A superb team effort saw Avon walk away with the PG Club Challenge final, held over the August Bank Holiday weekend in SE Wales.
PG Comps Organiser, Martin Stanton, had it as his goal to win this year's competition with an organised, team effort, and a dozen or more pilots have taken part this Summer, the six representatives this weekend being Martin himself, Ken Wilkinson, Tim Pentreath, Stafford Evans, Stephen Chiles and Rich Harding.
Perhaps the most important contributors though were Paul and Chris Whatley, who turned up to Fochriw on Saturday and spent most of the afternoon retrieve driving, including getting Ken Wilkinson back to the hill in time for a second flight that saw him and Stephen post the 15km scores that, together with Rich's earlier 17km, meant we were over a thousand points ahead of nearest rivals SE Wales at the end of the day.
Day Two began a little disorganised, with both PG and HG comps turning up on the Blorenge; a fly down to Castle Meadows for most and a quick switch to Pandy preceded most of the team doing a very fast ridge run before a re-brief where the day was canned. It was suggested that a further brief should be called later in the afternoon and, had it happened and a task been called, we'd probably have won that too, with most pilots making or almost making the campsite and Stafford arriving over it with three grand!
As it was, it was left to a final, unlikely-seeming day on Pontlottyn to seal the victory. Conditions were strong on arrival and a task was swiftly set, as the forecast was for stronger winds later. Tim and Martin left early, Martin making Merthyr and reporting on the progress of the pilots from SE Wales, who were the only team in with a realistic chance of overhauling us. But where was Tim? He had been high but found himself very low over Aberdare, taking an age to make base but setting the standard with a 32km flight.
Staff had set off to retrieve Martin for a retry as Ken also spiralled up to base, just over the back of the hill, so he ended up retrieving all three, with Ken making Pontardawe for 38km. With two SE Wales pilots making the 5km minimum, one more pilot would validate the task, and Ken urged Rich, who hadn't been happy with the conditions earlier, on.
The wind had seemingly subsided a little, although it had gone way off the hill to the South, now being mainly ESE, but one of the SE Wales pilots was still trying to get away, so Rich joined him, quickly finding a snorter that put him in a position to get the 5km, before finding a good climb over Merthyr town, where he was spotted by the others returning on the A465. He spiralled off a few hundred feet to land with a SW Wales pilot at 41.1km, knowing we'd won the day and the comp, the first time that the Avon PG team has held the trophy.
We retired back to The Brit, then The Vine, for a superb meal, and finally the Brit again for the prizegiving, where Rich was delighted to discover that he'd won the individual prize. Thanks to everyone who has contributed to the team this year. The BCC is a great competition and next year we may even have a shot at running the finals, although not necessarily on our own sites. Watch this space and come along - we had 25 Avon pilots in SE Wales this weekend and they all had a stonking time!
Reported on 26/08/2003 by Rich Harding