From CUGC Wiki

This is normally held annually, either at Gransden Lodge or OUGC's home airfield at RAF Bicester/RAF Weston-on-the-Green, and is the traditional opportunity for us to show our skills against "the other place".

The rules are simple: teams of 6 attempt to soar locally for up to 50 minutes, gaining one point per minute, climbing for 2 points per 100 ft, and then to land before the 50 minutes are up as there is then a deduction of 6 points per minute. Flights which receive no points for time are not allowed to claim height gains.

Women on the Varsity team can get a half-blue if they are holding a BGA Bronze certificate. Men can also get a half-blue if they are holding a BGA Silver certificate, or if they are holding a BGA Bronze certificate and fly the highest-scoring soaring flight on any given day.


This record is incomplete. If you know any details of past varsity matches, please add them to this Wiki, or email the current Webmaster.

Year Venue Result
2023 Jul Gransden Lodge Oxford 753 Cambridge 612
2022 Jun RAF Weston-on-the-Green Cambridge 584 Oxford 302
2021 Jun Gransden Lodge Cambridge 333 Oxford 279
2020 — Cancelled due to Covid-19 —
2019 Jun RAF Bicester  ???
2018 Gransden Lodge Cambridge 814 Oxford 802
2017 RAF Bicester Oxford 570 Cambridge 555
2016 Gransden Lodge Cambridge 625 Oxford 496
2015 RAF Bicester Oxford 740 Cambridge 692
2014 Gransden Lodge Oxford 525 Cambridge 478
2013 RAF Bicester Oxford 371 Cambridge 352
2012 Gransden Lodge Cambridge 38 Oxford 16
2011 RAF Bicester Oxford 129 Cambridge 88
2010 RAF Bicester Oxford 496 Cambridge 426
2009 Jun RAF Bicester Oxford 776 Cambridge 551
2007 Jul RAF Bicester Cambridge 112 Oxford 85
2006 Jul Gransden Lodge Oxford Won
2003 Jun Gransden Lodge Cambridge Won
2002 Sep RAF Bicester Oxford Won
2001 Dec RAF Bicester Cambridge Won
1998 Cross-country ladder Oxford 14671 Cambridge 13112
1997 Aug RAF Bicester Oxford 80 Cambridge 40
1996 — Cancelled —
1995 May Gransden Lodge Oxford 1083 Cambridge 1054
1994 May RAF Bicester Cambridge 458 Oxford 434
1993 May RAF Bicester Oxford 213 Cambridge 194
1992 April RAF Bicester Cambridge 192 Oxford 192
1991 RAF Bicester Oxford Won
1990 Oxford Won
1989 RAF Bicester Oxford Won by 57 Points
1988 Cambridge Won
1987 Oxford Won
1986 Cambridge Won
1985 Cambridge Won


General Rules

  1. The competition shall span three days (forming a three-day "window"), where each day may or may not be valid as "competing days".
  2. Before the start of the competition, both team captains shall agree on the full set of rules, including the scoring metrics and normalization method to be used, as well as the addition/removal of clauses to/from this article.
  3. The number of pilots in each team shall not exceed six, and the team members shall be decided before the start of the competition. Provisional teams should be declared at least one week in advance.
    1. As agreed at the 2023 Varsity Match. If it is not possible for all team members to be present across the full three-day window, then - on mutual approval from both team captains - team members may be decided day-by-day, before the first flight of each day, such that both teams have the same size on each day.

  4. At the beginning of each day of the three-day window, before the first flight, both team captains shall agree on the validity of the day as a "competing day", as well as the scoring metric to be used for the day. This agreement shall not be rescinded, barring clause 4.b, or other exceptional circumstances.
    1. All flights made during competing days are potentially valid scoring flights, unless they are unsafe.
    2. Each pilot may enter only one scoring flight for each competing day. A day should be declared void if it is not possible for at least three members of each team to attempt scoring flights.
      1. Disqualified flights, and flights scoring zero points, are still considered attempted scoring flights.

