Piedrahita Competition Report, 24 to 30 June 2007Lars Jonsson, the winner. Click for a larger image

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

British Open Overall (pdf)
British Championships Overall (pdf)
Women Overall (pdf)

Serial Class (DHV 2/3s, pdf)
Sport class (DHV 1/2s and DHV 2s, pdf)

Teams overall (pdf)

Piedrahita hosted the first round of the British Championships over 24-30 June 2007.

The Nordic Open was held the week before. It started with no tasks for 3 days but then came good with 4 in a row to finish. Although not classic conditions, the tasks were good.

Day 1: Sunday. Cancelled.

Unfortunately the forecast said strong wind, and it was right. Although bright and sunny and definitely hotter than the week before, the day was cancelled. Better luck tomorrow.

Day 2: Monday. Second time lucky. Task 1
t1. click for a larger image
Task 1 results
The forecast said windy again, but from a far better direction. The day had a possibility of being good, even though the clouds started half way up the mountain. Never mind, we went up anyway. A task was set around the valley but cancelled 5 minutes before it started. A swage of pilots flew, but were told to re-brief at the HQ at 6:00pm.

We re-briefed, and a task to Avila 51km away was set... elapsed time. Window opened at 7:05 and after 11 minutes 130 pilots were airborne. It was impressive. It was not too windy and definitely not too thermic. The leaders spread out quite quickly and it became obvious that it would be slower and less thermic than earlier in the day. Some early people started landing soon after start but large gaggles managed to form and stay together to get over the pass. At that point there were some better thermals but only around the pass. Conditions became buoyant in places and some gaggles survived. Many pilots made a good distance considering the amount of cloud and the time of day.

No one made it to goal, and Mark Hayman won the day aboard his Ozone Mantra R, with a distance of 45.3km - bravo.

I believe the forecast for tomorrow is good.

Day 3: Tuesday. 100k+. Task 2
t2. Click for larger image
Task 2 results
The forecast was indeed good. No wind to speak about and good conditions expected. A 108km race to goal was set around 4 turn points; out to Piedrahita, Sotalvo Castle, Hoyorredondo then Piedrahita goal.

As the window opened at 1:00 it was soon apparent that it wasn't going to be easy big climbs. Less than a dozen pilots got a good start with many wallowing on the pre-start turn-point on the big spine. Crossing Vilafranca and the pass proved too tricky for some and the unpredicted North Easterly in the Avila valley Decked more. It seemed like the 2600m cloudbase was not enough. After the Castle turnpoint it was crosswind back to the pass and headwind again towards goal. One day we'll have downwind legs in all directions!

Those that got back over the pass had an easier finish, after a grueling long day.

There were 20 pilots in goal. The winner would have been Innes Powell aboard his Airwave FR3 but he forgot to enter the 400m goal cylinder... wally! The winner was the current Spanish champion Ivan Colas aboard his Axis Mercury. Well done to everyone who flew a long way.

The forecast for tomorrow looks good!

Day 4: Wednesday. We are in Piedrahita. Task 3
t3. Click for a larger image
Task 3 results
The forecast was indeed good again; joy. No wind to speak of and sunshine. The task setters took a while to chose their best task, which was 102km to the South West, over the end-of-the-world, past the cherry picker's valley, past Placencia to goal.

As the window opened at 1:35 the thermals were just getting their selves together and were cyclic and punchy. As the start opened at 2:05 some pilots were low and some high, with no real big gaggle readiness. Some went and some were topping up, but the leaders found good climbs on course.

As the day developed some 4m/s thermals and more were available... some smooth and some with edges. One pilot, Aage, found a very sharp thermal and was forced to throw his reserve but landed fine if not in a bit an awkward place. Thanks to Simon and Silvio for helping out.

The first real problem area was at the end-of-the-world pass, about 35km from launch. At that point the mountains become a bit more serious and the land-outs require more thought, though nothing too troublesome. With good climbs and a few gaggles the next problem area was the lake before Placencia at about 60km. After that it was raining paragliders and 15 made it to goal.

The winner for the day was Russell Ogden aboard his Ozone Mantra R. 38 Pilots made goal; well done everyone for a strong and great Piedrahita day.
Ivan Colas (Axis Mercury) is currently winning with the forecast looking less than perfect for tomorrow.

Day 5: Thursday. 154km day. Task 4
t4. Click for a larger image
Task 4 results
Yes indeed, the forecast was great. The South Westerly was not too strong which meant it should be good. 154km straight race to Arcones.

The first pilots off struggled a little, but the thermals quickly got it together. The start was level with the Corals, but most were in the valley at the start time.

The first glide into the pass was long and went low, then a large number of pilots found a climb and the race was on. the climbs towards Avila got better and better, mainly smooth and not too strong. A converging cloud street lead to Avila, with big ears and bar being the recipe for some. Around 50 pilots were up front, with only 3 or 4 pushing. Passing Avila was then tricky, too tricky for some.

After Avila the climbs were not so fast and the sink was punishing, but the front gaggle pushed on and stayed up. A large lump of cirrus was marching in from the west killing all thermals in its path. In effect, if you were late were going to struggle. The leaders got in right as the cirrus arrived, those a little slower and struggled.

28 pilots got to goal and 11500km flown in total (thats from here to Outer Mongolia). The winner on the day was Rafael Saladini aboard his Sol Tracer... well done to him and everyone who had a great day.
Lars Jonsson is now winning after Ivan had a bad day.

The forecast for tomorrow... well we don't trust them anymore!

Day 6: Friday. Another 100km set, but too much wind. Cancelled

One forecast said windy, another said good. We went up the hill and it was looking ok but super inverted. A task was set to just short of Segovia, another 100km. The Marshalls and bus drivers were revolting! They have been a bit busy with these long days.

The task was delayed due to increasing wind, and Chris Harland and Mark Graham went to try the air. It was quite west and really too strong to have 130 pilots fighting for space. The day was cancelled.

Day 7: Saturday. Howling, thank you and good night. Cancelled

The forecast was bad... too windy. Tha day itself was bad... too windy. After several re-briefs the day was cancelled at 1:00pm with 30km winds over the back, we didn't even go up the hill. Beer o'clock started early, and the First round of the British Championships was over. What a jolly time we all had.

Well done to the competition winner Lars Jonsson (Sweden) aboard his Ozone Mantra R, second was Inigo Egana (Spain) on his Gin Boomerang 5 and third Cecilio Valenzuela (Spain) on his Axis Mercury.
Mark Hayman was top Brit on his Ozone Mantra R, and is leading the British Championship.

report by Mark Graham