|Viking Race 2006 was held in the Fife in Scotland from 9 to 14
September 2006. This year Hong Kong has sent a team of 3 pilots to
participate in this bi-annual event. In addition, K.Y. Mak from HK was
invited to join the contest as a member of international team. The members
of HK team were selected in two HK VR Qualifying races held early this year.
Unfortunately, I was unable to get into the qualified team - all my fault, and a bit disappointing for me as I really like to join this prestigious
international race. Anyhow, after many months of practicing together with
the HK team, I was anxious to see how our HK team performs in VR2006.
Viking Race is predominantly an European F3F contest as most contesting teams are from Europe. Outside European arena are teams from USA, Venezuela, Hong Kong and Taiwan - yes, this year VR2006 has two teams from the East; Hong Kong and Taiwan. The story, however, is only partially true because, for some reasons, two members of the Taiwanese team were unable to attend the contest. A week just before the D-day, I asked myself: can I join the contest as a member of Taiwan team? Well, let go back and check my own schedule in September. I will be traveling with my wife to UK accompanying my daughter for her first-year study in a boarding school in England from 3rd to 8th September. It is very logical for me to stay behind a few more days and travel to Scotland as an observer in VR2006. But I am pretty sure that my wife will not be interested in going there with me, as most wives will do anyway. Even worse she will not let me go alone! After a long bargain with give and take - you know what I mean, she finally gave in. She flew back to Hong Kong on her own on 8th Sept. and I went straight from London to Edinburgh!
Here I was, on the night of 8th September, I met the Hong Kong team in Pettycur Bay caravan park. I soon realized that all the luggage belong to the HK team were missing when they arrived in Glasgow airport early morning. Too bad, how can they join the contest without a plane! Thanks to the effort of Angus and Mak, they took the tedious task of searching all the conveyer bells in the airport and by midnight some HK model planes has finally come out - piece by piece! One of them is my Aris which was supposed to be lent to Ah Fai as his backup plane in VR2006. Well, I got my plane and, let me tell you, I quietly sneaked in my R/C transmitter in my luggage as well, so I was a ready pilot and, of course, if the organizer allowed, a ready contestant too! The next day I met with Ron Russell and asked his permission for me to take part in the race in place of a Taiwanese contestant who can not make it to the Fife. Thanks Ron for his generosity, my plane and transmitter in hands, the next thing was to fly well in the contest.
The wind in the first day was south to southeast so we off to East Lomond. The drive to there took about half an hour through a scenic road in Scottish highland. The slope is a 15 minutes easy hike from the car park. The weather was fine and warm, I wouldn't say hot as compared to Hong Kong's standard, but it's by any mean hot to the Scottish I supposed. However, the most important ingredient for a successful race, i.e., the wind, was unfortunately lacking! It took almost a whole day to complete round zero because the wind varied a lot which resulted in many re-flys. Most of the times are sixties and seventies.
Day two: more planes belong to HK team were dug out in the airport, great! But the wind were virtually stand still, so the organizer decided to call off the race and let us to have some free sport flying. Indeed many pilots took the opportunity of good thermal to rise to high attitude. Then, we off for sight seeing in the nearby town named Falkland.
Day three: moderate southerly wind, so we went to the same spot in East Lomond. The course was initially set up a bit to the right as the wind was southerly straight to the slope. Kevin Newton grabbed the opportunity of good wind to get a 44s run using his Skorpion. Then, probably at the time of pilot 70, the wind was shifted off course to the east so did the course. A split score was recommended and pilots from 45 onward will have a re-fly. I grabbed the opportunity of good wind to get a 48s which put me on the 4th place in round one. Round two was immediately commenced right after round one ended at about 3pm. The wind was initially good and gradually deteriorated in the middle of round two. In my opinion, split score should be used, but the CD recommended otherwise. I got a 64s in round two and the 18th position in the list, not bad!
Day four: well, no flying for me because I had to leave. My schedule flight back to Hong Kong is at 1 o'clock in the afternoon. You know I didn't expect to stay in Scotland for the whole contest duration because I had full commitment in job duty at home on 14 Sept. Sorry, guys, no more report and off!
According to the official web site, the individual Champion in VR2006 is Andreas Herrig and team winner is England1.
For detailed coverage, please see the official VR2006 web site at http://www.vikingrace2006.co.uk/
or Kevin's page with many beautiful pictures at http://www.f3f.co.uk/knewt/vkr2006/report/index.htm
Click on any photo to see a larger version or movie.