--T-shirts, hats, pins and the like. It’s a great opportunity for our guys to meet the other team members. Our T-shirts were a big hit this year, and most of them got traded. The service and the food quality was incidental to the informal talk and activity. Cade Fedor even got in a good natured arm-wrestling match with one of the Russian fliers. I wonder whether the Russian realized that he was beaten by a 13 year old?
And so this wondrous week came to a close. There were a lot of “What ifs” with this team, but in the end, I believe they acquitted themselves well. They made good friendships that will last, and they showed what teamwork can do. I am proud to be associated with them.
A few Thoughts about the 2016 Jr. World Championships.
This is a world class freeflight site. The field is large and off field chase area is also large with no fences. The field has a short grass cover and off field areas vary from rough ground to more grassy area--some with plantings. Weather conditions for this meet, at least, were generally good, with pretty steady winds from the SW on F1A day. Since the wind was steady, the flight line could have been set up at least a half mile further upwind and fewer models would have left the field. The other two days were calm with variable winds up to 3-4 mph. Temperatures were warm to hot. Thermals were tricky to locate.
The contest management had some difficulty getting into the groove at the start, but Per Findahl of Sweden, who was a member of the Jury and a top F1A flier, stepped in and got things organized and by F1P day, the contest seemed to be humming along smoothly. The timers, who were young to middle aged local men, were competent and attentive. Some of them belonged to the local aero club which also shares this field. No protests were filed.
We found that WiFi on field was nonexistent, so the criticism of slow score posting is accurate, but seeming unavoidable at this time.
I think the Macedonian contest organizers are to be commended for their willingness to put on this meet. For future consideration, the cost of food, lodging, and just about everything else is very inexpensive by American standards. The organizer was Zdrabko Todoroski and the Contest Director was Dimche Velkoski, and they deserve our appreciation for the task they took on and performed for our benefit.
I want to personally thank my son, Ted Stalick, who invited me to come to the meet (and paid my way) and my grandson, Alex, for making grandpa proud. I suggest if the team wants to have a reporter in the future, a special blog be set up so that regular posts can be made to include the pictures that were taken of the action. I thought I had arrangements made for daily posts on Facebook, but those didn’t seem to work out. A better way would be to have a dedicated Blogspot.
In all, it was the experience of a lifetime! It was a blast to be here!
Judging from "official" scores and "posted" scores on the field, there are still mix-ups with a few of the F1B contestants' scores. Someone had mentioned that France's two contestants had the same scores on the official results. However when you look at the field results, David Clement is shown with these scores: 118, 170, 136, 180, 043 which would give him a total of 647 through five rounds. This would place him in 31st and every one else would move up one slot up to the 17th placing. That would mean that individually Troy Davis came in 20th.
In Bob Stalick's recent report, Jace came in 9th, Sevak in 13th and Troy in 22nd. Again, the "official" online posted results have Jace in 8th, Sevak in 12th and of course Troy should be in 20th. Of course we now know that our F1B team came in 2nd, and the whole junior team should be congratulated for a job well done. Reporting from Alan Jack, Jim Parker, Bob Stalick and Freiflug has been outstanding. Great insight for the rest of us who were awaiting the latest new from Prilep.
I also enjoyed the comments made about Alex's "retro" balsa F1P! Kudos should be handed to Terry Thorkildsen for the design, Bob Van Nest for making the "kit" available for the junior program and the rest of us a few years back, and of course Randy and Cody Secor for "setting the bar" in earlier junior programs.
What a tough sequence for Sevak in the last rounds in F1B and F1P. He certainly looked like a sure candidate to medal in both events. He is a true sportsman and one of the nicest young competitors I have ever had the pleasure to know. It has been fun watching him and his brother Taron improve their free flight skills since they were in grade school.
I also agree with George Batiuks' comments about this team and how well they did. A big tribute to Jim Parker as Team Manager and the rest of the supporters!
Just to let you know I will be running a blog on my website for how the British team get on at the FF European championships in Serbia starting with the World Cup event this Friday.
Follow the link from here (there maybe other stuff on the site of interest also ?)