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Photographer: Olli Barthelmes

Location: Hay, Australia

Following a single days rest after the Hay Open, the 2004 Pre-Worlds began in Hay and ran from 15th January to the 21st January. With a 63 pilot strong field, the competition was shaping up well. Following a mild pilot revolt at the Hay Open, the organisers promised some much bigger flights than experienced in the previous competition - and they delivered. Task flights began at 140km and ranged up to 243km over the four valid tasks.

As with the Hay Open climatic conditions were much milder than normally experienced in Hay. A couple of days caught some people off-guard as the day was so cool that fleeces had to be worn - and who brings a fleece to Hay! Despite the milder conditions, the flying was fantastic with lots of people making goal and lots of personal bests. The Japanese team were making personal bests everyday with lots of happy, smiling and noisy Japanese in goal each day. The longest task for the competition was 243km with 35 pilots making goal. There was a little bit of drinking that night!

Of the potential seven days, only four were scored tasks. We nearly had a fifth day, however with quite a few pilots on task, the day was cancelled due to a massive storm and rain front on course. It was amazing (and a little scary) flying in these conditions.

Our top three for the competition were Brett Hazlett, Oleg Bonderchuk and Jon Durand Jnr. The new Litespeed S once featured strongly, occupying seven positions of the top ten, and thirteen of the top twenty positions. Well done to all of the pilots and organisers of the 2004 Pre-Worlds.

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