Sadly, Jocky Sanderson has commitments in Turkey this year which mean that he couldn’t commit to ensuring that the X-Lakes took place. To ensure that the X-Lakes was able to continue to develop he got in touch with previous event winner and local vet, Rod Welford and his regular X-Lakes supporter, (also a vet and fellow pilot), James Allcock.
They soon realised that they would need some technical and expert competition experience so asked Richard Bungay if he would be prepared to help out again. Richard is a very experienced pilot and part of UK Airsports near Keswick. He has many years of high-level competition experience including running the scoring for the Gin Wide Open in recent years.
Finally, last year newbie, Dave Drewette from Scotland, offered to help develop a brand-new web presence and to manage the website. Alongside his techie skills, Dave is a passionate hill runner and enthusiastic Hike and Fly addict. Before paragliding Dave gained significant experience in skydiving, with nearly 1000 jumps.
We have had an unprecedented response to this year’s event and, despite the website crashing briefly, the two-day, ‘Hardcore’ event sold out within 50 minutes! As we write there are nearly 100 people keen to participate in one or other event. A huge change from the few we had just two years ago.
Since the X-Lakes Challenge is being run as a not-for-profit, fundraiser this year, the prime goal is to satisfy the wishes of pilots who want to take part. This is especially important to us because so many people have had to endure some tough times over recent months.
We have therefore been working hard to see whether we can arrange a means by which more people can take part than we originally planned for. There are some technical, practical and safety challenges to consider. However, it’s absolutely fantastic to see so many people keen to support the event and it would be really brilliant if everybody could enjoy a weekend of adventure with us in this fabulous arena.
Of course, this year presents an extra and unknown dimension: keeping everyone happy and safe in relation to the Coronavirus pandemic. We think that we are well placed to find ways in which everyone’s safety can be managed fairly easily. However, public perception and Whitehall rules are another thing altogether!
In that regard, and based on recent news updates, we have decided that the first step to help ensure that we can accommodate many more entrants, is to bump the event date forward into June. We have chosen to avoid the school holidays and now plan to make the X-Lakes Challenge available to everyone who has registered on the weekend of June 26th and 27th. This date gives us more options for venues that can cope with bigger numbers and a much better chance of managing a ‘Covid-safe’ event.
We don’t intend to plan a fall-back weekend this year but will try to ensure that alternate outdoor activities are available for friends and family and for the participants too if the weather makes the Challenge too unpleasant to contemplate for anyone. We will get back in touch over the next few weeks with more details.
With your name down on any for either race, or on either waiting list, you now have some choices regarding your personal preference:
• If you really wanted to do the two-day race but instead booked onto the one-day, please get in touch and let us know.
• If you missed out on either race and got your name on the waiting list, then you now have the chance to pay the balance and confirm a full entry. Get in touch so we can issue the payment request.
• If the new date is no good for you for any reason, then we are happy to refund your donation to the event if you get in touch and let us know. Unfortunately, Paypal will retain their transaction fee.
We are now working as hard as we can to ensure that the X-Lakes Challenge forms some of your best memories in 2021. We think that getting as many of you involved as possible, alongside making good, safe arrangements for friends, families and supporters will all be vital to the event’s success. Leave it with us, and we will update you with detail by email, through the webpages and by telegram, over the next few weeks. Please do feel free to get in touch with any queries, questions or comments at any time.
Once again, many thanks for the fantastic support you’ve already shown to the success of the X-Lakes Challenge in 2021.
With best regards,
James, Rod, Richard and Dave
For a ‘hoofnfly’ fusion of running & flying, see youtube.com/watch?v=MV2ufhTUWqg