Glider Racing Report Day 3

Thursday, 11th June 2009

The Third Gliding Grand Prix Race was held today from Turin with a task length of 137.9Km. The task took the pilots north east from the start along the western edge of the Susa Valley around a northern turn point at Lagola ( Lake Alice) and then back past the start line 53Km to Condove. From Condove competitors turned north again for a further 24Km to Bolangera and then a short 18.2Km to the finish.

The conditions in the local area did not look favourable and a launch and start were doubtful. The brave decision to launch was confirmed as a good one as the competitors climbed well on the home ridge of Miosa to heights of 1,700 m before the start. With the good climb rates of 2+ m/s the race start was scheduled for 14:40 local time. However, conditions further North were more unpredictable and a number of the competitors got very low on the way to the first turn point. Following what was becoming a daily trend, the fleet mostly stayed together with tactics playing a significant role in the proceedings. Climbs were few and far between and the competitors taking a more conservative approach gingerly rounded the first turn and headed back south.

Unlike previous days it was clear fairly early on that Giancarlo Grinza, Giorgio Galetto and Sebastian Kawa were going to make the running. However, Michael Burchtal was not going to let them have it all their own way.

The first turn point claimed its first land out when Kristof Herczinsky landed out safely on the way to the point out in the cultivated valley. Next to fall victim to this difficult area in the weak conditions was Matthias Sturm, yesterday's winner, closely followed by Sarah Kelman, Chip Garner and Laurent Couture.

Progress south was very slow and tactical with none of the leaders willing to take the risk to push out into the lead. With possibly only one day in the qualifying to go and only 6 pilots progressing to the final on Saturday, all was to play for. Eventually, with plenty of height, Sebastian Kawa struck out to the southernmost turn point, stopping and climbing well on the home ridge near the World Air Games site in the suburbs of Turin, closely followed by Giorgio Galetto, Michael Burchtal and Giancarlo Grinza.

Sebastian found the climb first and, with the others in his wake, worked the ridge to gain height and eventually climbed to over 2,500 meters in weak wave. Giorgio Galetto followed him and both struck out for the second to last turn point at Condove, rounding it in order and back to the home ridge. Meanwhile, lower but still with enough height, Michael Burchtal rounded the Condove turn in third followed very low down by Ronald Termaat. Michael made it to the ridge and climbed away but unfortunately Ronald was not so lucky, landing in the good fields in the Susa valley. Giancarlo Grinza, still climbing on the home ridge, gained sufficient height to round the Condove turn and also made it back to the Home ridge.

Further ahead, Sebastian and Giorgio climbed again in the wave and, with now over 2,700 meters and less the 40 Km to run to the finish, they were on glide 23Km from the final turn. We were then given a master class in energy line flying from both pilots only loosing the minimum of height before rounding the final turn at Balengero and then flying home just above rough air speed of 240 kph.

The finishing order of Sebastian Kawa in first followed closely by Giorgio Galetto and, just squeaking in above the minimum finish height, third was Michael Burchtal. Fourth and last finisher for the day was Giancarlo Grinza, who treated us to a spectacular trip around the ridges to the finish as we followed him on the live tracking.

Final results can be found at http://www.wag2009.com/eng/results/index.htm

Live tracking for today’s race at http://www.wag2009.com/eng/video/livestreaming.htm

Join the live chat during the race by Skype waggliding