    3. Teams must record on their own logs the takeoff and landing time for each scoring flight made by a member of their own team. Failure to do so renders a flight invalid. An observer from each team shall be present at the launchpoint during all flights.
    4. It is typical, though not necessary, that only the four best scoring flights of each team are taken on each competing day.
    5. Unsafe flights are disqualified from scoring. Unsafe flights include, but are not limited to, flights which enter airspace, land out, make a final turn below 300ft QFE, exceed Va (max maneuvering speed), or generally show poor airmanship.

  5. Instructors may fly in scoring gliders and may verbally assist the competitor. They may not physically fly the glider at any time. The only exception to this is to maintain normal safety (in which case the flight is disqualified).
    1. As agreed at the 2024 Varsity Match. To improve inclusivity for pre-solo pilots, clause 5 may be relaxed upon mutual approval from both team captains. Instructors may physically fly the glider during take-offs and landings; such flights are still valid for scoring. Instructors should not physically fly the glider in any phase of flight between take-off and landing, except to maintain normal safety (in which case the flight is disqualified).
      1. "Take-off" is defined as the phase of flight from when the main wheel is rolling on the ground, until the release of the cable.
      2. "Landing" is defined as the phase of flight from the beginning of the downwind leg of the circuit, until the main wheel is in contact with the ground and the glider has come to a stop. A typical landing should consist of an uninterrupted and complete circuit, final approach beginning above 300ft QFE, round-out, and touchdown; in the case of an untypical landing (e.g. partial or no circuit performed) with instructor intervention, both team captains will arbitrate to determine whether the instructor's intervention was within the spirit of clause 5.a, and whether the flight should be disqualified on basis of the competitor's unsafe flying.

  6. The scores for each competing day shall be normalized, so that the median score on each competing day is 100.
  7. At the end of the competition, the normalized points for all scoring flights shall be totalled, and the team with the most points shall be declared the winner.

Scoring Metric for Soaring Flights ("Normal rules")

  1. A point is awarded for each minute of flight up to 50 mins, after which six points will be deducted for each minute over. The lowest score which can be recorded is zero points.
  2. Two points are awarded for each 100 feet of height gained after the launch, provided the climb is maintained for 500 feet. Climbs less than 500 feet do not gain height points.
  3. A GPS or barograph trace must be submitted for a flight to be awarded height gain points. If this is not available, only time points will be awarded for the flight. It is the responsibility of each team to ensure that the trace of each scoring glider is captured.

Scoring Metric under Bad Weather ("Spot landings")

As agreed at the 2019 Varsity Match

  1. A marker (or markers) shall be set up on the ground, at an appropriate landing area, visible to all pilots from the air. The markers should indicate a line, perpendicular to the intended landing direction, and must not interfere with the safety of landing.
    1. The intention is for pilots to touch down and roll to a stop as close to the line as possible.

  2. The use of wheel brake during the landing is prohibited, except to maintain normal safety. Any landing which uses the wheel brake is disqualified.
  3. All flights are to be taken in two-seater gliders, with an instructor sat in the back to verify the lack of wheel brake. The instructor may not physically control the glider during flight or during landing, except to maintain normal safety, as per clause 5.
  4. The (unnormalized) score of the flight is given as 3000/(30 + d), where d is the shortest distance, measured in feet, between the landing line and the glider's main wheel at its final resting position.

Scoring Metric under Bad Weather ("Circuit flights")

As agreed at the 2012 Varsity Match

  1. Every 1 minute over 5 minutes is counted as one point.

Past reports


Report by Charlie Brooker.

Day 1

Scrub! Despite getting up very early, the decision was made to scrub Tuesday due to low cloud. CUGC instead watched a brief display of old cars on site at Bicester and played card games.

Day 2

The team on Day 2.

Despite a poor start to the morning with solid cloud at 900ft and broken at 600ft, the weather improved over lunch. While the weather wasn’t kind enough to gift us with thermals for our standard height-gain competition rules, the cloud did lift enough for the bad weather rules: spot landings!

