After its heyday of some three or four years ago, Vintage (or Old Time) Stunt is undergoing something of a decline. With only four events per year (contrasting with a dozen or more in the past), it is not surprising that the Nats is down to an entry of just nine, including two from the Isle of Man and one from Ireland.
Many people blame this reduction of interest on the new, longer, flight schedule introduced two years ago, which means that most vintage designs lack sufficient tank capacity. This meant that many past entrants were faced with the prospect of building ncw, different, models. The alternative solution of stopping and reluelling has never been popular.
Most of this year's entries were well established machines. Maurice Doyle used the Taurus' which has won on two previous occasions, while Mick Taylor used his well-known 'Reinhart International' and the Yates 'Dragon' which he built a few years ago. Tom Jolley flew the Nate Rambo designed 'Curtis Swift' which he built in 1983.
Dave Day had lost his '94 and '95 winning 'Box Car Chief' in a workshop accident so produced a replica, using as many parts as possible from the original, in the hope of making it a hat-trick. Dave had already convinced himself that it did not fly as well!
Four of the entries were the Lew Andrews designed 'Trixter Barnstormer'.
Despite being quite breezy, most of the contestants felt that conditions were better in the air than they expected. The two IOM entries started the ball rolling with Dave Hardwick being much improved from last year, while Pete Clinton rather lost his way in the middle of the schedule. They were followed by Mick Taylor who put in a very impressive flight to lead the first round.
Tom Jolley rather disappointed with a machine that has an impressive winning record. As things turned out, there may have been a good reason. Terry Taylor seems to have found the knack of landing a 'Barnstormer' and did a beautiful highspeed 'wheelie' downwind. Unfortunately, it ended with the model tipping onto its nose only to be blown onto its back by the wind.
Geoff Stevenson is another who is getting to grips with the 'Barnstormer' and did well. Dave Day had a slightly lean run with his new model with it almost cutting out on the outside manoeuvres. Maurice Doyle produced a very nice flight which was only spoiled by a landing which seemed to bounce forever (it probably seemed eternal to Maurice). Steve Crawford ended the round. Steve has used a variety of models, but the 'Zilch' seems to suit him and he produced an impressive flight. At this stage, the three flyers who had a close battle last year were heading the list agaln - in reverse order to last year's result.
Mick Taylor built this Yates 'Dragon' a few years ago and flew it in rounds one and three
to produce excellent scores and eventual second place. However, Mick prefers
the 'Reinhart International' which he used in round two.
Recent Nationals have produced a consistent pattern where the Sunday is almost unflyable. Thankfully, this year it was just windy! This produced a few adventures for various people.
There was a rush to fly as most of the competitors were obviously of the opinion that the wind could only get worse.Terry Taylor started the ball rolling and got his 'wheelie' landing spot on this time. Terry is one of the few competitors who uses a 'crib sheet'. Maurice Doyle flew next and was flying rather faster than usual. He had some difficulty with the high level flight and then proceeded to wind up dramatically in the bunts, almost hitting the ground on the third and getting even closer on the fifth. He was blown down very badly on the vertical eights which were a sort of reverse cottage loaf shape. The square loop was very small and he almost hit the ground again at the end of the three leaf clover. The landing was a repeat of round one. Most people would agree that the 'Taurus' is far from the ideal machine in these sort of conditions...
Geoff Stevenson had some problems with his hat and probably lost his starting points as a result. He ran frantically backwards during his high level flight and actually fell flat on his rear during the vertical 'S' and got up in time to save the model! He then calmly signalled the vertical climb - which wasn't very vertical! He then kicked his hat out of the way and continued the flight. Geoff also uses a 'crib sheet' and copied Terry's landing, but with just one bounce.
Mick Taylor elected to use his 'Reinhart International' for this flight because the 'Dragon' doesn't like the wind. He may possibly have regretted the decision. Tom Jolley went next and was rather rushed into flying. That fact may not be relevant but it was obvious at an early stage that there were problems. Matters were concluded by the outboard half of the elevator detaching itself during the vertical 'S', with disastrous results. Inspection revealed that the original cloth binges had failed and been replaced by sewing. The sewn hinges had now failed.
Dave Hardwick followed and rather disappointed as many of his manoeuvres were not as the book - obviously out of respect for the conditions. His climb and dive exited and entered over the top of the circle. He also did a wingover into the bunts. Dave Day had another rather lean run but it didn't cause any real problems. His loops and bunts were rather eggshaped and he got blown out of the first vertical eight. The motor cut in the worst possible position and, after whipping the model round into wind, it ballooned up to around six feet and dropped like a stone - to land without a bounce!
Steve Crawford had what were probably the best conditions of the round and made a very good flight which was only spoiled by the landing which bounced for almost a full lap. The undercarriage location on the 'Zilch' is far from ideal. Pete Clinton concluded the round and managed to crash the model upwind while frantically running backwards on the exit from the 'S'. The model merely swiped the ground and stopped the motor. Pete elected to restart and got into similar difficulties while climbing to enter the bunts. Sadly, the model was badly damaged this time.
First round leader Mick Taylor had now dropped to third position, but it was still very close.
Maurice Doyle used his 'Taurus', which has won on two previous occasions.
He might well have managed it again but for hitting the ground in round three.
Maurice is currently building a 'Checkala Roma' for next year.
Once again traditional Nats weather with the lightest winds of the weekend. Things were obviously getting serious at this point, as both Dave Day and Maurice Doyle were observed having early morning practice flights. Dave was attempting to discover why his motor would not respond to opening the needle, while Maurice was probably practising landings!
Dave Hardwick produced his best flight of the meeting and was followed by Mick Taylor who, not surprisingly, went back to the 'Dragon' and produced another impressive flight. Geoff Stevenson followed and produced his best flight. Despite the better wind conditions, Geoff was still running backwards most of the time.
Dave Day had expressed his dislike of the very strong sun and managed to start his flight just as it went behind a cloud. It emerged just as the model landed! In desperation, Dave had changed the plug in the motor and was rewarded by a superb run at just the right time. This was Dave's highest score and the highest score of the contest.
Terry Taylor produced another superb landing and recorded his highest score. He was followed by Maurice Doyle who was clearly trying hard and managed to hit the ground on the outside half of the horizontal eights. Fortunately, damage was limited to the fin.
Steve Crawford concluded things with a very nice flight to record a score which could have got him into the first three if he had managed it earlier
So, a very close contest between the same three flyers as in the last three years concluded with a third successive win for Dave Day. Next year's contest should be even closer if Messrs Doyle and Taylor have their way...
Dave Day's winning 'Box Car Chief' was built from the remains of the machine
which won in '94 and '95. Powered by an ST 35.
|Position||Name||Model/Motor||Round 1||Round 2||Round 3||Score|
|1||Dave Day||Box Car Chief/ST 35||386||397||414||811|
|2||Mick Taylor||Dragon/0S 40||400||382||407||807|
|3||Maurice Doyle||Taurus/Fox 59||389||404||183||793|
|4||Steve Crawford||Zilch/Fox 35||376||388||394||782|
|6||Geoff Stevenson||Barnstormer/OS 40||314||303||338||652|
|7||Dave Hardwick||Barnstormer/Stalker 40||300||306||313||619|
|8||Tom Jolley||Curtis Swift/Frog 500||367||59||-||426|
|9||Pete Clinton||Barnstormer/Stalker 40||190||89||-||279|