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Gliding: World Number One Takes First Place

World Number One Takes First Place

A strong day with plenty of wind and heat provided pilots with excellent ridge-running and wave opportunities in the first day’s racing of the New Zealand Community Trust Gliding Grand Prix in Omarama today.

Sebastian Kawa (POL) showed just why he’s currently the world number one pilot coming home in first place with a convincing 11-minute lead over Ben Flewett (NZE) in a time of 1:58 hours over a 260km course.

Flewett headed a pack of six gliders all landing within five seconds of each other in what he described as “the most exciting finish ever!” However, remaining places are unconfirmed due to a false start by seven of the remaining pilots who crossed the start line before it was open.

Kawa said of his victory, “It’s easy when you get the wave. At Omarama Saddle, Terry Delore headed out on the ridges – I stayed to climb into the wave and once I was above the rest of the field I was able to relax as I knew I was ahead.”

Competition director Bob Henderson, said a finish of this intensity had kept the pilots on their toes.

“They don’t often participate in finishes this close and at such high speed. It’s very challenging for them and incredible that after two hours racing they come home just metres apart.”

The Grand Prix continues with day two of racing tomorrow (Monday). The final three days of racing are open to the public on 27-29 January and feature aerobatic displays, children’s entertainment and craft stalls as well as enthralling racing that will be viewed on a giant screen fed by on-board cameras and cutting edge graphic technology. For more information and tickets, visit http://


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