ProBASE World Cup Final
The ProBASE World Cup for 2013 is over. The four events were a complete success. Medals were won, champagne was sprayed and plenty of celebratory beer was drunk.
This last race, held in Stechelberg, Switzerland was exciting. Flying head-to-head with some of the best in the World, diving my wingsuit hard at the finish line, was truly exhilarating.
I was fortunate to race a range of athletes in training and the competition. From the Skydive Dubai Wingsuit Team I raced champion Julian Boulle as well as his team mate Mike Swanson. These guys were flying their Tonysuit Apache Jedei’s aggressively with tremendous power and speed and yet with significant times under canopy as well.
In the competition I was pitched against Roberta Mancino. Roberta had previously been flying a Tonysuit Apache. In competition she’d struggled to get the large suit to dive but, shortly before this event, she’d started to fly a Scorpion. The smaller arm wing put her much more in her element. She dived aggressively providing a serious challenge for me.
I was flying my Phoenix Fly V3. In the Vampire series there is now a V5R being tested so I’m 2 ½ variations behind technology and was the only one flying such an old suit. It seemed particularly small in comparison to all of the other wingsuits being flown. But it was what I knew. When I didn’t get a new suit at the start of the season it was too late for me, with the amount of training that I’d be able to do, to change mid-season. I had to go with what I knew and fly it hard.
I felt that I was slightly the underdog, but that urged me on to fly harder, faster and more aggressively. It inspired me to use my limited training more wisely and progressively and not taken anything for granted. I also believe that this focussed my analyse more to understand where I could increase my time and make small gains. I focussed heavily on my start and acceleration.
Yet, it wasn’t enough. While I improved my times in each round, despite tougher cross wind conditions in the middle of the day, I couldn’t break the sub 20 second barrier that I so desperately needed to do. To make it worse the Tag Heuer timing system seemed to taunt me with a best time of 20.01 seconds.
Julian Boulle took first place with team mate Noah Bahnson hot on his tail. Third place went to Viktor Kovats.
I finished in 19th position. As a result I descended further in the Overall rankings but still came away with 7th place. Considering the stringent competition I’m still hugely content with that. The podium was filled by the Skydive Dubai Wingsuit Team: Julian Boulle, Noah Bahnson and Mike Swanson. They had earned their slots having worked so hard and each having made well over 1,000 jumps this year. To have made it into the top 8 and be stood next to them, Ludo Woerth, Gleb Vorevodin, Jay Moledzki and Espen Fadnes was a true honour.
I started this season unplaced, at Zero. I stepped it up and won the Istanbul competition, from Zero to Hero, I then progressively flowed down hill, Hero to Zero, yet finished in 7th position, all while flying an old V3 suit.
The competitors, the athletes, have been outstanding, as have the judges and competition staff. It’s been an exciting journey and I feel privileged to have been part of it. Now it’s time to focus on next year…