Monday, July 20, 2009

British Nationals

The British Nationals started today and they flew a 97km task in similar conditions to our last day of the Europeans. Dave shields won the day flying his Moyes Litespeed RS 4 and close behind was Vladimir from Russia on his Litespeed RS 3.5. For the full results check HERE.
Saturday, July 18, 2009

Donations Welcome.

If your enjoying the films I have been making and have not donated yet to the JOnny cause now is a great time. All small donations help and I appreciate all that have already donated in the last couple of months. You can send money through paypal below. Please if you have already donated there is no need to send more. I get email everyday from pilots all around the world wondering how they can thank me for bringing them to the comps. This is it.. Many many thanks.

Pre Europeans Day 8

Well after very strong winds yesterday we were sent up the hill to check out the winds. They appeared to be not to strong but with Altitude it was very NW and getting stronger. This meant that we would have at times crosswinds on launch and leighside thermals on the ridge. They decided to keep us out on the flats after a quick ridge run to avoid the stronger winds that were in the mountains behind us. A short 69km task was set with 5 turnpoints then a goal at Ballaguer on the flats. I was reasonably early off launch and climbed in a very strong rough thermal to 2200m. Blay and I tried to go down the ridge and we got flushed and came back low to launch. Once getting back up I tried again to get an upwind start for the first turnpoint as it was a 2km entry circle. I got drilled again and did not get back up untill well after the first start and I think nearly all the pilots apart from about 10 did that start. I was not sure what to do as I really wanted that start but with the scores so tight I did not want to start with such a big disadvantage on the others considering the short task. I waited and had a much better start but I was 20 mins later and I could see the others coming back alrady from the 2nd turnpoint which meant they had 15kms on me. It did not seem like much but when you are trying to fly in rough leighside conditions close to very big cliffs it is a lot. The air was just perfect for someone to tumble and I saw one guy in front of me get kicked into the cliff as he was flying along and had to push out and turn to miss the cliff. I saw his shadow and later found out that it was dave shields and he reported that when he landed at goal his legs were still shaking. Once getting away from the cliffs we had to cross the valley onto the flats and this was quite slow if you did not get the good climbs. I scratched for sometime before getting high enough to clear the ridge. Many of the guys I was with landed and the guys that were in front were too far for me to use. After a leighside thermal I topped out at 1600m and headed for the 4th turnpoint where I met the lead gaggle coming back for the last turnpoint before heading to goal. I saw Primoz land below me and I flew in right below Blay. I communicated to him by yelling out that Primoz had landed and to take it easy. Martin harri was below him and I was now only 8kms behind them. I thought to myself what do I do? Do I try and keep racing to see if I can still beat them or do I just stay in the air and make sure I get to goal and take 3rd place. Hmmm I thought for a good whole circle and dove off for the 4th turnpoint thinking I was still in the game. I soon realised why I had nearly caught them and the wind was quite strong on the flats with very few thermals. I did the turnpoint and tried to get up low on the hills coming back but got drilled leighside and landed. I got to sit there and watch everyone flying over me to goal as I packed my glider up. It was quite exciting to watch Blay and Martin fly over me on their final to goal as I knew it was only 4 points separating them. Apparently Martin was in front but when he got to the 400m circle he slowed down thinking it was a radius finish instead of a line finish. Blay passed him before the line at ground level and managed to beat him for the day by 1 point. These 2 guys flew very consistant the whole comp and finished well in front of 3rd place. Gerolf won the day in 1hr 31mins nealry 15 mins ahead of the next guy. Moyes did very well winning everyday of the comp taking out the first 3 positions and having 8 in the top 10. Congratualations to all you Moyes Boys. I finished 5th 200 points behind Blay after making the fatal error on t he last day. Here is a quick video. I did not film to much in the air as it was to rough and to short of a task.
Friday, July 17, 2009

Day 7

Today is windy and it has been cancelled one more day to go.

Who is this guy?

