Our travel to Siberia went smoothly, with a quick layover in Moscow we arrived in the morning in Novosibirsk where the organisation awaited us to accompany us to the bus that headed straight to the dropzone. Upon arrival we had breakfast, did registration, met with many dear friends that we haven’t seen for a long time due to the covid-19 pandemic.
On our first proper day, we tried to get some training jumps in but the weather did not allow it. On the second we managed to do four jumps – then the day before the competition started we got another two. This was just about enough to try out some exits and get a good feeling out of the Let-410 TurboLet. This aircraft has been the biggest challenge for most teams to train out of this season, as there are only some in Eastern Europe. Due to this, we dedicated a few training camps in the Czech Republic to get familiar with it.
Monday night was the competition draw – and going over Covid protocols. When we received the draw, we were really excited – it is a fast competition and that’s how we like it.
On Tuesday morning the nerves were coming in as we also had no idea how strong our main opponents, Qatar and the USA, would be. We have trained hard with our new member Michele Silvi, but some weather and also the Covid restrictions in Europe had a bit of a toll on the number of training jumps we would usually aim for to prepare for a World Championships.
Round 1 (O, 19, Q, 5) was fast and we ripped it -so there were happy faces when we landed for a clean score of 32 points on the board. The USA performance was clean as well but received 2 video penalties and scored 25 points. Qatar 24.
Round 2 (17, B, E, P) was another really fast jump. Again we trusted what we have done in our training and went full-on to aim for a bigger gap. 41 points – which is also a new European Record. Again the US team was unlucky with some more video penalties and they scored 35 points. This time Qatar scored 38 and found themselves in 3rd place going into round 3.
In round 3 (H, 15, 12) the USA made a comeback over Qatar. It was Belgium 23, USA 22, QATAR 19.
Round 4 was again a fast sequence (M, N, 7, F) and we managed to break the European record again from the previous round, now with 43 points.
The USA got 39, and a few hiccups for QATAR at 35.
Round 5 was our last round of the day (K, L, C, 4). We found that we had a comfortable and unexpected lead over both the USA and QATAR so we decided to go for slightly tougher engineering for this round. This took its toll though, and we lost 4 points in the judging room. Belgium 30, USA 26, Qatar 26.
Overall, we have been very happy with our first day of the championships and feel confident for the rounds to come – although the weather for the next few days does not look promising. The day came to an end with the official opening ceremony – with dancers, fireworks, and welcome speeches from the officials. Now it is time to rest and charge the batteries for the coming days.