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The weather forecast at the beginning of the day showed highly unstable post trough conditions. Briefing was delayed by 45 minutes and it was uncertain if any tasks would be set at all.  The tension was relieved when task sheets became available during the delayed briefing.  

Large cumulus were expected to build up during the afternoon possibly forming larger areas of overdevelopment.

Standard Class were set a two hour AAT as the task setters wanted all gliders securely tied down by 5pm in case of thundershowers. Club Class were set a 2:30 AAT with extended circles because in case of storms.

As the day progressed, the build up was not as dynamic as forecast. The task areas remained free of rain until just after the last gliders had landed.

The ferocity of  thundershowers produced at this time of year in the Central West Slopes and Plains is hard to overstate. As the trough moves west from the vast Australian interior the air mass meets the Great Dividing Range There the air combines with maritime influences to produce strong convergences.

The terrain, damped by rain from the passing trough is heated by the enormous energy of the summer sun. The unstable air is induced to runaway convection to very high altitudes. Today convection was forecast to 40,000ft which had the potential to produce the most powerful thunderstorms.

However, the  Australian  Bureau of Meteorology only gave a 30% chance of showers in the task area. According to the Takizawa axiom - coined by Narromine veteran gliding pilot and training operator Shinzo Takizawa - 30% means no rain, and today this proved to be correct.

Task setter Paul Matthews in his morning briefing to Gliding Australia TV indicated that the short tasks today with the strong convection could result in high speeds being achieved.

Matthew Scutter from Australia flying his Discus 2a came home with the fastest speed of the day at 136.32kph over a distance of 282.94km. Scutter's dominating performance today extended his overall lead to 365 points from second place holder Sebastain Nagel.

His distance was only exceeded by Lithuanian Joris Vainius flying a Lak 19/15m who came third in Standard with 285.87 km flown at 131.64 kph.

Robin Smit from the Netherlands flying an LS8 came second flying 274.58 km at 133.29 kph. Robin is in third place in Standard Class with three more days until the championship is decided.

Robin's third place on Day 5 propelled him from a weak start to the competition into a strong position. Scoring 986 points on Day 7 where he finished  in fifth position brought him into contention for a podium finish.

After today he is 63 points behind New Zealander Alex McCaw who is in third place overall. He has a slender 3 and 9 points ahead of the two Polish pilots, Mateusz Siodloczek and Jakub Pulawski who are by no means out of contention for a podium finish after seven racing days.

Philipp Schulz from Germany in an ASW19B gained the top score in Club class of 800 points. Philipp has finished in the top five positions on three days, but his overall score suffered from a bad 25th position on 4 December. Today his speed of 112.77 kph over 281.96 km has put him in top position overall leading the two  British pilots Tom Asrscott and Sam Roddie by 42 and 102 points.

Frenchman Lucas Delobel  achieved his best result of the contest coming in second flying an LS4 287.58 km at a speed of 114.80 kph.

Nick Hanenburg from the Netherlands achieved his second best performance coming in third to put him in eleventh position overall. At 131 points behind fourth position holder Jan Jawornik from Poland, the odds on him mounting the podium at the Closing Ceremony a on Sunday are getting longer.

But with three racing days still to come and the promise of improving conditions, this competition is far from decided. The atmosphere on the ground at Narromine is electric. Lightening fills the sky as I write. Stay tuned for more excitement from JWGC2015.

Full race results at JWGC Results

Sean Young
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