Grand Prix de France - Piennes - July 7th/8th 2001

This French competition is always popular for the British contingent as they are well run and within an easy 4 hour drive from Calais. On this occasion 6 pairs ventured forth across the water to participate at Piennes.

The weather on the Thursday and Friday was very Hot and Humid with virtually no wind and hardly a breath of air but this was not going to be the case over the weekend. Practice on the Friday was in still hot conditions but the wind and rain came with a vengeance on the Saturday morning. Luckily the rain held of for most of the competition but flyers had to handle a strong wind throughout.

Following the World championships last year the site is now compete and speed, aerobatics & racing each have their own circles. A barbecue runs constantly through the day with drinks, cakes and crepes available from the main club building - thus refreshments are never a problem on site.

The first round was held early afternoon on the Saturday but did not produce any lightning times. Maret/Perret (current World Champions from France) led at the end of this round with a 3:23.2 followed by Langworth/Campbell (GBR) on 3:23.6 and Heaton/Broadhead (GBR) on 3:25.4 - only 9 teams bettering 3:40.

The second round was held later on the Saturday afternoon and the only team to change things at the top was Surugue/Surugue with a 3:21.5 - improving by 5 seconds to take 1st place at the time.

Sunday came, the weather was still the same and the third round was held mid morning. Ross/Turner (GBR) put in a 3:22.2 and then Ascher/Ascher, over on an extended visit from the USA put in the fastest time in the heats - a 3:17.4 which was to be the only sub 3:20 time during the 3 rounds.

Both round of semi-finals were held in the afternoon.

In the first semis it was Surugue/Surugue who led the way with a 3:17.6 - Ross/Turner put in a 3:20.0 with Delor/Constant (FRA) taking third spot with a 3:23.1.

The second round of semis saw Delor/Constant shave a bit more off their time with a 3:22.3 but it was the British pair of Heaton/Broadhead who took everyone by surprise putting in the fastest time of the meeting - a 3:16.9. Derek and John were lucky to have a two up race (despite it being classed as three up when the third team of Kollar/Kollar (FRA) retired - their model having set on fire during warm up) but everything came together and they had an excellent race.

So - after all of the semi-finals had been completed the three finalists were to be Heaton/Broadhead, Surugue/Surugue and Ross/Turner.

The final got underway at around 7:00 pm and all three teams were within a lap of each other and very little difference in airspeeds. As the race progressed there were very few overtaking opportunities but Heaton/Broadhead gradually built up a lead due to perfect pitstops and, by the 150 lap mark, had a 5 lap lead over the French team with Ross/Turner a further lap behind. At 166 laps John called Derek down and they had another perfect stop on 168 laps and took off looking totally safe to take the first prize. As they took off the French models engine had cut and were slightly affected by the taking off model. Derek and John were adjudged to have been to blame and Jury member Luis Peterson made the rather rash decision of announcing a disqualification for the British pair - despite the fact that the Surugue brothers were able to continue and thus win the final - a lap and a half in front of Ross/Turner. We were led to understand that the decision was possibly regretted after the event but what can you do once a final is completed. Derek landed his model immediately the disqualification was announced (as per the rules) - unlike Jean Maret who refused to land following his disqualification in the Semi Finals.

This poor finish to an excellent final begs us to ask two important questions -

I believe that the race should have been allowed to run to its conclusion and the Jury should have announced that, at that time, they were still considering the incident at the final pitstop. I am sure that, if this had been done, the final decision would have been different after discussion had taken place.

Despite this - our thanks must go to Jean Paul Perret, Jean Maret, Bruno Delor and all the French club members who helped make it another excellent weekend and an event we always look forward to.

Andy Whorton

Place

N

NAME Surname

Nation

Heat 1

Heat 2

Heat 3

Semi 1

Semi 2

Final

1

C17

SURUGUE P./SURUGUE G.

FRA

3

:

26.9

3

:

21.5

3

:

32.2

3

:

17.6

3

:

33.0

7

:

01.5

2

C07

ROSS M. / TURNER B.

GBR

3

:

29.2

3

:

24.6

3

:

22.2

3

:

20.0

DISQ

7

:

05.2

3

C05

HEATON D./ BROADHEAD J.

GBR

3

:

25.4

3

:

37.6

3

:

37.3

3

:

24.5

3

:

16.9

DISQ

4

C03

DELOR B./CONSTANT P.

FRA

3

:

45.7

59 laps

3

:

30.7

3

:

23.1

3

:

22.3

5

C01

MARET J./PERRET J.P.

FRA

3

:

23.2

DISQ

DISQ

3

:

23.7

DISQ

6

C13

ASCHER A./ASCHER L.

USA

3

:

26.6

3

:

48.7

3

:

17.4

3

:

23.9

3

:

39.4

7

C16

OUGEN T./SURUGUE R.

FRA

3

:

39.3

26 laps

DISQ

 

 

 

3

:

24.0

8

C18

RAFFAL B./MAIFFRET C.

FRA

35 laps

DISQ

3

:

24.7

3

:

25.6

38 laps

9

C06

LANGWORTH B./ CAMPBELL D.

GBR

3

:

23.6

3

:

36.5

3

:

26.5

3

:

35.5

3

:

28.4

10

C11

DESSAUCY L./DESSAUCY J.

BEL

3

:

55.0

36 laps

3

:

34.4

 

 

 

3

:

41.6

11

C04

KOLLAR S./KOLLAR V.

FRA

3

:

54.2

3

:

42.9

3

:

31.3

4

:

03.7

0 laps

12

C14

LARSSON I./GUSTAFSSON J.

SWE

3

:

31.7

3

:

37.6

3

:

34.9

 

 

 

35 laps

13

C15

METKEMEIJER B./METKEMEIJER R.

NED

3

:

33.6

DISQ

 

 

 

14

C12

BORER H./STUDER H.

SUI

59 laps

3

:

41.7

80 laps

15

C02

PICARD F./PERRET C.

FRA

4

:

06.0

3

:

42.5

67 laps

16

C09

FRY D./WHORTON A.

GBR

33 laps

DISQ

3

:

45.3

17

C10

WALKER D./PEART S.

GBR

DISQ

0

:

00.0

4

:

10.3

18

C08

MILES R./YELDHAM G.

GBR

DISQ

4

:

44.0

4

:

17.7

19

C19

GIGER P./SACCAVINO C.

SUI

 

 

 

 

 

 

16 laps