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Brits abroad: Alan, Mark, Adrian, Russell, Kelly, Louise, Bruce

European Championships Competition Report, 1st to 14th July 2006

Final Overall Results: Britain 8th team overall
29 Russell Ogden
31 Adrian Thomas
36 Bruce Goldsmith
45 Mark Watts
106 Kelly Farina
110 Louise Burnham

Full official report: download in pdf format; written by Adrian Thomas and Calvo.

Day 1, Task 1: Race to Goal: T.Off, T01 (Les Gets), start 2Km radius around tp B01, tp1 B01, tp2 B29, tp3 B12, tp4 B06, tp5 B30, Goal L01 (Morzine)
Total distance 69.4Km

Task 1 route: click for larger image The day started with blue skies and excellent visibility, There was a substantial south east breeze on launch (10/15km) due to a low inversion at about 1200m. This was forcast to break as the thermals got going and the wind dropped to the normal light and variable for mont cherie.
The task was set at about 12:30 with a window open time of 13:30. Conditions at take off were somewhat fickle, with the wind blowing along the hill, but all our pilots got away nice and early, giving them a long hour’s wait at cloudbase for the start. Our tactic was to take a position upwind of the start cylinder, so as to be able to race through the cylinder downwind when the start went. This is always a gamble because those approaching from the course-side have 800m less distance to fly (but a long upwind leg).
We broke even, and ended up just behind the leaders heading out for the first turnpoint – a dam at the Lac Leman end of the Morzine valley. It was a long push into the valley wind to get to the dam, lots of speed-bar work, but from there we had to chose whether to ride the high level thermals along the ridge crests, or surf the valley wind low running from spur to spur. Bruce Goldsmith chose the low-level option and was in the lead Russ on glide: click for larger image briefly, but lighter than expected valley winds meant that he got stuck just before the third turnpoint. Meanwhile Mark Watts and Adrian Thomas had opted for the high-level route, and spotted that the climbs were drifting East of track once they got past the tops of the ridges. Working as a team and climbing just enough to get to the next climb they were able to catch right up with the leaders by the 4th turnpoint. From there we crossed the Morzine valley towards Mont Chéry climbing in convergence as we approached the summit, just enough to pop over the top. A climb there got us enough height to head for the 5th turnpoint, way out across the main valley leading to Chamonix, far enough out to make it touch-and-go getting back up when we got to the mountain. Some hideous lee-side thermals sorted the problem out, and we were on the way back in working our way up to the altitude for final glide into goal. Adrian and Mark were with the leaders at that point, and left early to race in to goal, finishing 2 minutes behind the leader, in 20th and 25th, with the top 50 all finishing within 10 minutes, it was a close race.

The task was won By Christian Maurer (CHE, Advance Omega) with 1000 points with Aljaz Valic (SVN. Mac Para Magus) second and Christian Tammegger (AUT, Gin Boomerang 4) third. Top woman is Ewa Wisnierska (DEU, Advance, Omega) in 35th place.
Top team are the Swiss followed by France & Austria. Britain lie in 9th Position.

20 Adrian Thomas Airwave FR2 Goal 02:28:13 935 Points
25 Mark WattsGradient  SR7 Goal 02:28:27 925 Points
59 Russell Ogden Ozone Mantra Proto Goal 02:56:39 686 Points
60 Bruce Goldsmith Airwave FR Proto Goal 02:56:44 685 Points
74 Kelly Farina Airwave FR2 Goal 03:04:21 641 Points
121 Louise Burnham Mac Magus 4 minimum distance 88 Points

Day 2, Task 2 CANCELLED:
Race to Goal: T.Off T01 (Les Gets), start 10Km Radius around B33. tp1 B33, tp2 B57, tp3 B98, tp4 B89, tp5 B30, Goal L01 (Morzine) Task 2a route: click for larger image
Total Distance 71.6Km

Again blue skies to start but with some wave clouds and early cumulus, Forecast was for 20 Km wind from the southwest at 2400m with good cumulus at 2800m and a slight risk of thunderstorms on the high mountains between the French and Italian border. On arriving on launch the wind was stronger than expected at about 15Kph.Task 2 canned due to storms
Window opened at 12.45 with all pilots getting off and getting good climbs. The start gate opened at 14:00 and the field left en masse to take the glide to the start and TP1.
The wind at altitude had started to pick up and the thermals become more broken. The safety committee were monitoring the conditions as there were concerns if pilots got low in the leeside areas. After TP1 the field got good climbs but the sky started to overdevelop. The safety director cancelled the task at 14:45 after reports of increasing winds and development.
After the pilots had landed the thunder started and continued for the rest of the day. Excellent call by the organisation to stop the task at the right time. All pilots landed safely.
Lets hope for better weather tomorrow.

