Buckland Soaring Award

The GNZ Contest Management Committee (now called the Sailplane Racing Committee) set up the Buckland Soaring Awards in 1998 in memory of Greg Buckland.  Greg was a Canterbury GC member who held a Gold Badge with 3 Diamonds plus 1000km diploma and flew competitions in his ASW 20 ZK-GRD.  He was a member of the NZ team selected for the 1995 World Championships in Omarama.  Greg was a bricklayer by trade and had many sporting interests. Tragically and shockingly, he lost his life in a Scuba diving accident in January 1994 before he could compete in the Worlds.

The Gliding Kiwi magazine of Aug/Sept 1998 introduced the new awards thus:

“In recognition of this colourful and respected soaring friend, the following two awards have been set up to honour Greg’s contribution to soaring and our lives.

These two awards have been endorsed by the Contest Management Committee and are intended to provide tangible recognition for soaring achievements in either the North or South Islands.  Rules are to promote soaring, not paperwork and operate on the principle that soaring pilots are honest.  (Take note of the 40% bonus applied to North Island flights!)

OPEN award – valued at $2,000* for any pilot.

GOLD award – valued at $2,000* – restricted to those pilots who have not claimed their gold badge by the first day of this contest in that year.

* Subject to the level of sponsorship received.”

Key points of the detailed rules were that:

  • Contest flights didn’t count
  • Winner stood down for two seasons
  • Scoring factors were 1.0 for undeclared free distance round any number of TPs, 1.2 for declared O/R or 3TP quadrilateral, 1.5 for declared triangle, 2 for declared FAI triangle
  • Scores for up to 4 flights aggregated
  • Flights had to be formally claimed.

The trophy was a model of Greg’s ASW 20 set on a pole above a house brick, symbolising his trade.

The inaugural winner in 1998 for the Open was Max Stevens.  Unfortunately, there was no claimant for the Gold.

From 1999 to 2001, there were no claimants.

In 2002, Terry Delore won the Open, and Wes McIver won the Gold.

In 2003, Roy Edwards won the Open, no claimant for the Gold

In 2004, there were no claimants for either award, prompting the GNZ Executive to raise this apparent lack of interest at the AGM that year, where a mandate was given to review the rules while continuing the original concept but without the monetary aspect.

Again in 2005, there were no claimants, and the AGM of that year strongly supported an Executive remit to replace the rules with simple use of the OLC, which had easy participation, no pre-flight declaration or post-flight paperwork involved, automatic scoring and no need to formally submit flights.  The AGM suggested that the 1.4 bonus factor for North Island flight be dropped in favour of having two winners, one for North Island flights and the other for South Island flights.

The GNZ MOAP was amended 1 April 2006 to adopt this concept, which set the rules as they are today:

Buckland Soaring Award

The Buckland Soaring Award is awarded to the highest scoring New Zealand resident in the New Zealand division of the Online Contest (OLC) for the previous season.  OLC handicaps and scoring is used.   There are two divisions; one for soaring flights commencing in the North Island and the other for soaring flights commencing in the South Island.  The winning pilots stand down for the following two seasons.

There is one trophy to be shared between the two winners each year. In practice, it is usual for one of the winners to keep it for the whole year. From 2006 to the present, the Buckland Soaring Award has been determined under these new rules, with the following results:

YearNorth IslandSouth Island
2023David JohnsonKeith Essex
2022Tim BromheadMike Oakley
2021David JensenGavin Wrigley
2020Pat DriessenMax Stevens
2019Tim BromheadKeith Essex
2018Ross GaddesGavin Wills
2017Pat DriessenJyri Laukkanen
2016Tim BromheadMax Stevens
2015Steve ForemanJohn Robinson
2014Pat DriessenPeter McKenzie
2013Vaughan RuddickMax Stevens
2012Tim Hardwick-SmithPhilip Plane
2011Tony PassmorePeter McKenzie
2010Vaughan RuddickHugh Turner
2009Dane DickinsonMax Stevens
2008Tony PassmoreTony Passmore
2007Adrian BlumDane Dickinson
2006Vaughan RuddickVaughan Ruddick
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