Some of you may have been suprised when you saw this name in the World championships doing so well. Gianpietro Zin is Italian of Origin but lives in France. I was very suprised myself during the course of the Worlds seeing how well he was flying. I had never flown or herd of this pilot in my life. Pierro on takeoff with Kathleen Rigg. I had time to catch up with him here in the Pre Europeans to ask him some questions. Currently he is in 6th place here and was in the top 10 most of the Worlds untill he landed 300m short of goal on the 2nd last day. Pierro which is the name he goes by most is not new in the sport and has just been away from competing whilst building his family. He is now back on is turning heads at these recent comps. Everytime I see him he is smiling and is always a pleasure to fly with in the air. I asked him when he started to fly and he said he was 11 years old when he had his first flight. This means Pierro has been flying for 30 years now and is not new on the block. It s great to see guys like this coming back into the sport and competing and doing well. I hope there is more pilots like this out there that want to come back and show us they have not lost what they had. Congratulations Pierro on your great results.

Pre Europeans Day 6

We were promised another good day so a 160km out and return was called as the first task. After some discussions about bringing pilots back through the canyon of no landings on final, the task was changed. We ended up with a goal about 20kms away to avoid this situation. The task was shortened to 140kms. The wind was crossing a little from the east so launch was a bit slow. Once in the air it was rough and pretty much one main gaggle right over launch. I think there must have been 80-90 gliders in the thermal. It was quite dangerous I thought mostly because it was rough and many pilots did not have full control. There was only 2 starts and I was not so high on the first start and really did not want to fly with such a big gaggle all day. I opted to wait for 20 mins for the next start and did much better. I glided to the first turnpoint 15kms away then hit a good thermal on the ridge straigh after the turnpoint. I then pushed a little hard and got low which cost me about 10 mins of ridge soaring. Finally got up and back to base 47kms from turnpoint 2. I kept pushing hard trying to catch the leaders as I could see them in the distance. I was never sure it was them untill I got close to the last turnpoint. I had not seen anyone coming back so I knew it was them on pushed on low down the ridge. I made another mistake by not getting high before doing the last turnpoint. I passed the lead gaggle when I was 2.5kms from turnpoint so I was only 5kms behind. Things were looking good but when I returned to the ridge I was much lower and had to work to get back up. I eventually got up and took a short cut across the valley for some clouds. This got me back close to them again as I came in underneath them but much lower. 20kms out from goal I came in only 250m below them but they left for final and I was not confident from my height. The final was scary as we still had to cross over a big forest into a headwind. I topped up before heading off as I thought they might get stuck before goal. I will arrive 12 mins later but will beat them by 8 mins.. Balazs will win the day starting with me and coming in 4 mins before me in a time of 3hrs 06 mins. Martin and Primoz will be first in on the 1st starters taking 3hrs 18mins. It will be very close for the first place now as Blay was 20 mins slower than me and Martin and Primoz might beat me for the day. Only time will tell and It seems that we will not fly tomorrow at this stage due to strong winds. It is possible that we wont fly saturday either if the wind stays up. Below is todays video.
Thursday, July 16, 2009

Pre Europeans Day 5

We woke up to clouds low in the valley and when we arrived on takeoff at 12pm clouds were still below us. We were told that it would be a great day so they set a 126km race task. The task took us over many beautiful places as we had 4 turnpoints before landing back in Villamatana. Some of the Beautiful terrain we crossed today. I had a bad start with most of the top pilots apart from Primoz who started on the mountains with a gaggle of about 40. It took me half the course just to catch up to the lead gaggle. I was on top of the gaggle between 2nd and 3rd turnpoint and was pushing hard trying to make a break. It did not seem to be working as they guys that were hanging back just kept coming in higher above me. As we rounded the 3rd turnpoint I was below a handful of guys and I pushed hard and fast along the ridge. I got a good limb of 3m/sec which caught me up to them. When the joined me I left and raced off down the ridge and found a 4m/sec thermal. Blay was the only one to follow me and we climbed high and left them behind. We dove out for the last turnpoint and got drilled and after rounding the turnpoint we had to dive back low on the ridge. We were much lower than we wanted and I got a bubble that blay was unable to circle in. I climbed up above the cliff and some of the guys that hung back came in below me and above Blay. I climbed til I reached my final height and dove for goal. I could see Primoz who had hung back got really high and he flew straight for goal. He was low 6kms out from goal climbing when I went passed him on final. I won the day in a time of 2hrs 37min and Primoz was 2nd nearly 4 mins later with Blay about 1 minute after him. It will be close scores at the top now probably only 50-60 points separating the top 4. Tomorrow looks like it could be the last day as the weather is supposed to get windy. Here is todays video.
Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Pre Europeans Day 4

