Having arrived at circa 1am last night and then got some beers in, we had a pretty lazy morning. I wandered down to the kitchen, following my nose, to find someone organised had started making bacon sarnies! This weekend I had enough to think about so had just planned to pop out to a cafe when food was needed.
After a bit of googling, I found a garden centre just 5 min up the road – perfect. When Jesse emerged shortly later, he was sceptical but trusted me that this was guaranteed to have a good breakfast. Why on earth would a garden centre be making breakfast? Well this must be a UK oddity but honestly, Saturday mornings at a garden centre are the BEST PLACE to get breakfast. Thoroughly convinced of my absurd brilliance and full of a good breakfast, Jesse and I headed back to the WhoopHaus to catch up with the rest of the WhoopHorde.
Having arrived late, this was the first proper look at the
house hotel manor Mike had organised. It was a VAST and beautiful Edwardian era two storey country manor house, set in wide grassy grounds with REALLY tall trees lining the sweeping driveway. Standing in the gorgeous bay windows looking thru what must have been the original sash’s you can see a terrazzo patio leading to steps down into the gardens.
Here we found a bunch of chaps with all sorts of sizes of drones from 1 inch little rippers to 3 inch cinewhoops to 5 inch racers. Everyone was really chilled out and taking it in turns to buzz around the house and trees. I was very envious to have left my 3 inch basher at home. I’ll have to bring it next time…
The screaming motors soon roused the stragglers, including the Germans we had met last night at Racecastle.We head off to the cooling towers of the former Willington power station, not 5 mins drive down the road. It was so close, some of the DRC guys considered flying there from the Manor with their long range rigs! I’m sure it would have worked, but if something had gone wrong, they would never have found them!
After negotiating a soggy field and a muddy ditch, we found a gap in the fence and let ourselves in. The majority of the industrial pipes and machinery has been removed a long time ago, so the huge skeleton of the cooling towers are just left propped up on their twiggy legs. Reaching the edge of the base, we could look up inside them and see nothing bur clear sky. The echo you get from yelling was crazy as it bounced around for ages. If no one had seen us break in, they surely would have heard us, the racket we were making, just enjoying the echo! Especially when the quads got going!
This is the best environment for a quad because everything is made of concrete and doesnt matter if you hit it – guaranteed your quad will come off worse! The bigger quads each had a go flipping and diving around. It was a bit sketchy going from where we stood outside, to inside the towers because as soon as you did you lost video and were left with barely usable static.
I found this out the hard way, as earlier, Jesse had challenged me to dive the cooling tower for “Pink Slips” (ownership) of the quad – a bit of a street car racing reference. I don’t think he was serious but I was interested to know if a whoop could contend with the big boys. I didn’t even think a whoop would make the climb to the top of the tower, but it did! Then after a few failed attempts, due to wind, to get thru a doorway (wtf a door was doing half way up a cooling tower I’ve no idea) I reached the rim. Being THAT high up with a whoop that weighs less than a lettuce leaf is really daunting. But it made it, and then came the dive into the tower and suddenly – nothing. Instantly my video went to zero. There was a barely discernible circle of darker static in the field of medium static so I just kept that in the centre of my vision and hoped that the image would come back before I ploughed into the stones on the floor. Luckily the closer I got to the ground the better the video got and I pulled out with no issues! It was incredible and I can only imagine what the bigger quads feel like pulling that manoeuvre. Being so light the whoop just floated down slowly and easily fit thru the gap to exit, but a larger quad that costs 10x the price and travels 10x faster is a whole other kettle of fish.
Jesse P, not to be outdone, put his googly LED HD whoop up and dove about the place. The video that whoop must have collected should be great! But in the end he hit the side and landed on a battery. It had a huge dent but no explosion which is a good endorsement of the quality! I gave it another go diving the tower but this time lost control, hit the wall, ripped off all my LED’s and landed in the water. Game Over
Back to the WhoopHaus and getting dark we ordered a huge Chinese takeaway and Indian takeaway. When this arrived we spread it out on the 10m long banqueting table and all tucked in. There was SO MUCH FOOD of all types. Everyone was stuffed and we didn’t mind having chinese for the second day running. This is when the drinking started. Having promised me that Saturday night people would take it easy – I didn’t believe a word of it – the Germans pulled out Dobble and shots of Rum and Vodka and that was just the start…They also had some weird sherberty kids sweet powder that you took in your mouth and then poured vodka thru. You basically get a personal flavoured vodka shot, which is cool!
Driving, so not drinking, I went in search of the WhoopHaus racetrack. This had been set up around the house, up one set of stairs, along the landing and down the grand staircase, into one of the 4 sitting rooms, thru a couple gates and back out again. There were some really tricky gates on the “up” stairs arranged adjacently on the bannister. Most of the time people practise a ladder vertically up or gates side by side, so these at 45 deg really thru us all off! Someone had set up a lap timer so my first laps were about 45 seconds but eventually got them down to around 25 seconds consistently but managed a flukey 21 second lap. Dan Carpy managed a 14 second lap by the time I left – just blowing the rest of us out the water. This is why he was last year’s BIRD winner!
I left at about 22:30 when the party was in full swing. Knowing I had a LONG day tomorrow, needing to pack the van and do a few things, I wanted a good night’s sleep. As it turns out, our home was only 45 mins down the A50 so I had a nice, quiet, comfortable night sleep before the madness of BIRD2023…