Day 3: No task
Day 4: No task
Day 5: No task

Day 6: Task 2 Speedrun: T.Off T01 (Les Gets), Start 5Km radius around B12, Tp1 B12, Tp2 B13, Tp3 B14, Tp4 B43, Tp5 B15, Tp6 B30 Goal L01 (Morzine)
Total Distance 47.0 Km

Task 2 route: click for larger imageAt last after 3 stopped tasks and 2 cancelled days we get a good forecast. The day started with a medium amount of cloud, light winds but a risk of low cloudbase from the recent storms and cold front. the forecast was for the cloudbase to lift and no storms. The organisation briefed on take off at 11.30 but held the task times back due to lowering cloud base around a number of the turnpoints. after 3 revisions of the task the take off window was opened at 14.10 with a last start time off 15.30. the field launched in small numbers as the area around take off was shaded and no obvious climbs. After about 30minutes the cloud thinned around the start gate and gliders started to climb. The team all launched and were soon climbing. As they took the start the field started to Spread out with the climbs being weak to begin with. Kelly was flushed down the mountain at B12,he managed to climb out from 100m above the valley floor back to base, but this put him 40 minutes behind the field. cloud base continued to rise and the thermal quality improve as the day developed. The field had to take careful climbs around B13 to ensure getting B14 which was at the head on a steep narrow valley. Once this had been achieved, the rest of the course became more straight forward with most pilots getting to base around B12 on the run back. from there in to goal around the last 2 turnpoints could be done on a glide if you took a good line. Russel and Mark led out on the final section of the course with Bruce and Adrian close behind. Lousie got stuck around B43 but managed to get back up and was in goal. Kelly worked hard from his early disadvantage and got into goal but with a slow time. Good effort for the UK with all team members in goal! The team gains 1 place in the rankings from 9th to 8th.

10 Russell Ogden Ozone Mantra Proto Goal 01:21:32 774 Points
37 Bruce Goldsmith Airwave FR Proto Goal 01:24:59 699 Points
45 Adrian Thomas Airwave FR2 Goal 01:28:47 687 Points
41 Mark Watts Gradient  SR7 Goal 01:34:53 695 Points
103 Louise Burnham Mac Magus 4 Goal 02:05:19 440 Points
107 Kelly Farina Airwave FR2 Goal 02:53:08 373 Points

Bruce Goldsmith: Click for larger imageTask 3a route: click for larger imageDay 7: Task 3 CANCELLED Speedrun T.Off T01 (Les Gets) Start: 12 Km Radius around B40, Tp1 B40, Tp2 B57, Tp3 L02, Tp4B30, Goal L01 (Morzine)

Yet another non starter, Grey overcast skies (very thick cirrus) with 20km west wind. Task of 52Km provisionally set but cancelled at 15:00 due to no improvement.





Day 8: Task 3 Race to Goal: T.Off : T02 Col du Fornet Start: 18 Km Radius around B34 TP1 B34, TP2 B42, TP3 B57, TP4 B47, Goal L02 (Les Gets)
Total Distance 88km. Task 3 route: click for larger image

At last a day dawning with blue skies, light winds and a high cloud base forecast. The organisation decide to take us to a new launch site to enable the pilots to launch above the inversion. The Site is Col du Fornet situated above Avoriaz at 2200m. Walking through the snow to get to launch in July was a new experience for many pilots!
As the task was being announced we had a slight back wind but this soon died as the thermals started to come up the face. The window was opened at 13:45 with a race start at 14:45. The field launched in two’s and three’s with our team getting off in the first 15minutes. There were good climbs around the take off area but getting weaker as the pilots approached the start area. Task 3 gaggle: Click for larger imageThe run out to B34 proved to be fairly straight forward with nearly all the field passing. The conditions then became tricky with strong valley winds and weak climbs.With several choices of route to B42 the field became split up. As the task developed pilots were landing out throughout the course.
After B57 the day was starting to die and choice of line became critical.
Bruce Goldsmith was the first Brit in goal with Russell Ogden landing 1Km short and Adrian Thomas landing about 2km short of the control turn point.

