World Championships Report - January / February 2009

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British Team '08

The British Team 2009 L->R : Jaime, Kirsty, Russell, Alan (Team Support), Mark

The 11th World Paraglding Championships are being held in Valle de Bravo, Mexico from 25th January to 6th February 2009

The official website is at


Ozone and BluEye also sponsor the British Team


1stAndy Aebi (CHE) 9093
2ndStefan Wyss (CHE) 9061
3rdAljaz Valic (SVN) 8994
12thRussell Ogden8451
22ndJamie Messenger8003
48thMark Hayman7055
91stMark Watts4937
130thKirsty Cameron2614

Nation Ranking - UK 4th

The team took it steady for the first couple of days (consequently dropping to 13th in the team standings), we have started to fly with a bit more aggression and confidence.

Day 3 - Tue 27th: Task 3 94.6km race to goal.

Report by Jaime Messenger

Conditions were initially very weak and stable. The gaggle at the first turnpoint was a real fight, I needed to lift my legs up on a couple of occasions to make room for gliders. We then headed into the flats and with very little height to play with glided into the shady lee of the turnpoint. Fortunately the peak was releasing on three sides and the foolish or brave (about 30 gliders) were able to break away from the main gaggle. Getting back to the safety of the Mesa was easier for this group (which included Russ and me).

Both the Marks came back to the launch area low; Mark H got stuck but eventually escaped and made it home, as did Kirsty – her first goal of the comp- but Mark W was just too low and found himself in a sea of trees, with a strong wind and turbulence for company! He did well to put himself on the dirt and his glider neatly parked on a tree (not a problem with Mark’s job skills).

Life was easier for Russ and me; we were with the lead gaggle (although Russ then took an excursion on his own and had to make a low save off the top of the Mesa). For the next 20km I had delusions of grandeur, only to get swallowed up by the chase gaggle when we returned to the Mesa. Russ got ahead and finished 10th, I was a minute behind him in 20th.. Mark H about 70th

Overall the team moved up to 9th ; With Russ in 30th, Jamie 41st, Mark H 60th, Kirsty 106th, Mark W 122nd.

Day 4 - Wed 28th: Task 4 85km.

Report by Jaime Messenger

Another really good day for the team! A hugely enjoyable 85km task was set, We had a 15km ridge run followed by a long run up to ‘Monarca’ a turnpoint set high up on a plateau at about 2900m, then back to launch. For the first time the Speed Section finished at Cerro Gordo - a tree covered Butte half way back to the actual goal in Valle.

Everyone was going well until the glide back to launch; Russ and I were in the lead gaggle, Mark H was right with us and Mark W had a different line to our north. Unfortunately for him it didn’t work out and he ended up on the Mesa. Kirsty landed short of the launch turnpoint.

There were maybe forty or so gliders all in contention after we took the launch turnpoint. Russ and I managed to get in a climb in the convergence with five others and left the rest of the field working the wall looking for a climb. It was a straightforward glide from there to Speed Section end at Cerro Gordo.

Russ finished 3rd and I was 5th. Mark H came in at the front of the main gaggle in the teens. So a bloody good day for the team!

After the hour-long retrieves from the usual goal field, it was a treat to arrive back in town by glider.. and save some energy for tomorrow..and the next day..and the next..

Day 5 - Thur 29th: 114km task

Report by Jaime Messenger

Another epic day.. a 114km task was set; taking us out into the flats, then beyond valle, back to the pennon, across some more flats, back to the high Mesa near launch before the usual goal near Ramon.

All of team G.B were in the lead gaggle for the first 50km, but things got tricky as we pushed back to some south-facing slopes and Mark Watts (who was pushing hardest) dirted in the shade near the goal field. Russ got a low save and I got stuck enough for 30 or 50 gliders to get past. Mark Hayman at this stage had a great line, but it was too good and he had to divert around some developing clouds, pushing him off the course line. I haven’t seen Kirsty tonight but I understand she made about 50km, landing near Mark Watts.

We flew along the convergence line for 15km and I was able to recover some lost ground, eventually arriving at the bottom of the lead gaggle of 20 at about the 80km mark. Russ was going even faster to catch me up, and we also met up with Mark, ready for a long slog into wind across tree infested flatlands.

We finally made it back to the launch at 4:30 and needed one more good climb to make the last 16km to goal, and this is where we blew it! We had the red mist and went to El Penon (a huge rock upwind of launch), only to find the wind blowing off the mesa. 20-30 minutes of soaring the “wrong” side followed, trying to get enough height to make back to the launch ridge, all the time watching every man and his dog skip our rock, climb, and head to goal.

We finally climbed out together, but ran out of day (in terms of thermals and land-by time). I made it to within 900m of goal, Russ and Mark a couple of km behind.

Day 6 - Fri 30th: 85km task

Report by Jaime Messenger

An 85km task was set, taking us out into the flats, then back to the lake before goal in Valle. Conditions were a bit stronger today; there was some east wind plus a strong convective wind low down.

Team GB flew at the front for most of the day, Russ taking things further by leading by a couple of km for 10km or so. Everyone made goal, I was in the top 5, Mark Hayman and Russ were a couple of minutes behind and top 20. Mark Watts was close behind. Kirsty also made goal, she got stuck trying to push through a venturi with the faster comp wings but managed get out.

Report by Mark Hayman

We had a bit of a bad day yesterday when me, Jamie and Russ were all up in the top 20 till we collectively made a bad decision and all got stuck about 15k from goal. By the time we found a way out we had 15k to fly and only 10 minutes left to do it and we ran out of both time and thermals.

Today was very good with all of us probably in the top 20 and very close on time. Jamie was a minute or so ahead of me and Russ about 30 seconds back. We thought Jamie had won the task but it turned out afterwards that a group of three had broken away early and got in very low where we hadn't seen them. Still, we probably won the day, and all of us were in goal for the first time with Mark a couple of minutes behind Russ and Kirsty coming in later on but happy to be in goal after a very low save halfway round.

Day 7 - Sat 31st: Rest Day

Today is an official rest day.

Day 8 - Sun 1st: Task cancelled in memory of Stefan Shmoker

Swiss pilot, Stefan Schmoker was fatally injured in an accident during task 6. Today the task was cancelled in memory of Stefan.

Day 9 - Task 7 - Mon 2nd: 97.4K Task

Day 10 - Task 8 - Tue 3rd: 114.6Km Task

Day 11 - Task 9 - Wed 4th: 106.5Km Task

Day 12 - Task 10 - Thu 5th: 116.9Km Task

Day 13 - Fri 6th: Final task 11 cancelled