2021 Competitor of the Year
Mike Hazel tops competitors in virus-shortened season
Mike Hazel of Mehama, Ore., captured the Northwest's 2021 Competitor of the Year crown by scoring standings points in Combat, Navy Carrier and Racing.
Mike topped the Overall Racing category with winning performances in Northwest Sport Race, Northwest Super Sport Race and Clown Race.
He edged out Robert Smith of Roy, Wash., by a single point. Robert topped the 1/2-A Combat and 80mph Combat standings, bolstered by an apperance in the finals of the 2021 Bladder Grabber 1/2-A preliminary event.
Only a point behind Smith was Bob Welch of Federal Way, Wash., who topped the Overall Stunt standings with points in Old-Time and Classic Stunt and Precision Aerobatics.
This was the third Competitor of the Year title for Hazel, who also topped the field in full-year standings in 2016 and 2018.
The annual Competitor of the Year title recognizes the flier who scored the most points in Northwest control-line competition standings as compiled by Flying Lines.
At right, Mike is seen launching a Combat plane in a 2014 contest. Flying Lines photo.
The number of people or teams scoring points in competition in 2021 was far below normal because the first half of the season was wiped out by COVID-19 restrictions. Only 23 fliers scored points in 2021, compared with 59 in 2019. (No standings points were recorded in 2020 because all contests were canceled becasue of the pademic.)
Note that the number of people scoring standings points is not the total number of competitors, only the number of people placing first through fourth in sanctioned competition.
Thirteen fliers scored Stunt points. Seven scored Racing points, and six each scored Combat points and Navy Carrier points. No points were recorded in Scale or Speed.
Again, these totals reflect only placement, not actual number of competitors. The presence of out-of-region fliers in a contest can result in no points, or fewer points, being scored toward Northwest standings for some events.
The Competitor of the Year recognition has been given since 1980, the second year of Flying Lines newsletter publication. Here is the history, giving the top three finishers each year:
Competitor of the Year, 1980-2021
1980: 1, John Thompson 2, Bill Varner 3, Jim Cameron
Current standings are on the NW Standings Page
Below are the final 2021 Competitor of the Year rankings, along with the categories in which points were scored.
2021 OVERALL STANDINGS
1. Mike Hazel -- Combat, Carrier Racing -- 28
Flying Lines keeps track of standings in all AMA rulebook and Northwest official events, in all Northwest sanctioned contests.