Piedrahita Competition Report

The British and Dutch Open was held in Piedrahita from 28th June to 4th July '09

This competition was a combined British and Dutch Open. All competitors were competing individually for the open title; but each nation had a separate championship ranking for their national championship.


News and Reports

Thanks to Jon Chambers, Mark Leavesley and Peter Myles for contributing reports and pictures during the competition.

We tried out a new system to provide a more up to date news service. We had a live link to the FASTRetrieve system developed by Chris Trow. As pilots landed they texted their coordinates into HQ and these were automatically added to a display.

Day 1: Sunday 28th June, Day cancelled.

We have a forecast of strong winds of around 15 knots from the south west.

At 11am the wind at take off was strong and 'over the back', so the day was cancelled.

So no chance to try out the brand new take-off.

Day 2: Monday 29th June, Day Cancelled.

We have a forecast of strong winds of from the south west again.

Early in the day the wind was 'over the back' and a rebrief was been called for 11am.

The day was cancelled at the 11am briefing, there is a small chance that conditions may improve to enable free flying but it is very unlikely to be taskable.

The forecast for the next few days is a bit more optimistic.

So sight seeing for some in Salamanca......

Day 3: Tuesday 29th June.
100.4K Race to goal via one turnpoint.

Here is Jon Chambers's daily report:

The competition got under way with a 100km flight to goal NE of Avila.

Weak climbs at start meant there were a number of gaggles - the best placed were high out in the plains but the main gaggle was still on the ridge.

The gaggles met up for an easy transition across the pass.

After the pass things hotted up with 5ms plus climbs which led us to a convergence line leading to Avila. The clouds on this line were growing fast and looking pretty black - at one point it looked like the task may need to be stopped, but luckily it didn't storm.

First down the line followed it towards Avila, S of the track line only to be met with N winds and little lift.

Many went down here. Those that made it across the big area of shade found themselves taking weak climbs to get to the lake. Conditions improved again at the lake until the leaders approached the first turn point which was in a blue hole.

The lead group spread out in weak lift again until the far side of the hole produced strong climbs and an easy run to goal for the leaders.

Provisional results are as follows:

Cecilio Valenzuela was first into goal in a time of 3hr 08min, followed by Mark Hayman 3 seconds later. Toby Colombe was first of the sports and serial class gliders on his Aspen 3.

27 piots made goal..

Day 4: Wednesday, Task 2. A 126km race to goal

Here is Jon Chamber's report for today:

With the wind still strong from the west the task was set as a 126km downwind dash to a remote goal.

The take off ridge was only producing weak climbs, with most stopping at an inversion a few hundred meters over launch. Most of the field was established in one big start gaggle, but after the start opened the whole field ended up low before the pass climbing in a weak climb.

The field split after that but the lead groups soon met up again under some good clouds. The climbs were working well low down meaning those low soon climbed back into a good position.

The run to the north of Avila was straight forward but again there was a big a blue hole to cross to the first turnpoint. Luckily there were climbs there, although the weren't strong.

People took different routes after that with Kai Coleman breaking away from the rest.

Good clouds on the next part meant the lead groups kept high. Mark Watts caught Kai on the last climb and went on to win the day.

The chasing gaggle split with those taking a line to the south of track being drilled with many landing short whilst those keeping to the left of the course line cruised in high.

So provisional positions, Mark Watts first flying his Axis Mercury, Craig Morgan second on his Mac Magus 6 after pipping Kai on the line, who was third in also flying an Axis Mercury.

I was first serial wing in on my Niviuk Peak closely followed by Mark Leavesley on his Aircross Usport.

Final scores will only be clear once the lead out points are taken into account.

Day 4: Thursday, Task 3. A 116km race to goal in Segovia

Here is Jon Chamber's report for today:

With strong westerlies again the task options were limited so we set the same start as the 2 previous days to take us around the airspace but with a goal at the beautiful city of Segovia, 115km away.

The start was again slow, with many pilots getting very low on the take off ridge, but most crawling back up. Slow climbs seemed to be the order of the day and again most of the field formed into one big gaggle just before the infamous pass.

Conditions were still slow after the pass with most of the field staying bunched together in one large gaggle. As we headed out from the high ground west of Avila we found ourselves desperately trying to stay up under decaying clouds and a big blue hole to cross to the control turnpoint 70km into the flight. Many got very low here (including me!) and a few didn't make it out.

Climbs were still slow and there were many big gaggles still working the weak climbs. Safety seemed to be the name of the game as some of the leading pilots who had pushed on hard landed out. Cecilio and a couple of other pilots had forged ahead and were almost in spitting distance of goal with the gaggle chasing hard. I made a break down the middlle together with Adrian Thomas and we were rewarded with a good climb, but it wasn't enough to catch Cecilio who won the task. I crossed a couple of minutes later as first serial wing to be followed by a steady stream of pilots.

Finally 42 pilots were in goal.

Day 6: Friday 3rd July, Day Cancelled.

A 55K task to Avila was set but not activated. The day was eventually cancelled as the wind on take-off increased and conditions were expected to deteriorate.

Day 7: Saturday Task 4. A 55.9km race to goal

Here is Jon Chamber's report for today:

The competition finished in style with a fast 55km race to goal in Avila.

Again strong winds were a concern and the climbs were weak at the start and up to the pass. The main gaggles followed the high ground to the north of the Ambles valley but a group of us took the direct line down the middle. Once over the pass it was apparent that the wind was not too strong and we were racing in classic Piedrahita conditions.

The high ground seemed to be working better at first with weak climbs in the middle, but in the last 20km strong climbs in the middle of the valley and a strong convergence line meant it was a tight race into goal with many pilots crossing the line in the first few minutes. Craig Morgan was first over the line on his Magus.

94 of the pilots made it to the goal.