Tim Mace, (South Africa) is competing at the Mondial in the two demonstration events, Paraski and Speed Skydiving. However, I interviewed him about his award of the FAI Gold Parachuting Medal. This was formally presented to him by Graeme Windsor, IPC President, at the final medal ceremony of the Mondial. A fitting act of recognition of an outstanding achievement in representing his country in all the Parachuting Disciplines at First Category Events over a period of 27years.
Tim stated that it was never his intention to seek to achieve this range of representation, but stemmed from his passion from jumping out of aircraft, and what could be achieved beyond that. As he acquired new skills and experience in each discipline he made it his objective to do his absolute best and as a consequence, ended up being selected to represent his country.
He competed at his first International Championship in Paraski in 1981, before it was accepted into the FAI calendar as a First Category Event.
He became a member of G.B's. FS 8-way Team "Mo" and attended his first FS World Championships 1985 in Mali Losing, (then Yugoslavia) Again he competed with "Mo" in 1989 FS World Championships in Empuria Brava, Spain.
In the early 1990's he was selected to train as the first British astronaut, along with a British woman, at the Russian "space centre". During that time "Mo" attended the Moscow Cup (the fore runner of the Malevski Cups) and earned his first medal. The team disbanded and Tim moved to South Africa.
In 1998 the first 16-Way World Cup happened in Empuria Brava, but trying to keep 16+ people together with the same level of commitment is impossible and there never has been a World Championship in this event.
Tim found that there were not the jumpers (then - he stressed) at his standard in FS in South Africa and so he turned to the exciting new discipline of Artisitc Events.
2003 Gap, France (Mondial) - he competed in Freestyle and Freefly. He followed that in 2004 by competing in Style and Accuracy, returning in 2005 to a favourite, Paraski; competing in that discipline in 2007, 2009, 2011 and here in Dubai. Meanwhile in 2006 he proved his skill in SkySurf and then in 2008 competed in CF 2-Way Sequential. Over the first six rounds they took it in turns to fly camera, each team member performing 2 rounds as camerflyer with the best results gaining the cameraflyer slot for the last rounds.
In 2010 came Canopy Piloting in the smoke of Russia.
Earlier this year he decided to find out more about Speed Skydiving, and research felt he could develop this skill as well - as a style jumper he already knew about speed on exit. After around 15 jumps he was already achieving over 400 and so decided to enter the World Series this year instead of next. He ended up in 7th position in the series and so was invited to particiapte here. He achieved 5th place. He had tried out a new suit, very arodynamic, so much so that his speed really took some controlling and twice he went out of bounds, so he did not use it for the last round..
He believes that the majority could reach 400, but going above that is where the skill comes in. As a competition it is easy to organise and run and the judgement is done by the software when the Pro Tracks is plugged into the computer and gives the unprotestable result. He feels this is a very simple and clean new discipline, and is one that many jumpers could try and gain both increased skills and improved confidence (learn to cope with the nerves!).
When asked how he felt this competition compared with the 25 others he has attended: he said there was no comparison. "This is outstanding in its size, facilities, hotels, food, competitors tents, but despite all of that it lacks some basic skydiving requirements - like covered packing and creeping areas."
He still has a huge passion for jumping out of an airplane, but believes that the only other "new" discipline on the horizon is Wingsuit flying. The exciting thing is there is always something new to learn, skills to develop and he intends to continue, only limited by time, money and talent.
Susan Dixon, Dubai 2012