British Paragliding Open

British Paragliding Open

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So last week was the first leg of the British Championships 2012, the event was held in Meduno in Italy near the Slovenian border.

The competition had very special service, because normally to “free fly” in the area is difficult because there is an American Army base nearby and the area is covered in airspace. This means that normally you are unable to fly much in the week. We were very lucky that the disabled the airspace for the competition but the weather was not in our favour so only 3 valid tasks where flown.

On the first task on of the top English pilots damaged himself while trying to wing-over into a very small field. The helicopter rescue was hampered by the pilots so the task was stopped. I did not know that I was doing very well when the task was stopped and in 10th place (1st sports class) for the day… this gave me a good 150 points lead ahead of the other sports class wings. But, had the task not been stopped I would have scored a lot more than the 550 points awarded. This becomes important in the next round of the Championships because after 4 valid tasks we can drop one task.

Anyway I was very suprised to find myself doing very well when the results for the 1st task were put up. The second day experienced bad weather so was stopped soon after the start.

Task/Day 3 saw a small (~40km) circuit race which looked very boring as it involved flighing round a triangle of waypoints twice then goal. However the task proved very interesting as almost all the thermals were marked by pilots around the course, also the flatland sections of the task were very stable and we were unable to thermal very high. This meant that a glide of 3 kilometers was considered a long glide. I really enjoyed the task but suffered on the final glide as my harness is the wrong size for me and the speed bar is so bad it is difficult to fly straight on full-bar. I also nad some minor issues with my instruments but still managed 16th place overall and 3rd sports class wing.

Task 4 experienced a lot of high cloud from over development in the high mountains which stopped thermals on the ridge just before I was about to get high then go on final glide into the flats. This was a big shame as I had been doing very well on the task but was unlucky with the timing of the cloud. I decided to be careful and get to goal even if it took more time. So I landed in goal a long time after the leaders but still 26th overall and again 3rd sports class.

So by the end of the competiton I was 1st Sports class with a lead of 100 points over 2nd place, but when 4 tasks are flown in the championships a task will be dropped which could work out badly for me.

But fingers crossed for the next round in Pedro Bernado, Spain next month :)

Thanks to everyone for your messages of congratulations, they are very much appreciated! (photos by Mate Nagy)