21 January 2017

34th World Gliding Championship in Benalla Wrap-up

Saturday, January 21 was the last day of the "Worlds" in Benalla, Australia. It was a difficult day with fairly weak blue thermals. A strong and cool southerly wind suppressed thermal development and broke up the lift that was there. There were substantial numbers of landouts in all classes. The 15m Class fared worst with 13 competitors of 35 landing out.

In 15m Class, 1st place was hotly contested between Makoto Ichikawa (Mak) of Japan and Polish pilot Sebastian Kawa, who is probably the most successful glider pilot of all times. We started the day with Mak being in the lead by 33 points but he didn't have a good day today, placing 21st for the day and receiving a 20 point penalty. So, by the end of the day Sebastian had won another World Championship with Mak coming second overall.

Our 15m Class pilots, both novices at World Championships, had mixed results today. Sergei did well, placing a respectable 13th for the day, moving up five positions in the overall score to 24th place which is a good result for competing the first time at this level and considering that he had to recover from a landout a few days ago. In the last few days of the competition Sergei seemed to have found his groove.
Luke on the other hand did not have a good day. He had trouble getting away after the start and fell behind the field. In the end, the day died on him and he landed out 30 km north of Benalla.

In 18m Class, French pilot Kilian Walbrou successfully defended his 1st place and became World Champion ahead of Mario Kiessling (Germany) and Mike Young, UK.

I was hoping to see our 18m pilots finishing in the top ten and perhaps even get to the podium. Dave was off to a great start, finishing in second place on the first competition day. After three contest days, he was still in 4th place and after Day 4, more than halfway through the competition, he was in 6th place, still in the top ten. Unfortunately, he had a few bad days which dropped him out of the top ten.
Jerzy was off to a bit of a slow start but then improved, placing 8th on January 19th.
Today both Dave and Jerzy had a good run and were tied for 10th place with 851 points each. They both moved up a few places in the overall score to 14th (Jerzy) and 16th (Dave).

Open Class had an interesting turn of events. Michael Sommer, four times World Champion started the day in third position behind the British pilots Russell Cheetham and Andy Davis. Even though Michael placed 18th today, he managed to move up one place into second behind Russel Cheetham and ahead of Andy Davis.

The competition was difficult because, with the exception of one day, conditions were mainly blue and there was only one day offering typical Australian conditions with 8 - 10 kt climbs to 10,000 ft. The blue conditions resulted in extensive gaggle flying which is dangerous and very stressful. After the second mid-air collision, at least one pilot pulled out because he found it too dangerous.

Signing off from the 34th WGC

No comments:

Post a Comment