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The competition, held during the World Challenge at Bodyflight Bedford, was to select the UK teams for the forthcoming World Championships in the World Cup in Bahrain, October 2018, and the European Championships in Voss in April 2018. Adam Mattacola expertly organised the entire show.
It was a super friendly meet, with competitors chatting together and helping each other out, especially when people were entering disciplines they had no idea about! It was great to see so many people entering more than one discipline, even trying new disciplines out of their comfort zone, which resulted in an even bigger and more exciting meet. Nice one guys, that takes guts. The competitions were only run over 4 rounds, to fit it all into Saturday 8 April but the results in all events would most likely have been the same over more rounds.
The worthy winners in VFS were Omni, our UK outdoor team, who represented us at the World Championships in Chicago last year (where they came eighth), and at the Indoor World Cup at Prague (placing 6th). Martin Roberson, Sarah Boyd, Tim Gaines and Greg Lucas finished with a 16.5 average after 4 rounds. This is their third year as a serious team, they are excellent representatives for the UK, now presumably selected. They all entered D2W or D4W as well, including their cameraman, Dan Guest.
Taking silver were the slick red suits of iFly Manchester; Matthew Mitchell, Josh Bennet, David Fusaro, Fiodor Matyskin. These guys are a dynamic team and they did not a single minute’s training in VFS. They were amazing, scoring 13 points in their first round, showing how they could reapply their skills and with thanks to Gary Crisp, of QFX and Dark Matter fame, their coach for the day.
In third place were Omnot (geddit?! – Omni, Omnot!), Emma Scrivener, Chris Mayhew, Ben Reed-Smith and Jakob Aungiers, giving it a go in the strange and scary world of VFS with the most puzzled looks on their faces when dirtdiving! They did super well, scoring points on every round to finish with a 4.25 average – not bad at all guys! VFS is really hard and I’ve been at meets when trained teams did a lot worse!
The freestyle was a treat to watch, most especially Jamie Arnold, who stood out as a class act. His imagination has no limits, every time I see him fly there is a new, unique trick. His routine was technically hard, well presented and expertly flown. Entering the tunnel with a handstand he thrilled us till he exited in a similar style. The final round blew me away. He was wearing a rig – and doing exactly the same routine as earlier. Ged Parker revealed he’d been skydiving with Jamie at Skydive Algarve and that Jamie was doing the exact same routine in the sky!! Amazing! Most freestylists will use the tunnel walls as reference so this is simply outstanding! Jamie is a popular competitor loved by all the international teams and will be a worthy representative for the UK at the forthcoming Euro and World events – let’s hope he can go to both.
In second place was the lovely Alki Mallows (team name, Marshmallow Pies), born in Greece and living in the UK since she was 18. A strong, confident and elegant flyer, she flew a lovely routine that looked amazing – you’d never guess she has only been doing freestyle 3 months. In third place was Chris Mayhew, who entered every event. He had a solid routine, throwing some classic moves. In fourth place it was excellent to see Russ George, who stopped jumping in 2010, and returned in 2015 welcome back! Russ was a last minute entry who learned a lot in his first freestyle comp, and set some new goals for the future.
In first place winning every round were the tunnel instructors of iFly Manchester (Matty Mitchell, Josh Bennet, David Fusaro, Fiodor Matyskin ), though we hear Matty has left and gone to FF coach at Skydive Hibaldstow. Second were my favourite team name, Scoopy McScoop Face, a non-trained team of elite UK freeflyers, Steve Howes and Adam Dare of Varial, Karl Rogers, & Tom Worboys. They did a fine job of follow-my-leader in this, a new event for them. The Sugarfathers took bronze to the delight of Emma Scrivener, Jakob Aungiers, Ben Reed Smith and Chris Mayhew, another untrained team. Mulan Teriyaki Szechuan Dipping Sauce deserve a mention for the longest and most bizarre team name, coming in fourth.
This featured the largest field, with 12 teams – promising some D4W teams of the future! Gold went to the polished flyers Josh O’Donoghue and Luke Warren, sponsored by Windoor. They flew incredibly tight lines to be the fastest, though sometimes busting by cutting it too fine. Taking silver were the multi-faceted Jamie Arnold and Dan Guest as the Dynamos, a long-standing team competing in their fifth World Challenge. The Dynamos flew really fast but were just not quite as tight in their turns. In third place were the string flyers of 2xF, the ‘Fs’ of David Fusaro and Fio Matyskin. iFly Manchester D2W – Matthew Michell, Josh Bennet – just missed another medal and came in fourth. Matty won’t be too disappointed though, he’s teaming up with Adam Dare and Steve Howes as the new cameraman for Varial Freefly. Nice one guys, can't wait to see your new routine!
This was the first official UK Indoor Artistics Nationals and we hope to see more teams at next year’s event. Meanwhile, we wish the selected UK teams the best of British luck!
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Photos are in separate albums here __