The idea began in January 2019 when UK Tournaments head, Martin Ayub, was looking for ways to improve the annual UK Pinball Open and UK Pinball Classic tournaments.
These had previously been held as part of a larger national UK show, but restrictions on space, time, machines and building access had made organising two major tournaments on floor of a show increasingly difficult.
What was needed was a large permanent collection, where machines wouldn’t need to be transported and there was plenty of time to set up everything so the tournaments could be run without making the kinds of compromises faced previously. If this could be achieved, then it also offered the opportunity to extend the event beyond just those two tournaments, making it more attractive to international players and those who needed to travel from more distant parts of the UK.
We have featured the Flip Out London pinball club on this site before, as it offered the best range of machines and the most attractive location in the UK – the capital city, London. Martin is one of the founder members of Flip Out London and put his proposal to a special meeting of all the club’s founders in early February.
Martin’s idea was for a Fabulous Five Days of pinball tournaments, starting on a Wednesday and continuing through to Sunday. The UK Pinball Open and UK Pinball Classic would still be in their traditional Saturday and Sunday slot, but with new tournaments on Wednesday and Thursday, qualifying for the ‘Open’ and ‘Classic’ could begin earlier on Friday for those who could make it. Additionally, if there was time and machines available, a fifth tournament could be run on Sunday for those who didn’t qualify or got knocked out early in the Open and Classic.
Everyone knew it would involve a lot of hard work and the club’s facilities would need to be upgraded to cope with the expected number of visitors, but all the founders were all up for the challenge and the date was set for the middle of July. Neil McRae volunteered to run the Open and Classic as Tournament