11th European Championships - 23rd May - 5th June 2010

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British Team '08

The British Team 2010 L->R : Neil, Kirsty Adrian, Russell, Mark

The 10th European Paraglding Championships were held in Abtenau in Austria from 23rd May to 5th June 2010

The official website is at http://em2010.ikarus-abtenau.at/

The British Team sponsored by Lighthouse Display consisted of:

11th European Championships Report

Report by Neil Roberts

The European Championships are held every two years and this years meet was in Abtenau in Austria from 23 May through to 5th June. 150 chosen pilots representing 30 European countries sees a strong field.

The biggest talking point was the introduction of Ozones R10 comp wings. Having thrashed the PWC with the Baby HPP in Septembers Super Final 09 and all the fallout concerning carbon reinforced gliders, Ozone built this hybrid with HPP technology to conform with the latest arguments.

Were they going to be too hot to handle? Had the other manufacturers kept up with Ozones incredible pace of development? This would be the test!

Most of the British team had chosen to fly Ozones R10.2, with very little or even no practise time, we went to the official practise day. Russell flew well and quick, being the first to arrive in goal followed by an awful lot of R10's!!

The Opening Ceremony was filled with lots of traditional dancers in lederhosen, yodelling merrily to folk music. (Those winter nights must fly by!)

Fantastic Team kit, provided by our sponsors Lighthouse Display International, consisted of Team Jackets made from Soft Shell with embroidered logo's. Two T-shirts and a fleece. It was so good that most of the team wore it throughout the entire championships!!

Task 1 - Cancelled for safety reasons

Task 1 saw a poor weather forecast with over development imminent.

A late task of 'elapsed time' was called, but we found ourselves racing along the Dachstien Mountains in between Cu-nimbs that were raining. Russell made goal pretty quick but as I was gliding into goal (1k away and second Brit in) they canned the task for safety reasons. Because it was a lapsed time task, they could not score it, so it all had to be binned.

The weather was poor for next few days so we passed the time visiting Salzburg, Red Bulls Hanger 7 and going to spas and museums.

Task 2 - 52K race to goal.

Task2, after several rainy days. we got in a quick short task before the expected over development came. A 52k race around the smaller mountains, which turned out to be a really enjoyable flight.

I was generally in the front gaggle all the flight.... the only problem being, there were 90 other pilots in the first gaggle too. Cloudbase was around 8000 feet with some great cloud streets along our course. We could mainly straight line it on the bar. Dodging clouds as we went. I even led out for a short while, but my first thermal turn, found 70 pilots swamping all over me.

The rest of the flight, I chose to maintain my altitude and let others gamble down low. A great glide around the final turnpoint found me on a good glide into goal in the thirties.

Mark Hayman pipped me in by 50 seconds and gained 17 places on me. It was that close!! Russ messed up the final turn point so had to turn back and lost a couple of minutes and Adrian just pipped Russ on his Serial wing. So I was second Brit in and have scored for my country Hoorahh!!

Then, more rain, even 'catastrophic rain' for days and days and days. The final two days of the European Championships saw the sun reappear and two tasks could be set.

Task 3 - 62K race to goal

Task 3 was a 62k race to goal with two big valley transitions. Fairly strong winds and a lowish cloudbase found 150 pilots jostling at the start line with a mad dash as the window opened. Full bar was the order of the day. Fast, wind swept climbs and big valley transitions.

Myself, Russell and Jamie had elbowed our way into the leading gaggle. We worked well together and were keeping good pace with the rest of the field. Bouncing from ski resort to ski resort, being swept over by the winds and speed barring through the rotor, we found ourselves calculating final glides only to see the following pack getting a lucky thermal, attempting to leap frog us into goal!!

Calculators binned and go for the glide before the swines arrive. Russell was first Brit in 12th place followed 40 seconds later by Jamie in 20th followed 100 seconds later in 53rd by me!! Can you believe that the first 60 pilots arrived within 200 seconds of the winner Luca Donini!!

Final Day - 141K triangle.

The final day was an astounding 141k triangle over some incredible high mountain terrain. Thermal strengths so strong at times that you simply held on to your wing until you pinggend out at the top of the World.

I found myself in gaggle 2, chasing the leaders like mad and all of us flying at breakneck speed.

Whenever gaggle 1 would take a climb, we'd be chasing under them for their thermal as they would peel off the top we'd be climbing up! The final leg of the task found us at 3000 meters crossing a wall of Alpine granite that drops 2000 meters off a cliff into Abtenau. It took your breath away as the world fell from beneath you.

More importantly, our final glide looked a long 15k at 10:1 and as we flew over the final valley, I noticed the lead gaggle starting to land short of goal, others dispersed in all directions in search of lift. My mind switched on....... get a thermal quick!! the valley is sinking!!

I took the final turnpoint and aimed at the sunny spur that offered a bleep or two. I saw Russ take a turn on route so raced at him as he peeled for goal, I took a turn, then did the same. Our route in to goal was tracing contour lines, then tree lines, then fence lines and one meter to clear the final hill with a sigh of relief to glide over the goal line and get 21st for Russ and 29th for me and more scores for Team UK.

Luca Donini once again won the day to prove himself an undisputable champion, helping his Country Italy to be European Champions 2010.