The rules for this event were decided upon beforehand as follows: A marker would be set up on the ground, visible to all pilots approaching for landing. The pilot would then have to touch down and roll to a stop as close to the line as possible. Wheel brake was strictly forbidden; all flights were taken in two-seaters and an instructor would be sat in the back of each flight to verify the lack of wheel brake. The distance between the glider’s main wheel and the marker would then be measured in Chris’ feet (Chris-ft). This distance was then added to 30 then 3000 would be divided by this result to give the score (i.e. with a distance, d, the score = 3000/(30+d) ), thereby giving a higher score for those who land closer to the marker.

There was time for each team to attempt their first two spot landings on Wednesday afternoon, leaving Cambridge with a score of 86 and Oxford with 68.

Day 3

Both teams on Day 3.

Thursday saw a markedly warmer weather; perfect for the beach but still no soaring to start with. So, it was agreed that the first round of spot landings would be completed, by which time some soaring may be possible. Cambridge scored a decisive lead in the spot landings, with CUGC flights from Hugh and Bonan both scoring above 60 points.

As hoped, the sun came out and thermals began just before lunch! OUGC’s Chia-Man getting a 32-minute duration flight to give Oxford a clear soaring lead to begin with. The conditions were tricky; making one wrong decision left you low, scratching for height-gains and looking to land. OUGC scored very highly after lunch as well managing two 35-point soaring flights from Philipp and Arthur. CUGC’s best soaring flight was Timo’s 21 minutes.

Once the thermals had stopped and the hangar had been packed, the task of tabulating the scores and discovering the winner began.

Warning: boring technical details in this paragraph… To enable easier comparison between the scores for spot-landings and the scores for the soaring flights, both sets of scores were scaled and translated individually. This was done in such a way that the mean for the spot landings was 100 and the standard deviation was 15; the same was true of the set of soaring flight scores. This meant that the scores for each team could then be summed to give the total scores. Also, since Oxford’s sixth team member was unable to come to Varsity, Cambridge selected their five best soaring flights and their five best spot landings.


After significant calculations, the final score was: Oxford 1009 – 990 Cambridge, a win for Oxford. CUGC would like to send a big “Thank you!” to OUGC and Bicester Gliding Club for hosting us; the clubhouse is very nice and the airfield seems to have an unlimited number of landing areas!

We look forward to hosting OUGC at Gransden in summer 2020.

Team Pilot Normalised Spot Landing Normalised Soaring Total
Cambridge Charlie Brooker 111.1 - 990
Bonan Zhu 113.2 89.3
Chris Barrott 111.1 84.0
Timo Wilken - 102.7
Hugh Hudson 112.6 96.0
Hayk Saribekyan 83.9 86.6
Oxford Chia Man 85.9 117.4 1009
Philipp 92.1 121.4
Francesca 107.1 96.0
Arthur 110.6 121.4
Antoine 72.4 85.3


The match was held from June 20th to 22nd, with the 21st being 'the day of the decade' with numerous 750km flights being conducted around the country.

Day 1

Day 1 was weakly soarable, but we made the most of the day with both teams completing check flights and getting some practice in. Thursday and Friday were forecast to be big days so we were looking forward to the two day match. The Varsity match task is simple: points are earned for each 100ft of height gained within 50 minutes, with points also being awarded for time up to 50 minutes. However, points are taken away after 50 minutes so it is important to judge your flight time well.

Day 2

The team on Day 2.

The conditions on the second day were perfectly suited for the first scoring day. The match began at noon, with an Oxford pilot launching first. CUGC’s president Chris Barrott launched soon after, completing what turned out to be the second highest scoring flight of the day in the Junior, earning CUGC 280 points. He managed to make the most of the strong conditions and achieved over 10,000ft of height gain. The next Cambridge pilot to launch was Tomasz Cebo, who completed an hour-long flight in the ASW19b. Just like the year before, he forgot about the 50-minute flight time limit – however he managed to find thermals towards the end of his flight that were so strong that this didn’t turn out to be a disadvantage, earning him a score of 238. Next in line was Cambridge’s captain Nat West. Launching in the K21, he didn’t have as much luck finding strong thermals, achieving a score of 147 during a 49-minute flight. An hour later, Tomasz Cebo attempted a second flight and managed to improve upon his previous flight with a score of 255, this time adhering to the 50-minute flight limit. Hugh Hudson completed the last scoring flight of the day for Cambridge in the K21, achieving 209 points.