The day started off very slowly with a delayed briefing at 12pm at the camping. The weather looked better as the day went on so they sent us up the hill to wait with the gliders on the car. After about 45 mins they decided it was good enough to fly and they would set a short 74kms task with 4 turnpoints. We had briefing before we even set up today which is something quite new. The window opened and there was only 45 mins to the first start. I waited for a bit cause it was very crowded and I wanted to see how the pilots were going. They started to climb so I jumped in and pushed everyone off. I climbed out and eventually made it to the top of the stack just intime for the first start. I headed out on course with about 50 other gliders and soon found myself in the lead gaggle with Blay and Gerolf. We did the first 2 turnpoints and flew back to launch to climb up. I got high first but only a few hundred metres over launch and did not want to go over the back leighside alone. I flew back out the front where I saw Blay and Balazs climbing and only got to the same height I was just at 5 mins before. I then decided to go over the back and they others soon followed. We got a reasonable climb about 13kms from turnpoint and then pushed on to a better climb the strongest one of the day. A huge gaggle came in below us now and were climbing well also. Gerolf was on top and we all glided off for the 3rd Turnpoint. I went more to the left and Balazs followed me and we climbed back to cloudbase 2,600m 5kms from the 3rd turnpoint. We crossed the lake and glided in just below Gerolf and Martin Harri who were climbing well on the other side. We did not get the climb they had and they pulled away from us. We got stuck there for a bit and soon the 2nd gaggle caught us up and we finally climbed out. I went on final and made goal easy after doing the last turnpoint. Gerolf will win the task in 1hr 31mins and Martin Harri 2nd a couple of minutes behind. I will come in 5th place 7 mins slower than gerolf. I think nearly 80 pilots made goal so there were many smiling faces after thinkning we might not fly. I am now in 5th place about 130 points behind the leader who is Blay. Matin Harri will be in 2nd and carl walbank in 3rd all flying Moyes Litespeeds. Todays video.
Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Pre Europeans Day 3

Today was looking different from the other day so far with winds more from the east. We set up and a 129km task was set to the NW. The view from the carpark. The wind slowly started to pick up and become more cross from the left. Soon after the window was open they closed launch and monitored the conditions. After about 1.5 hrs they decided it was to windy and they day was cancelled. The view from the top of launch. Here is a short video of some of the pilots on launch.
Monday, July 13, 2009

Pre Europeans Day 2

With better weather they set a 133km task with 3 turnpoints. We launched and spent the next 1 hr in rough scratchy lift getting to no more than 500m above launch. I was begining to think that they had over called the task a little as they conditions were not as they expected. I was not high enough to do the 1st start and also sunk out justt before the 2nd start. I eventually went back to takeoff and did the 3rd startgate alone with many others. We raced carefully along the ridge to the 1st turnpoint and then back to launch. I did quite well and passed many pilots along this stretch. Pilot Briefing. I then crossed the valley toward the 2nd turnpoint and caught up to some more pilots and climbed to base. We glided into the 2nd turnpoint and I got low and had to scratch a little there. 2 gaggles from behind got high and overtook us at this point. I eventually find a good climb and got high. I did a long glide glide and came in below the gaggle on the next ridge 25kms from the 3rd Turnpoint. I went a different way there and passed the gaggle and was doing good all the way to the 3rd turnpoint. I left for final with a few others that had followed me and I got drilled on a 8:1 and decided to go right to the ridge to climb. I never climbed that well and I saw the others in the valley gliding for goal. Looking NW towards El Turbon from the 2nd turnpoint. They all made goal and I was still stuck there trying to get enough height I eventually left again and got drilled and aborted final but the guys below me kept going and made it..Hmmm I was doing something wrong yes I spent the next 20 mins climbing in a very slow climb with Martin Harri just to make sure we could make it. I saw nearly 2 gaggle go past us up high and at that point I decided it was to late to do well. Gerolf landed below me and a few others did not make their finals. Blay will win the day taking the first start and leading the whole day winning in a time of 3hrs 05 mins. I ended up taking 3hrs 37mins and will place probably about 25th for the day .. All I can say is Im glad it is not the worlds, I made to many silly mistakes in the last 15kms which cost me dearly. Enjoy today videos below. Today's video.
Sunday, July 12, 2009

Pre Euros Results

The Results will be HERE.

