Foiled Again ...
The skies were not as crowded this
year but that didn't stop Bill Watkins.
Defending champ Joe Belyeu records
a kill over Noah Engelmann in the round robin playoffs.
Engines roared again at the WBC aerodrome. Pilots from around
the world came and flew the Sopwith Camel and Fokker DR1. Many
took advantage of the format allowing dogfights throughout the
Host at any time. The circuses were also well attended with new
pilots learning or relearning how to fly. Fabio Pellegrimio provided
his Italian accent and stories to the Wednesday Circus. He learned
the game in the 80's and was pleased to see it still in action
during the convention. Shawn Dorsey had a tough learning session
with many dogfights against the top pilots, but learning all
the while and registering four wins in his last seven flights.
If only the real pilots had the luxury of living through such
on-the-job training lessons.
The Championship Circus was a round-robin of the top six qualifiers.
After a week of flying, the finalists included the last three
former champions. Defending champ Joe Belyeu entered the Final
as the highest qualifier with an average flight of 4.48, which
means he shot down many during the week while being downed himself
only four times ... three of those being dual shootdowns. Previous
champions joining the Final were George Deutsch and Richard Irving
with average dogfights of 3.67 and 3.06, respectively. Joining
them was Bill Burch, the second qualifier, Grant Ladue, the third
qualifier, and Noah Engelman. With a few issues being raised
on the type of flying available in the basic game, the Final
added several rules to aid in avoiding those situations that
lead to extended games and possible deadlocks. Both modifications
were provided to the finalists at the beginning of the Circus.
The modifications will be reviewed during the year and possibly
added to the full week rules for next year.
Grant jumped out fast in Round 1 with a quick victory over
Bill and one of only two whitewashes in the Final. The defending
champ faced 3-time title holder George in this round and Joe
came away with a difficult, but huge, 6.5 to 1.5 victory. Richard
defeated Noah 7-3.
Joe remained strong in Round 2 with a 6-4 defeat of Noah.
George rediscovered his flying wings but it was not enough against
Bill as George fell 8.5-7.5 as the overtime rules kicked in for
the first time with dogfights continuing until a pilot is shot
down. Grant and Richard tested the overtime rule severely as
they battled to a 9-all standoff, before Grant ended it with
a 2-point shot.
Joe and 2009 champ Richard met in the third round. They started
quick with the infamous page 20, head-on double shot for a 2-2
start. Richard found a second close shot for the lead and after
a fair trade of shots, Richard found victory as he ended with
page 20 again and a 6.5-4.5 win. Meanwhile, Grant topped George
7-5 as Bill downed Noah 7-4.
In Round 4 Joe returned to his winning ways with a 6-4 decision
over Bill. George took the measure of Richard in an even closer
6-5 contest as Grant continued his winning ways with a 6-2 downing
George scored a 6-0 shutout of Noah and Richard took a 6-5
victory over Bill to complete another year at the aerodrome.
But in the final round, the title came down to defending champion
Joe and perennial contender Grant's climactic duel. It started
in one-sided fashion as Joe shot to a commanding 4-point lead.
Grant rebounded with a 2-point shot as Joe tried too hard for
the kill. The two then settled in for an extended dogfight as
caution took priority. Finally, Joe found the maneuver to get
a kill shot and win 6-2 for a successful defense of his title
while Grant - in true Snoopy fashion - cursed the Red Baron with
his fifth straight runner-up finish.
Bill Burch has another victim in his
Kaarin Engelmann does her Amelia Earhart reinactment