Oxford put up a strong performance on the first scoring day. Artur Doshchyn achieved 323 points, by far the highest score of the day. After the second day, Oxford was leading the match with 432 normalised points vs Cambridge's 384.

Team Pilot Normalised Points Total
Cambridge Chris Barrott 121 384
Tomasz Cebo 110
Hugh Hudson 90
Nat West 63
Oxford Artur Doshchyn 139 432
Tor Walberg 117
Chia-Man Hung 88
Dinant Riks 88

Day 3

The team on Day 3.

The conditions were mostly blue and provided a more challenging day – a chance for a Cambridge comeback, perhaps. A small grid formed at the end of runway 04 and launching started at about 11:30. The match started at shortly after noon with the Oxford K21 taking the first launch again. Cambridge pilot Bonan Zhu launched right after in the ASW19b. He managed to connect with a thermal at 800ft and then climbed to 3000ft. Despite the sky being blue, he found an energy line near the airfield and rode along it. A flight duration of 49 minutes was achieved, gaining Cambridge 177 points. The second Cambridge pilot was Hugh Hudson. He scored 164 points in his flight with four respectable climbs in a K21. In the meantime, Tomasz Cebo was flying in the ASW19b and he achieved the highest score of the day in his third flight, 237, in six climbs. Afterwards Timo Wilken performed the fourth scoring flight of the day. He achieved a respectable score of 156 with two long climbs. The conditions started to deteriorate around 15:30 with increasing difficulty to connect with thermals off the winch. Daniel Morales Valdivia was the fifth pilot to attempt a score. He took off in the SZD-50-3 with safety instructor Peter Warner at 1509 but had to land shortly after. At this point the thermals had become too weak, yet he still managed to achieve a respectable score of 55 given the conditions. We would also like to thank Cambridge pilot Stepan Chrz who acted as launch marshal to ensure efficient operation for both teams and kept the logs up to date. In the meantime, Oxford achieved a score of 190 and 184 in their first two flights but then struggled to get away for the third one. Two more successful scoring flights of 50-minute duration were achieved later in the day, despite weak conditions. Due to the fantastic performance of Cambridge’s pilots on the second scoring day, Cambridge made up for day one and won the Varsity match with a score of 814 vs Oxford’s 802!


This year Gliding Varsity was hosted by Cambridge at their home airfield, Gransden Lodge. As it proved difficult to find a date that was suitable for as many pilots from Cambridge and O*ford as possible during summer, the event had to be postponed to late November. Usually the competition is based on cumulative height gain, but as there are few thermals this time of the year, both teams agreed to do spot landings instead.

The rules for this event were decided upon beforehand as follows: A line would be set up on the ground, visible to all pilots approaching for landing. The pilot would then have to touch down after the line, but come to a halt as close to the line as possible. The distance between the position where the glider stops and the line would be used to determine the score – since a smaller distance equals more piloting skill, it was decided to evaluate the score as 10,000 times the inverse of the distance in meters. In other words, the smaller the stopping distance, the better.

For some, the events of that day started earlier than for others. The O*ford team had to leave the other place at 6:30am whereas most of the Cambridge team members decided to start off the day with an unhurried breakfast to gather strength and be prepared to face the gruesome challenges of competition day. All pilots met at the airfield at 9:00am. After every pilot had a chance to introduce himself, the aircraft were removed from the hangar and transported to the launch point. Andrew Watson, CUGC’s experienced instructor, did check flights with the O*ford pilots to make sure they were fit to fly solo. After all preparatory actions were taken, the match was ready to begin.