Pre Europeans Day 1

Well so many different pilots here and a total of 130 pilots make for big gaggles and many positions to loose. After a stable forecast the task committee decided on a 66km task with 4 turnpoints. Day 1 task The launch window opened at 2pm and the first start at 3pm. It is a open window and there were many pilots taking the early launch. I waited a bit as I did not feel like extra gaggle flying before the start gate. The thermals were only going to about 500m above takeoff and it was rough and punchy. I was not in position for the first start and saw that many of the top guys did that start so I knew I had no choice but to do the 2nd start. I did not have the best start but after doing the first turnpoint I soon found myself in front of the second starters. I kept leading all the way around the 2nd turnpoint and to the 3rd. climbing out above launch. I came in below the 1st start guys at the 3rd turnpoint but missed the thermal and was left scratching low. The second staters then came in above me as we did the 3rd turnpoint. Primoz went far to the right over a area that had few landings and few options so I detoured more to the left. He got a good thermal and got high but had to fly over the lake to the last turnpoint. I got low over the platau but managed to find a good climb and topped out 2kms from the last turnpoint. I did the turnpoint and headed for the ridge as this is the best way to make it to goal as there is lift and less valley wind. I met Primoz and gacgu and we raced into goal. They both beat me across the line as I tried for a more straight line. They hit more lift on the ridge and gained more height for the final. Many made goal and I think Gerolf will win the day as he did the first start and was only 5 minutes slower than us. Was a great first day and even though it was a short task there were technical parts and many top pilots did not make goal. I think there will be a total of about 60 in goal. Here is today video sorry there is no in air filming as it was a little rough with big gaggles and on course was no time to film. Just some takoff interviews and goal stuff.
Friday, July 10, 2009

Jonny takes the silver.

Jonny with his Silver medal. Well after 2 long weeks of flying the comp finally finished and the awards were given. After not flying at 100 percent during the comp I was very happy to end up on the podium in second place. On the podium with the top 10. Alex Ploner flew very well and consistant throughout the whole event even though he never won a day. He is a very deserving winner and an extremely nice guy on the ground and in the air. Wearing the Aussie flag listening to the Italian Anthem. Alex is the current Rigid world champion and placed 5th in the last worlds in Texas. There were many others that flew very well but had one bad day which includes Antoine who scored only 200 points one day, Atilla who scored 100 points and Manfred who also bombed the last day. The Podium winners. It was said the World's was like watching the Melbourne Cup horse race, you just never knew who was going to win as the results were changing as fast as the weather.
Monday, July 06, 2009

Worlds last day.