The competition is now lead by Luca Donini (ITA) with Chrigel Maurer (CHE) second & Christian Tammegger (AUT) in third. Petra Krausova (CZE) is now the leading woman after an excellant 14th place in the third task. The British team are now 11th in the ranking.

43 Bruce Goldsmith Airwave FR Proto Goal 04:18:21 695 Points
49 Russell Ogden Ozone Mantra Proto 86.3 km 493 Points
71 Adrian Thomas Airwave FR2 83.8 km 458 Points
99 Louise Burnham Mac Magus 4 72.6 km 317 Points
109 Mark Watts Gradient  SR7 38.2 km 182 Points
117 Kelly Farina Airwave FR2 29.0 km 128 Points

Day 9: Task 4 Race to Goal: T.Off T01 (Les Gets), Start 4Km Radius around B01, TP1 B01, TP2 B40, TP3 B62, TP4 B30, Goal L01 (Morzine)
Total Distance 90.8Km.

Route task 4: Click for larger image

Task 4 glide: Click for larger imageA great start to the day with clear skies and a forecast of light winds. We had an early briefing at 11:30 with window open at 12:30 and a racestart at 13:30. Mont Chéry can be a difficult take off with constantly switching winds, but today the the wind came evenly up the southerly face enabling all the pilots to launch quickly. There were good climbs around the start area giving the pilots the possibility to make a fast start.
The run out to B40 was fast with cloudbase at 2700m and rising. From B40 to B62 a distance of 36Km there were several choices of route. There was a large blue hole to the north east of B62 so the leaders took the more southerly route over the higher mountains. With the climbs being a little more spread out the field rapidly spread out.
The turn point is against a huge cliff providing dramatic views as the pilots climbed to get into cylinder. The race to the control turn point (B30) before goal, also known locally as the hill of eternal lift, proved a little more difficult as the thermal cycles were becoming more spread out. Many pilots arriving later into goal needed to top up their height on B30 to cross the line. The task was won by Andi Aebi with a very fast time of 2:44:46 5 minutes ahead of Luca Donini. A good day for the team with 5 of the team in goal putting us back up to 8th place in the Nations ranking.

10 Russell Ogden Ozone Mantra Proto Goal 02:51:55 891 Points
26 Adrian Thomas Airwave FR2 Goal 03:12:22 734 Points
30 Mark Watts Gradient  SR7 Goal 03:16:02 711 Points
44 Bruce Goldsmith Airwave FR Proto Goal 03:29:49 632 Points
58 Kelly Farina Airwave FR2 Goal 03:39:28 583 Points
114 Louise Burnham Mac Magus 4 61.50 km 217 Points

task5Day 10: Task 5Race to Goal: T.Off T01 (Les Gets), Start 5Km Radius around B98, TP1 B98, TP2 B29, TP3 T04, TP4 B57
Goal L04 Total Distance 54.7 Km

Today the weather forecast was not so good. Very unstable air with thunderstorms forecast for the end of the afternoon. So off to Mont Chéry take off for an early start. Briefing at 11:30 (early by French standards!). with good conditions at launch, free fliers and wind dummies climbing all around the take off area, The window was opened at 12:00 with the race start at 13:00. Due to the high risk of storms the Goal deadline and land by time were set to 16:30. All the competitors were away within 30 mins, with only 1 or 2 having difficulty in getting away from launch. By the start gate opened Cloud base had risen to about 2700m. as the field approached the second turn point some of the cumulus had started to tower so the safety committee were keeping a close watch.The run from turn point B29 to T04 was the interesting part of the race as there were several choices of route. Most of the field chose to come via the east side of les gets take a climb about 12Km from T04 underneath what was becoming a very large cloud. The lead gaggle arrived below T04 and had to thermal up to get the turn point. Now the race started for real with flat out race to get the control turn point and in. With pilots at this level losing 10 seconds on the glide can mean losing 10 places! The task was won by Aljaz Valic with Luca Donini coming in second.
Russell was top brit again in 15th place with the 5 of the team getting in to goal!
Unfortunately Kelly had a problem with his XC trainer and his back up gps showed him missing the third turn point by just 3m!
The task was stopped at 14:46 when the storm was about to break and all pilots landed safely.


Reports by Adrian Thomas & Calvo.
Pictures by Bruce, Adrian, Kelly, Calvo &