Chris Barrott, a CUGC fresher with a solid background in gliding, started off the match by scoring a phenomenal 73.2m in the PZL Junior, the shortest distance achieved that day in the Junior. Considering that this aircraft does not have wheel brakes, a significant handicap, this was all the more impressive. But CUGC was yet to make use of its most fierce weapon, experienced Polish glider pilot Tomasz Cebo. Flying the K21, he scored an incredible 54.1m, the shortest distance achieved during the entire competition. O*ford’s hearts sank in despair.

Next in line was Bonan Zhu, long-time CUGC member, who scored a respectable 82.6m in the Junior, despite the lack of wheel brakes. Bonan was followed by Nathanael West, CUGC’s captain, who, in light of his team mates’ successes, was determined to deliver a top score as well. He was able to compensate his lack in piloting skill by utilising his arm strength to pull back extra hard on the wheel brakes, thereby scoring 54.9m, less than a meter behind Polish weapon Tomasz.

Next was Vikram Giri, CUGC’s president, who made an ambitious effort in the K21, however unfortunately during review of the video footage it was determined that he touched down a couple of feet before the line, thus invalidating his otherwise flawless attempt. German mathematician Matthis ‘the brain’ Lehmkühler concluded the match for CUGC with the most ambitious attempt of the day, pushing his glider to the absolute limit. However his landing suffered from the same problem as Vikram’s, he as well touched down a bit too early.

To summarise, CUGC managed to deliver an impressive overall performance, achieving a total score of 625 points vs Oxford’s 496.

Team Pilot Aircraft Distance Score Total
Cambridge Chris Barrott Junior 73.2 136.6 625
Tomasz Cebo K21 54.1 184.8
Bonan Zhu Junior 82.6 121.1
Nat West K21 54.9 182.1
Matthis Lehmkuhler K21 Under-shoot 0
Vikram Giri K21 Under-shoot 0
Oxford Charlie K21 73.3 136.4 496
Elliot Puchacz 209.7 47.7
Anthony K21 75.2 133.0
Julie Puchacz 230.3 43.4
Dinant Junior 74.0 135.1
Cecilia K21 Under-shoot 0


This year we were blessed with some fantastic weather for the Annual varsity match. The Oxford team came to Gransden for 2 days, where a strong performance on the first day secured their ultimate victory, with the scores at 525 to Oxford, and 478 to Cambridge.

Oxford brought their Astir-CS (single seat), and ASK-21 (two seat) gliders to fly in the competition, while Cambridge flew their ASW-19 (single seat) with one of CGC's SZD-Juniors (single seat).

Flying for Cambridge, were:

  • Joe Roberts
  • Malcolm Morgan
  • Monique van Beek
  • Bonan Zhu
  • Nadanai Laohakunakorn

And for Oxford:

  • Chris Ballance
  • Hayden Peacock
  • Adam Bozson
  • Qin Cao
  • Max Chamberlin

The first day was particularly challenging, with thermic activity not starting until quite late. Matters were made harder by a stiff 15-20kt wind from the North East, something which hurt competitors piloting the lower performance ASK-21 and SZD-Junior gliders more. Cambridge were also plagued with an instrumentation fault in their flagship glider, G-CUGC, where the Variometer (vertical speed indicator) was not functioning at all.

The results for the first day were as follows:

Team Pilot Duration Height Gains Points Normalised Points Total
Cambridge Joe Roberts 0:33 4600 ft 125 62 141
Malcolm Morgan 0:48 4800 ft 144 72
Monique van Beek 0:14 0 14 7
Bonan Zhu 0:15 0 15 7
Oxford Chris Ballance 0:53 6500 ft 168 84 219
Hayden Peacock 0:50 7500 ft 200 100
Adam Bozson 0:23 1900 ft 61 30
Qin Cao 0:09 0 9 4

After Oxford had made so much out of what little the first day had to offer, some excellent flying was needed from Cambridge if they were to be in with a chance. Luckily the weather for the day was shaping up to fantastic: Although much of the wind from day 1 remained, thermal activity in excess of 6kts netto was forecast throughout the day, with convective cloudbases up to 5000ft. Full results were as follows:

Team Pilot Duration Height Gains Points Normalised Points Total
Cambridge Joe Roberts 0:49 7200 ft 193 79 337
Malcolm Morgan 0:50 8200 ft 214 87
Monique van Beek 0:49 6200 ft 173 70
Nadanai Laohakunakorn 0:48 9800 ft 244 100
Oxford Chris Ballance 0:50 9400 ft 238 97 306
Hayden Peacock 0:50 5200 ft 154 63
Adam Bozson 0:49 7700 ft 203 83
Max Chamberlin 0:47 5300 ft 153 62

Despite fierce competition, and 1/2 their team still flying with one of the most crucial soaring instruments malfunctioning, Cambridge still managed an exceptional performance edging ahead of Oxford by 31 points. This still wasn't enough to counter Oxfords day one achievements, giving ultimate victory for the 2014 Gliding Varsity to the University of Oxford.

Many congratulations to all who competed: everyone had an enormous amount of fun, and there was some truly phenomenal flying. We look forward to next year when we can challenge Oxford once more, at their home airfield.

Joe Roberts
Thu, 04/09/2014 17:45


In a closely contested varsity match at Bicester, Oxford won by 371 points to 352.

Captain Malcolm Morgan and Joe Roberts represented Cambridge against Chris Ballance and Matt from Oxford.

Day 1 – Saturday 31st August

With a day of good soaring forecast, check flights were done in the morning and the competition begun in earnest. Each pilot would submit their best flight of the day for scoring and scores would be normalised for comparison over the two days.

With the strong soaring conditions flights up to the maximum time of 50 minute were easy, so both teams were trying to maximise their score by flying as close to 50 minutes as possible and with out incurring the 6 point penalty per minute over, and scoring as many height gain points as possible, by climbing and descending repeatedly to get 2 points for each 100ft of height gain. Both teams were flying K-8 single seat gliders.

Six flights were submitted for scoring, both Malcolm (Cambridge) and Matt (Oxford) taking advantage of the improving conditions though the day to improve on their original scores. Notable flights were Chris (Oxford) doing the largest single height gain of 3,500 ft and Joe (Cambridge) performing a successful scoring flight on his first flight in a K-8.

Name Duration (min) Total Height Gains (feet) Score Normalised Score
Malcolm (Cambridge) 50 6,300 176 100
Matt (Oxford) 45 6,300 171 97
Chris (Oxford) 45 5,700 159 90
Joe (Cambridge) 47 5,100 149 85

At the end of the day Oxford has a small lead with 188 to Cambridge's 185 points. Rivalry was put aside as the team retired to the bar.

Day 2 – Sunday 1st September

With the score so close the competition heated up for the second and final day of the completion. The conditions had changed. It was a 'blue day' meaning there were no clouds to mark the locations of the thermals, and strong winds bringing wave interference from the welsh mountains.

The day started slowly with both teams waiting for a layer of hazy cloud to clear and signs of thermals. Malcolm (Cambridge) made the first move launching at 12:45, and submitting another 50 minute flight, by using side slipping to descend 2,500 ft in two minutes. Oxford soon followed with Chris (Oxford) getting the highest climb of the day.

Name Duration (min) Total Height Gains (feet) Score Normalised Score
Malcolm (Cambridge) 50 3,900 128 100
Matt (Oxford) 49 3,600 121 98
Chris (Oxford) 50 3,200 114 95
Joe (Cambridge) 51 2,100 86 67

Despite Cambridge's best efforts Oxford had managed to slightly extend their early lead to give a final score of Oxford 371, Cambridge 352.

Both teams retired to club house for celebratory pizza before returning home. We would like to thank OUGC for organising the Varsity Match and to Windrushers Gliding Club for hosting the competition. We look forward to next years match.

