Hotting Up At Gliding World Championship
Competition Hotting Up At Gliding World Championships
OMARAMA, New Zealand (December 23, 2007) – A thrilling afternoon of racing involving a surprise finish, changing weather patterns and high speed gliding for the penultimate day of the FAI World GP Gliding Championship.
Bruce Taylor (AUS) had an astounding win, coming from well behind the leaders. From the third turnpoint it looked like Uli Schwenk (GER) had the race in the bag with a 12km lead, he was making some bold route decisions which unfortunately took him to a very low altitude and struggling to find lift. Taylor, who had been flying conservatively throughout the race, suddenly appeared on the live graphics, and shot past Schwenk in a much higher and faster position. Taylor won the race by over six minutes in a time of 1:46:42.
Taylor was overwhelmed with his surprise win, “The conditions were tough today, very turbulent but with some good strong climbs. Coming up to the fourth turnpoint I turned left in to the thermal, I was quite worried I couldn’t see another glider. But as the airfield lay out ahead of me, worry turned to excitement as I realised I was in the lead and going to win,” he said.
A battle was underway for third and fourth place. Flewett (NZE) and Kawa (POL) were neck and neck coming in to the final turn, turning in different directions, Flewett had the advantage and crossed the line to take third place putting him in first place on the overall leader board.
The task setters tussled with the problem of the changing weather patterns and strong northerly winds today. The gliders were first sent southeast to Goodger, then directly south to Thompsons, the third leg changed direction heading northeast to Grampian, back to Clearburn and then home. The course was 236.1km which the pilots completed at high speeds averaging approx 130kmph.
The race was followed from start to finish by a helicopter-mounted camera, plus in-cockpit web cams offered viewers a unique angle on the race. The action was beamed live to thousands of spectators around the world via the internet. Viewers also benefited from the live commentary providing viewers with a fascinating insight into the tactics, decisions and consequences of each competitor.
With the final day of racing scheduled for tomorrow the leader board places Ben Flewett (NZE) in the lead with 25 points, Steve Jones (GBR) in second just one point behind him and Uli Schwenk (GER) in third with 23 points. The current number one ranked pilot Sebastian Kawa is in fourth place.