This article was first published on the Aus-soaring mailing list on 11 November 2011 and it is Max Hedt's response to scheduling the Multiclass Nationals to clash with Horsham Week 2012.
In the mid to late 1960's I was doing a lot of flying in the Boomerang in which I got my 3 diamonds by Nov 1968, [ No 6 but number 4 actually earn't in Australia and only the second 3 diamond badge fully earn't in Australia as the heights for two of those other 3 badges were done overseas.] one of the few 3 diamonds badges aren't in an all wood aircraft.
The best period for flying in those years seemed to be around the end of January and into early February. Also by then the grain farmers had finished harvest and there were the big paddocks open for landing if one got caught out.
We held our first competition in Easter 1966 but it was obvious that Easter was far too late to do any real flying.I had read an article in the American "Soaring" around that time by an American who had flown at an 8 day long competition at Angers in France. The article was called "Eight days at Angers". I realised about then that if we held a competition starting on a Saturday and going through until the following Saturday it would be a nice week of flying for most pilots and would give them time to get home on Sunday and back to work for the next week. So when the club [ Wimmera Soaring Club ] came to make a decision on what and when and if we held another competition following the not very successful 1966 Easter competition I suggested that we hold this 8 day competition beginning around the second full week in February.There were other factors involved in this timing as well as Waikerie, Benalla and a host of then new clubs were all busy organising competitions all over the place for the then very rapidly expanding gliding movement so we had to fit in.
The first 8 day, week long competition was held at Dooen out of the paddock across the highway and immediately east of the 660 foot high Dooen Wireless mast from the 18th to the 26th February 1967,. As I remember it there were 8 competitors and I think [ but am not sure ] we flew I think for all of the 8 days.
On 14 th October 1967 we moved onto Horsham's just completed new aerodrome and shifted our Hangar from Dooen to the new airstrip.The first HW competition of the airstrip was held there in February 1968.It was quite an act to move and get organised for a week long competition at that, all in 3 months.
As is the way with the dates the time of the start of the HW competition drifted forward in February and not sure what year but we had to shift it back again to the beginning of the second week in February. By the mid 1970's the date had moved forward again until it coincided with the start of the first full week in February and that was then decided to leave the 8 day Horsham Week comp starting on the Saturday of the first full week in February.
Horsham Week has remained on that date without a break since at least the mid 1970's and has been held since 1967 starting in that first couple of weeks of February.
At two competitions at least we were launching 72 gliders with 5 or 6 tugs operating and we had something like 60 gliders competing for maybe 10 or more years
So the Multi Class Nationals organisers were, to say the least, some what rude and dismissive and lacking a sense of respect for others in the gliding community and I could say a lot more, in organising the MCN's to knowingly conflict with what is arguably the world's longest running, unbroken, week long annual gliding competition which has been held now for some 45 years, 44 of those years from the same site and which still attracts between 30 and 35 gliders and competitors despite the gliding movement in Australia now being at less than half the numbers of the peak in the 1970's.