Malcolm Morgan
Mon, 02/09/2013 10:40


Cambridge team
Malcolm Morgan (captain), Iain Butler, Fiona Llewellyn-Beard
Oxford team
Natasha Spottiswoode (captain), Chris Ballance, Joel Scott-Halkes

After a succession of abortive attempts at the Varsity Match (each one foiled by poor weather), we were very pleased to be able welcome members of Oxford University Gliding Club to Gransden Lodge on a cloudy Sunday late in the soaring season. Each Club fielded a team of three pilots of mixed ability, with one pre-solo pilot from each University competing in a two-seat glider under the watchful eye of an instructor. Owing to the weak soaring conditions, we agreed to use a variation of the standard rules: flights would score one point for each minute of flight after five minutes, and each pilot submits his best-scoring flight of the day towards the team total.

A passing rain shower delayed the first launch until eleven o'clock.

Chris Ballance (Oxford) and Iain Butler (Cambridge) completed check-flights with an instructor, obtaining clearance to fly solo in the two Junior single-seat gliders operated by Cambridge Gliding Centre. Early scoring was dominated by Malcolm Morgan of the Cambridge team who showed his experience by clocking up a flight of 31 hard-won minutes in the Junior, working hard at patchy, weak lift in difficult conditions that called for accurate flying and sharp decision-making.

This flight would prove to be decisive: it alone outscored the combined efforts of the Oxford team!

Natasha Spottiswoode and Joel Scott-Halkes posted scoring flights for Oxford, while Iain Butler took advantage of the rising air triggered by a combine harvester working in a nearby field to score secure a useful 13 minutes for Cambridge. Fiona Llewellyn-Beard, flying in a two-seat glider, also scored valuable points for the home side.

Conditions strengthened somewhat as the evening approached: Chris and Natasha took the opportunity to improve on their earlier scores, but it was not enough to close down the healthy Cambridge margin which was maintained until the cessation of flying. We hope to repeat the strong performance at next year's contest to be held at Bicester airfield, the home of OUGC.


Cambridge team
Julia Robson (capt), James Shaw, Fergus Noble
Oxford team
Natasha Spottiswoode (capt), Lukas Brandt

After a number of unsuccessful attempts to organise a Varsity Match we finally met on a typical British summer's day in mid-July. The forecast was not looking promising for a soaring competition - overcast cloud with occasional light rain, but both teams began the process of getting checked out on Bicester's K-13s. We cut the required flight times down because of the bad weather - a 10 minute flight would count for scoring purposes, with a maximum flight time of 30 mins. Even so, by 4pm Cambridge were leading by just 17 points to 12 (with Fergus Noble scoring for Cambridge and Natasha Spottiswoode for Oxford).

Throughout the afternoon we had been tracking a promising patch of sunlight which had slowly been working its way towards us; unfortunately, it looked like it would reach us just as we were packing up. James Shaw (Cambridge) took off in a K-13 intending to perform a hangar landing, came off the winch and immediately turned into a 2kt thermal and began climbing away.

Lukas Brandt (Oxford) immediately jumped into the other K-13 and launched into a strong thermal. After climbing to 3,000ft he displayed a mastery of Varsity Match tactics, using his airbrakes to descend quickly in order to maximise the amount of time spent climbing in thermals. Unfortunately he came unstuck when he was unable to find another thermal, and he was forced to land with a score of 40 points.

At this point Oxford could see James still racking up the points for Cambridge and knew they needed another scoring flight to be in with a chance. They deployed their home-field advantage, pulling rank to ensure that Natasha Spottiswoode took off in the final flight of the day. To Cambridge's dismay, she also started climbing away after some initial trouble.

Meanwhile, James landed his flight after 28 minutes in the air, scoring 71 points (bringing Cambridge's total to 88) and setting Oxford a target of 49 from Natasha's flight to win. At this point it was approaching 6pm and it wasn't clear how long the thermals would continue. We thought it would be close, but as Natasha continually found thermal after thermal to stay up we realised that the match was slipping away from us. Just after 6pm she landed after an excellent flight, scoring 89 points and handing Oxford a comprehensive victory.