Was looking like a great day with light winds and a 154km triangle called. This is just what you want for a deciding task many options and lots of decision making. I think nearly all pilots did the first start after the last 2 rounds begin stopped task. Dustin and I were first out of the gate and as I looked behind me I could see nothing but leading edges heading my way. After the first turnpoint the gaggle spit in 3 as there were many different ways to go to the next turnpoint. I followed Atilla and Thomas who was in the 4th just to be on the safe side. We went far left toward Aspre launch which was the slow way. I decided to cross the valley when I saw the others heading into the leeside over Aspre launch. Alex who was in second was the only one to follow me across the valley. It turns out that he already knew that the King Manfred was on the ground at the 1st turnpoint. All he had to do was to follow me and make sure I did not beat him to become the new world champion. I was totally unaware of the situation and just assumed he was securing second place. After the 2nd turnpoint I manged to get away from him and about 30kms before the last turnpoint I got the news that Manfred was on the ground. I was excited knowing that the clour of my medal had already changed as long as I made goal. I knew that 200 points was hard to catch but I was up for the challenge carefully. I started pushing hard without taking to many risk and I rounded the last turnpoint a little low. The guys I was with were now at base above me and heading to goal. I decided that I needed to get to base and take no chances now. I could see the others gliding to the left of course line in front I started to follow them under the clouds. At Sisteron I detoured to the right as I could see them climbing slowly in front and to the left. I went for a cloud street and got good air for final. I lefdt at 13:1 at turnpoint and as I was gliding it was getting better. I soon saw Dustin just in front of me climbing from low and I did a few circles above him until I herd a wind report from goal. I was off and I raced all the way in to goal thinking I was going to be first as I was now passing the guys that went left down the valley. I arrived at goal and soon saw Nene's glider there in front of me. I never saw him all day and he arrived 13 mins before me. I was still stoked and all I needed now was for Alex to have a slow run and I could become the Champion. 10 more gliders crossed the line and still no sign of Alex,, Hmmmmm Then comes one low and fast it is Alex he crosses 17 mins after me but as Nene won the day so far in front of me he stole all the points. Alex is the 2009 World Champion and he knows it when he crosses the line. There was a whole team of cyring Italians as they were so happy for the fellow countrymen to win the Worlds. I was also very happy after having a couple of mistakes early in the comp and I moved up everyday. It will be the first time I believe that an Australian had been on the podium since 1988. Christian said to me that I had done a fantastic job considering I was flying the comp as a reporter and not a competitor.:-) I hope you all enjoyed the videos and sorry for the delay in getting them up so late. I had to concentrate a little at the end to move up some places. Today video.

Worlds day 11

Back to Aspre and a short task is called to due to the risk of storms again. They decided on a 115km task with 5 turnpoints ending up back in Ribiers. I decided to cross the valley at the start and it took me forever to get up and I missed the first start. I managed to be at cloudbase for the 2nd start and I was off and racing in good postion with a handful of others. We made the first turnpoint quickly and raced for the second one low. I got the jump on the gaggle and glided into the 3rd turnpoint and joined the 1st start gaggle. This turned out to be one huge gaggle and then we crossed the valley to the 3rd turnpoint. I was pushing hard through this section and was rewarded for doing so. After the 3rd turnpoint I had a strong climb 5-6 m sec and climbed to base 3,000m. I then went on final glide doing the last 2 turnpoints along the way. There was strong headwind and big sink the last 12kms to goal and many landed short. I made goal just in front of Manfred and won the day in 2hrs and 5 mins. Here is today video.

Worlds day 10

Today was looking like storms but a quick drive to Aspre and we were off and up. After waiting for about one hour in the air the day was canelled as a big storm was approaching from behind. Here is todays video.
Wednesday, July 01, 2009

Worlds day 9

A 131km task was set with 4 turnpoints bring us back to the camping. launching was difficult again today and there were many didgy takeoff's. When it came to my turn the wind was starting to blow from behind and Manfred was pushing and insisted that we should launch from the other side of the mountain. After a discussion they allowed us to takeoff from the north side. I was first off that side and only a few others followed before they returned to the south launch. I did a long glide climbed out way down the ridge then waited at the start for sometime in a huge gaggle. With a 20km exit we were all in one place which made for a great crowd and good filming. One thermal of pilots another 30 where I am at. The gaggle stayed together for a long time and not long before the 1st turnpoint things seperated a little. I managed to get myself very low in the valley after getting drilled leighside and had a low save. Many from behind got high and went passed me at cloudbase while I was climbing. Unfortunately they stopped the task when I had rounded the 3rd turnpoint and was high just behind the lead gagle. However they move the time back 20 mins and at this time I was trying to recover from my low save. Many pilots will be in front of me now after this decision as I had just spent 20 mins climbing back to cloudbase. Felow Australian Curt warren. There were some unhappy pilots as the day was cancelled to early (in my oppinion) and it was possible to complete the task as some pilots went ahead and did. Most of us flew straight back to Laragne and landed at goal without the last turnpoint. Here is todays video of a huge Gaggle at the start point.