... that there is pressure on Thunder at the Paraclete XP Outdoor Championship 2012?
Jacco van Eerden with Dutch team Pulse
posted Feb 28th, 2012 -
The situation for an international lineup like Thunder is not easy if the team is eager to compete at the high-profile competitions in the world. Only national teams are eligible to compete at FAI/IPC events, and guest teams are usually not accepted. However, fortunately there are more and more other high-profile events where international lineups have the opportunity to compete directly with the best national teams in the world.
Belgian 8way team at the World Meet 2008 in Maubeuge, France
The indoor meets offer an easier opportunity for an international team or other pickup teams to meet the best national teams in the world, and Thunder has taken advantage of this situation between 2010 and 2012. It is much more difficult to find outdoor opportunities. Valentine's Meet 2010, Tomscat Trophy 2011 and ESL Championship 2011 were the only outdoor events where Thunder could compete so far.
Thunder won both 2011 events without much competition, and only Arizona Airspeed was another serious AAA Class opponent at the Valentine's Meet 2010. This year, Thunder will experience the first outdoor competition with the best teams in the world at the same place and the same time after signing up for the Paraclete XP Outdoor Championship 2012 in March in DeLand.
Thunder is well prepared to challenge the other top teams, such as Satori and SDC Rhythm XP, as the 27.9 indoor average shows. The best "amateur team" in the field, the DeLand Norgies, may also have a hard time to fend off the Thunder charge for the unofficial title of the best amateur team in the world. This challenge will continue when Thunder meets the German national team Paratec-Saar at the World Challenge 2012 a few weeks later.
Thunder at the Valentine's Meet 2010 - Thunder at the World Challenge 2011
Thunder at the Valentine's Meet 2010
The Thunder project began in 2010 when former Hayabusa member Sven Ibens and former Dynamic Fource member Paul Hofstee recruited Sven Ibens' Belgian 8way team mate of 2008, Wesley Claessens, and former Dutch Pulse member Jacco van Eerden for the international team. Goal was to get to the 20-point average level with the "weekend amateur team". Wesley Claessens and Jacco van Eerden both had not even been close to such a performance level with their previous teams.
The 17.4 average at Thunder's first competition at the Valentine's Meet 2010 was far away from the goal, and the 26.4 indoor average in Roosendaal in November came after a 7-round meet with an easy and limited dive pool.
The 2011 season brought the 22.4 average at the World Challenge 2011 after ten rounds and with the complete dive pool, but the draw also included a Super Sequence. Thunder posted a much higher average (25.6) again at the Roosendaal indoor competition in November, but only after nine rounds and still with a limited dive pool.
Thunder at the Tomscat Trophy 2011
Thunder actually beat the 20-point average level (20.1) at the Tomscat Trophy in June 2011. It was still not the real deal, as it was only an 8-round meet. Thunder finally completed ten outdoor rounds at the ESL Championship 2011 but missed the 20-point average by two points. The original goal is still to be accomplished.
The next opportunity comes up in little over two weeks when the best teams in the world meet in DeLand for the annual Shamrock Showdown Skins Game at the Paraclete XP Outdoor Championship 2012. There is not much of a doubt that Thunder will not even look at the 20-point average level. The 27.9 average at the Aerokart Indoor Championship 2012 indicates that Thunder is well past the original goal for an outdoor competition.
However, fact is that the real numbers still need to be posted first before they really count. The pressure is on...