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Team Radical
Team Radical
Team Radical

In the summer of 1993 Mark had just graduated from University and had a little spare time on his hands before starting work.  This was when the kite flying bug struck.  Initially only Mark was "affected", but soon he was dragging Jeanette along to the field to fly as well.  After flying a pair of home made kites together on holiday in September 1993, Mark & Jeanette decided that flying with other people was definitely the way to go.  Having mentioned this to the owners of their local kite store, they were put in touch with a like minded individual named Stephen Hoath.  The three of them got together and in January 1994 the team Sky Dance was born!

The first year was very much a learning experience for all, but the bug had definitely hit.  The team could be seen practising at the local park 20 hours a week, on top of full time jobs.  Having survived the first year as a team and deciding that all the work was worthwhile, Sky Dance began their 2nd

Sky Dance Flying

 season.  This was to be the year in which most growth took place.  From a pretty unexciting 2nd in the UK Experienced class competition in 1994, the team progressed to take 2nd in the UK Masters class and went on to win the European Championship in only their 2nd year.  This led to the highlight of that year as they were then qualified for the 1995 World Championships in Australia.  Despite difficult conditions during their performance the

team excelled "down under" placing 6th in Precision and 3rd in Ballet, giving a very respectable 4th Overall in their first ever World Cup.

This success fired up the team and made them even more determined to win the titles that had so far eluded them.  1996 was to be the year for this dream to turn to reality.  It began at home with Sky Dance taking the UK National title over, good friends and strong rivals, Airkraft.  This win meant qualification again for the European Championships and, as was to be the pattern for this year, Sky Dance again topped the table taking home the European Cup to add to the cabinet.  This left just one final hurdle for the year.  The team was now qualified for the World Championships in Japan, but

when the date was announced, the team was thrown in to turmoil as the first day of competition in Japan would also be the same day that Jeanette's only  brother would get married!  Jeanette then made the toughest decision of her life and decided that after all of the hard work, the team would indeed go to Japan and she would miss the wedding!  She was not quite sure if this was the correct decision for quite a while, but as the team stood on the podium and she lifted the World Cup, she was at last convinced that her decision was justified!  This was an amazing year and was topped off by the fact that after the World Cup came one last competition for the year.  This was the Malaysian Airlines

On the podium

World Sport Kite Grand Prix and was a fantastic event hosted by the city of Kota Kinabalu, Malaysia.  The Worlds best individuals, pairs and teams were invited and not wishing to break the tradition of the year Sky Dance again left the field carrying the winners trophy.  The team is very proud of this year and it led to a first that has yet to be matched – one team winning the British, European and World Championships in the same year!

The question for Sky Dance at the beginning of 1997 was "now what?".  Having had such a year before, what could they achieve in 1997.  The one thing that was going through everyone's mind was, there is only one way to go from the top….down!!  They were determined not to let this happen, so hours of practice were increased, moves were flown closer and choreography was checked and re-checked.  Sky Dance was not to be beaten.  Well, although they did not manage to retain their UK title, this only served to strengthen their resolve, leading them on to once again take the European Cup and finally the World Championships. 

Sky Dance with the World Cup

UK National Champions once, European Champions 3 years running and World Champions 2 years in a row!  This was the legacy of Sky Dance and was the memory that they decided to leave with the World.  At the end of the 1997 season Sky Dance retired from competition and decided to relax and enjoy their success.

During these competitive years the team, along with non-competitive team members Ian Webb and Susan Goodchild (now Hoath), had also put on many public displays at both kite and non-kite events.  This was something that they all enjoyed doing the most and so after retiring from competition, they attended many events around the World providing demonstrations for hundreds of thousands of people.  Before finally deciding to stop flying together in 1999, the team did have one final moment that will remain with them forever. 

This was towards the end of 1998 at the World Championships in Dieppe, France.  Having won the Cup for the previous 2 years, Sky Dance returned once more to the event that they loved, but this time to return the trophy and to fly first to warm up the judges. (The idea of this is that a routine is flown

Our kites

for the judges to watch and score, to warm them up before the real competitors fly.  This score is only used by them as a comparison to see if they are all on the same scale and is then discarded without ever being disclosed.)  This was the teams request and they were lucky enough to be granted their wish.  Returning the cup itself was an emotional experience, with the team being paraded through the streets of Dieppe with the cup, before arriving in the centre

of the arena in front of all of the competitors and thousands of spectators. However, the best was yet to come!

The precision event took place and the teams were all nicely placed going in to the ballet.  Sky Dance

then entered the ballet field before team number 1, tested the wind and set themselves up as usual.  The music rolled and as if the mere aura of the event engulfed them, Sky Dance proceeded to fly one of the best & cleanest routines that they had ever flown.  The crowd roared their approval, the other

Sky Dance refuelled

competitors applauded and Sky Dance walked off their last World Cup field feeling as proud as the first time they had won that cup.  It was an experience to be savoured for ever!!

The team would not have made it to where it did without the support of it's friends, family & sponsors and would very much like to thank them all for the incredible help that they all provided.  We hope that those of you who knew us enjoyed our routines half as much as we did and we look forward to meeting up with you all on a kite field some day!

*** Clean winds and happy flying – Team Sky Dance  ***