Àger Competition Report, 26 August to 01 September 2006

Task 1 (pdf)
Task 2 (pdf)
Task 3 (pdf)
Task 4 (pdf)
Task 5 (pdf)

Àger Open Championships Overall (pdf)
Teams (pdf)

All 3 opens results:
British Open Championships Overall (pdf)
British Championships Overall (pdf)

Presentation Night

The Third Last and round of the British Open Championship

Wind and storms were the recipe for the days before the start of the climax of the British Open Championships. With five tasks flown in the previous rounds, a good week in Spain could and did change everything.
The random weather forcasts failed to dull the enthusiasm of the task committee in devising interesting but safe tasks for the assembled masses. Local knowledge and contacts were vital in the region where many tasks disappeared out of sight into the unknown mountain territory of the high Pyrenees. Our local pilot and adviser Miquel Lazaro, was invaluable in calling up his network of spies throughout the area and discovering all sorts of strange meterological happenings in the valleys of Castejon de Sos, Organya & Berga. After 5 days of committed flying the competition was won by Catalan Champion and multiple times Spanish Champion Xevi Bonet with Bruce Goldsmith in second place & Mark Watts third. Craig Morgan blasted his way through the rankings winning 3 tasks on his new hotship U3, scaring most of us with its skinny wigglyness & the top boys with its performance, to finish in 7th position overall. The town of Ager and particularly Josep Mª from camping were fantastic hosts and we hope to be back at some time in the near future.

t1Day 1, Task 1
With a forecast strong North wind (not good for the site) for day one, Steve Ham nearly didn't even come for the first day. The convoy battled the roadworks to launch and found a gentle breeze coming up the face. Shocked and stunned we was.
A 49km task along the ridge and the valley was set and the window opened at 12:30. Pilots flopped off into reasonable air, with the Northerly forecast in the back of their minds. Wave and other clouds were in the distance... they stayed in the distance and I pretended they weren't there.
The start was 45 minutes and 4km down the way; many of the field were ready 15 minutes early, but there was no obvious place to wait; the ridge was working but nothing was well formed. When the race started at 13:15 at least half of the field were off on the bubbly glide to the first turnpoint, and indeed to the rest of the turnpoints. Those that took the climbs high got left behind as the leaders pushed fast through the often copious lift. Local Catalan Xevi Bonet lead most of the way but was pipped at the post by Craig Morgan and Andre Rainsford. 60 pilots made goal, some fast and some slower.

The competition has started as it means to go on.

Day 2, Task 2 ts
Lighter winds but still from the north prompted the task commitee to go for an 83km task into the flat lands to the south east of the Àger valley. After a quick out and return and start gate along the rockwalls of Montsec the immense Terradets gorge crossing focused the minds of the pilots on route to Villanova and goal in the flats at Calaf.
Strong climbs but a persistant inversion made for interesting conditions - many saying it was smoother than yesterday while others thought conditions were much rougher - it just depended on where you where at the time. A stronger than expected southerly wind made going a little tedious in the flatlands and tested the patience of those able to keep struggling forward. The inversion was lower and more defined making every metre vital in the quest to continue on course. With no pilots in goal the task was won by Craig Morgan from Mark Watts and Xevi Bonet. Let the battle continue!

Day 3, Task 3 t3
A 89km race to Berga in the east was set due to the predominant westerley / north westerley forcast, however just minutes before window open the task was changed due to rain on course. The task commttee quickly convened and agreed on a 61km race to goal in Organya - home of the 'magic mountain' as those reaching goal experienced; with lift over the entire valley and opportunities for those so inclined to practice acro. Conditions on course were good although some reported 'interesting' conditions on the final run into goal above the rock faces of the Boixols valley. The task was won by Andre Rainsford with Craig Morgan just 10 seconds behind and Mark Watts in third.

Day 4
A 37km race around 4 turnpoints in the Àger valley was started but conditions along the rock walls became increasingly difficult in the strenghtening westerly wind. The task was stopped as the lead gaggle were approaching the 3rd turnpoint and since no one was in goal was cancelled.

Day 5
No task today but a marathon wait on the hill for 7 hours. The task committee spent many of these hours in a huddle on launch trying to rescue something from the day but the wind it just kept blowing. Most pilots drove down after the task cancellation at 6pm but a few sat it out and launched from a number of more sheltered or 'unofficial launch' locations on the road and amongst the bushes.

Day 6 Task 4 Route Task 4 : Click to enlarge
A straight 89km race to Berga, very jolly it was too for those that got there. What can be better than a goal field with swimming pool & bar! Conditions improved quickly during the day after evidence of a thick inversion and low base at around 1800m. The inversion hindered a large number of pilots in crossing the high ground to the east of Vilanova de Meia but those who pushed through were rewarded with the trip through the higher mountains of the Pyrenees. Two pilots ended up in trees but were extricated unscathed with their gliders intact. The task offered two options the high & the low; those who were high took the mountain route through some spectacular scenery while those who were low stuck to the flats and often became stuck. The task was won by local legend Xevi Bonet with Rafal Luckos in second and Bruce Goldsmith in third.

Day 7 Task 5 Route Task 5 : Click to enlarge
51km straight race to Organya. 52 in goal and a great way to finish the comp. Slow climbs in the flat lands hindered a fast race with large gaggles mincing around the sky trying to eke out any available lift. The winners as always were fast, having taken the safer route to Vilanova before tracking north over the flats towards the high ground at Col de Boixols. A brave few took the chance of a direct line from launch and were rewarded with excellent times into goal by overtaking the struggling gaggles near Isona. Craig Morgan won the day from Xevi Bonet and Mark Watts.

The Final night party was hosted by the Àger town hall who provided a buffet and free bar for the pilots; who unsurprisingly exceeded all Spanish expectations as to their capacity to consume alcohol. The party concluded in the wee small hours at the camping after all the bars in town had closed their doors.

1 Xevi Bonet ESP 4691 : Gin Boomerang 4
2 Bruce Goldsmith GBR 4681
: Airwave Magic FR
3 Mark Watts GBR 4576
: Gradient Avax SR7

4 Andre Rainsford ZAF : Gin Boomerang 4
5 Miquel Martinez ESP : Axispara Mercury
6 Adrian Thomas GBR : Airwave Magic FR
7 Craig Morgan GBR : Aircross Ultima3
8 Jose-Manual Reina Lagos ESP : Axispara Mercury
9 Innes Powell GBR : Advance Omega 6 1st Serial class
10 Yann Martail FRA : Niviuk Icepeak

12 Mark Leavesley GBR : Gin Boomerang Sport 2nd Serial class
36 Nicky Moss GBR : Axispara Venus 1st woman
41 Nia Harland GBR : Advance Sigma 5 1st Sports class, 2nd woman
43 Alan Davis GBR : Gradient Aspen 2nd Sports Class