After a lot of work slope racing in the UK has finally received official status. Below is a brief update on what we are trying to do to raise the profile in the UK and establish ourselves for the future:
I am sure the history of slope racing which I have documented below could be challenged, so I apologise for any inaccuracies, unfortunately I am still relatively new to the sport.
Slope racing in different forms has been organised at club and national level since the early seventies and possibly before then in the UK. In the mid eighties F3F racing was born by the Danes. From this time forward, various individuals have given up an enormous amount of time in the UK to organise slope racing. This group of pilots have remained in the whole independent. In the UK we have hosted 3 Viking races and before that the North Sea cup. Viking races have been hosted by many countries around Europe, which is incredible when you look at the amount of work it takes to organise these events.
In 2010 / 2011 F3F was finally recognised by the FAI, which led to the first world championships in Germany. This was without doubt a fantastic event. Those who were lucky enough to attend would all agree Franz Demmler and his team put together a contest that will be remembered for many years to come.
For the UK to bring this together and understand the process required, to send the best team and manager was not easy to achieve. It also showed that we needed to be much better organised and operate closer with our governing body the BMFA.
After I returned from the world championships, I set about looking at how this could be best achieved, how all the pilots could be involved in this process and decision making. Along with Jon Edison we spoke to a number of pilots to understand how they felt about the current organisation. Whilst it fitted what we needed for local league etc, it was clear improvements to raise this ever growing sports profile in the UK were essential.
With the information gained, Jon and I put together a proposal to submit to the BMFA to give us specialist body status. We wrote with close assistance from the BMFA, a constitution and proposal which was submitted in August. On Saturday the 7th September we presented the proposal to the BMFA Council in Leicester and they voted unanimously in favour of the specialist body.
So what does this mean?
· Secure the future of Slope racing in the UK and to promote the continued growth of slope soaring.
· To Provide the Slope Racing community the opportunity through an organised structure to have a direct input into the running of their sport.
· To manage the expectations of the F3F flyers and provide a democratic organisation to best suits their needs
· To raise the profile of F3F and give it appropriate representation on the BMFA
· Provide a representation on the BMFA Silent Flight Technical Committee.
Jon Edison, John Phillips and Peter Gunning have all stepped forward to form the first committee, which will work towards getting the association up and running. Julian Perrott from BarkWeb, a keen F3F pilot from East Sussex Slope Soaring club, has kindly offered to design and host our website. This will be released over the next few weeks. More details will be available once the website is up and running, including the constitution, how to join the association and support Slope Racing going forward.
So what will we be known as “Great Britain Slope Racing Association” or GBSRA. This will also enable us to also have the full potential to introduce new classes where possible.
I hope everyone is in agreement and understand why this was a necessary requirement going forward.
BMFA League Coordinator.