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1961 George Reich, 54, USA

This year's gathering for the Wakefield Cup event was held at the Allgau area of Bavaria, near the village of Leutkirch, in Southern Germany. Twenty-one nations, represented by 61 contestants, were on hand to compete for the Cup. Team USA, led by Pete Sotich, the President of the AMA, included the Team Manager Herb Kothe, himself a Team Member in 1958 and 59; George Reich, on The Team in 1953, he missed tying for first place by one second, a Team Member in 1958, George is the fabled Dick Korda's brother in law; Carl Perkins, and Jim Patterson who was on the 1958 Team, rounded out an experienced, capable Team. Russia was represented by W Zapaschny, fifth last year, I Ivannikov, thirty-seventh last year, and J Sokolov. Team Canada was ready with D MacKenzie, who was sixth last year, K Boufield, and M Seagrave. Team Poland included J Kosinski, who was on the Team last year, S Zurad who was second in 1958, and W Niestoj. Team Yugoslavia, was back this year, after having missed the 1959 contest at Brienne Le Chateau, represented by E Fresl, a 1958 Team Member, W Kmoch, and J Merori. Team Czechoslovakia came with M Rohlena, J Cunderlik, and L Muzny a member of the Team in 1955 and 1959. Absent this year was Frantisek Dvorak, the 1959 Wakefield International Cup Champion, or any previous Wakefield Champion for that matter. This is very strange because the reigning WC is automatically invited back the following year to defend their title, but even the 1959 Nordic Glider Champion Gerald Ritz, was absent from this year's WC (IK: the invitation to champions to defend their titles in FAI championships was introduced by CIAM two decades after this). The UK was again led by John O' Donnell, who made the Team in 1953, 54, 55, 56 and 58, with him were G Roberts, who was on the Team last year, and N Elliott. The stage was set with veteran players, and again it was anyone's contest to win. Monday, August 31, dawned clear, with minimal winds in Bavaria. The flying field was the private airfield of a Bavarian Nobleman, and this year's co-sponsors for the World Championships were the AMA and the German Aero Club. ROUND 1 to 5: In round 1 there was 29, 180 second maximum flights; round 2, 31 maxes; 25 in round 3; 31 in round 4; and 25 in round 5! But, only three contestants had five perfect rounds, they were: A Alinari (I), J Kosinsid (SP), and G Reich (N). Only these three began to prepare for the 7:00pm fly-off round. While holding back the surrounding crowd, a German official inadvertently smashed the left wingtip on George Reich's Wakefield! George, as calm and cool a competitor as any involved in the Wakefield event, soothed the now despondent man, and calmly repaired the damaged wing. Remember Ambroid was the only glue used at that time, and it was slow setting, cyanoacrylate (CA) did not even exist then, at least not as we use it today. While waiting for the glue to set, George checked the wingtip on his model box. Than he got up to prepare a 50 gram rubber motor for the task ahead. ROUND 6: The all or nothing at all, DT locked down, fly-off round. The wind had shifted 180 degrees, and a layer had moved in to cool any real thermal activity. Kosinski of Poland had wound up and launched, flying a Wakefield similar to his Teammate Zurad (see page 80, 1964-65 MAYB, Frank Zaic). Reich, and Alinari had only three minutes to get airborne now! George quickly began winding his 50 gram, 16 strand, 1/4 inch Pirelli rubber motor now. Herb Kothe the USA Team Manager held the anchor pin, while George cranked on his converted hand-drill. At the nose block now, George cranked in the last of the 480 turns, and quickly, inserted the propeller front end. Wasting no more of the precious seconds remaining George quickly checked his Wakefield and launched! He watched his aeromodel climb above the now descending Kosinski. Finally Alinari was away, just ahead of the sound of the round closing horn, but his Wakefield lacked energy, and was climbing poorly. Even the cheering crowd was quiet as all three transitioned into the glide pattern, Reich was highest. Alinari was down first, with only 169 seconds. Kosinski still had a chance, but Reich's Wakefield was climbing higher. Both Wakefields were down now, but who had won? Finally after a quick confirmation by the officials the names went up on the Leader board:

Place Name Country Round 1-5 Round 6 Total
1 G Reich USA 900 210 1110
2 J Kosinski POL 900 207 1107
3 A Alinari ITA 900 169 1069
4 L Azor HUN 887
5 W Niestoj POL 882
6 L Rifaud FRA 880
7 W Zapascbny CCCP 875
8 E Fresi YUG 874
9 S Sjogren SWE 870
10 J Petiot FRA 865
Access full results
Hold it, Herb (Herb Kothe). America wins the Cup!Hold it, Herb (Herb Kothe). America wins the Cup!
George Reich was carried back to the waiting, cheering throng on top of the station wagon chase vehicle, as no other Champion before him ever was. After missing the 1953 fly-off round by a mere one second, George Reich deserved to be the 1961 Wakefield International Cup World Champion on this historic day.
1961 Team results
1 Poland POL 2600 2 5 23
2 USSR USR 2553 7 14 20
3 USA USA 2529 1 22 26
4 Yugoslavia YUG 2510 8 17 27
5 Italy ITA 2481 3 27 30
6 Sweden SWE 2459 9 18 38

References

The National M.A. Meet in pictures, Frank Zaic
1964-65 Model Aeronautics Year Book, Frank Zaic
M.A.N. April 1961, Max Maker, George Reich
M.A.N. Dec 1961, FF Internats, Peter Chinn
M.A.N. May 1962, Prop-portunity, George Reich

Music: "Moon River"; Literature: "The Agony and the Ecstasy"; Cine: "Jules and Jim"

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