Cambridge team
Philippa Roberts (capt), Graham Spelman
Oxford team
Lukas Brandt, Rory Barker

The 2010 Varsity match was held during the Inter-University Gliding Task Week at Bicester airfield, the home of OUGC. Saturday was unsoarable so on Sunday 8th July a team of four pilots from each club rigged their gliders in anticipation of the good weather. Philippa Roberts, Cambridge Captain and Lukas Brandt, Oxford launched first to test the conditions, they were closely followed by Graham Spelman, Cambridge and Rory Barker, Oxford. Lukas and Philippa flew a very close match with only 2 points between them; unfortunately for the Cambridge side Rory beat Graham by 72 points. Tragically the weekend's flying was cut short by the death of Miss Amy Barsby in an accident. Amy, 25, a pilot from Trinity College Dublin contributed a lot to university gliding and we would like to take this opportunity to recognise that contribution.


On the weekend of the 27th/28th June 09, Cambridge University Gliding Club travelled to Oxford University's home club at RAF Bicester for the 2009 Gliding Varsity Match. Their aim was to keep the Varsity Cup for the sport of soaring the sky at Cambridge for another year. The five person team knew they were up against tough competition, as the Oxford team held the advantage in qualifications and experience. The Saturday started with a real surprise for a gliding competition; the weather was fantastic! The airfield was set up quickly and the necessary check flights made by the visiting team, to familiarise themselves with the airfield and local airspace (there is a nearby parachute drop zone – not a good place to be in a glider!). With these chores completed, Julia and Becca kicked things off for the Cambridge team, flying in K13s, and both gaining very respectable scores of around 130 points (1 point per minute, up to 50 minutes, plus 2 points per 100 ft sustained height gain). However, Oxford countered with two very good flights, as Lukas and Felix went off in their hotships, into the best of a good day's weather. Their better gliders and slightly dubious pull-up tactics led to some truly amazing scores of 235 and 276 points, gaining between the two of them more than the entire Oxford team last year. Peter then flew in a borrowed glider, making Cambridge's best scoring flight yet. Most of the remaining members of both teams made their flights that afternoon, and the evening showed Oxford out in the lead. Sunday's weather was not quite what Saturday's had been, but there were still plenty of thermals about, so there were many efforts from the Cambridge team to better their previous scores. Peter made another impressive scoring flight of 212 points, in CUGC's new glider; an ASW19 with the tail letters CU, but no one else was able to improve in the slightly poorer weather.


After a defeat at home in 2006, Cambridge arrived at RAF Bicester eager to take back the Varsity Trophy. As was the case for much of the season, the weather was proving to be rather uncooperative. However, by early afternoon the sky cleared enough that the match could begin. Soaring conditions remained very difficult and both teams found it hard to make significant height gains. In the end though, a trio of strong performances from Nick Laux, Adam Spikings and Peter Buchlovsky sealed the day, with us eventually winning by 112 points to 85.


Sadly, the match was pushed back to August from projected dates in June due to weather and other uncontrollable delays. When the day did arrive, the visiting Oxford side was on excellent form, with Cambridge struggling to put out a whole team due to the holidays. After a hard day’s competition in difficult conditions, Oxford won by a fair margin, leaving Cambridge disappointed but keen for the replay in 2007.


Cambridge team
Paul Flower & Charlotte Morley


Cambridge team
John Hingley, Paul Flower, John Glass, James Lloyd-Hughes & Tom Bishop


Cambridge team
Pete Thelwall, Jay Rebbeck, Debbie Thomas, Stuart Crawshaw & Stephen Madle


Cambridge team
Pete Thelwall, Debbie Thomas & Stephen Madle


Cambridge team
Stuart Crawshaw, Henry Rebbeck ,Mark Williams, Alex Parr, Ian Lewis & Kingsley Reavell


Cambridge team
James Chappell, Stuart Crawshaw, John Moore, Mark Williams & Henry Rebbeck


Cambridge team
Jagdip Grewal, Harjinder Obhi, James Chappell, John Moore, Malte Grosche & Stuart Crawshaw


Cambridge team
Damian Debski, Malte Grosche, Stuart Morgan, Harjinder Obhi, Peter Topping, Matthew Turnbull & John Moore


Cambridge team
David Heath-Whyte, Derek Prinsen, Graham Armstrong, Frank Zachariasse & Margaret Oakes