WWGC Lake Keepit 7 Jan SY 573

Alena Netusilova, Czech Republic won her second day in 18m Class

The smoke that has been a major factor of the weather situation in eastern Australia over the last several weeks is still here, but today the visibility was expected to be much improved.

After two days of racing tasks, today AATs were set in all classes. The weather forecast showed thundershower activity developing on the ranges east of the task area. Weatherman Dave Shorter recommended that the pilots return home by 5pm or so.

At 4pm the wind at Tamworth, which is 35km away, turned from a light westerly to a stiff southerly, gusting 31kts. The radar showed rain cells developing in a line going north. At 4.25pm the first two gliders called on the radio that they were 20km from Keepit. By this time nearly all of Club Class were on their final leg home, but Standard Class were still heading towards the final turning circle and 18m were behind them. As the main group of gliders arrived home, the southerly and very gusty change arrived with southerly winds to 25kts.

Thundershowers arrived as the crews and pilots were enjoying a cool beer after most gliders had landed safely. The airfield had a flurry of raindrops followed by cheering and dancing Australian style, as if the drought had broken. But that was it, no more rain, except a promise for tomorrow.

The first two pilots home were the Americans Sylvia Grandstaff and Kathryn Fosha in Club Class [see interview], however, they finished lower down the field. The Australian Club Class pilots Kerrie Claffie and Jenny Ganderton did not do so well on the day, finishing at the bottom of the table.

Australian Jo Davis in Club Class had a better run, finishing in 9th place. Jo is in the top position overall and so far showing very consistent performances in her ASW20. But today the Europeans began to show their colours. Elena Fergnani from Italy took first place with a speed of 104.15 kph over 373.23km to gain 1,000 points as joint winners with Christina Rote from Germany. Reigning world champion Sabrina Vogt from Germany came in at third position gaining three places to achieve sixth position overall.

WWGC Lake Keepit 7 Jan SY 45

In Standard Class, Anna Piotrowska from Poland took first place ahead of Sarah Arnold USA in second and Ayala a Truelove from Great Britain in third position. Sarah Arnold nevertheless maintained her top position overall.

Alena Netusilova, Czech Republic, had her second day win flying a JS3 to win the day flying 46.29km at 143.06 kph. The French team pilots also flying JS3s, Melanie Gadoulet and Anne Decarouge, took the next two positions followed by reigning world champion Katrin Senne from Germany.

After three days of competition it is too early to see how winning pilots might emerge, but consistent top-of-the-field performances are the key to gaining a podium place at the end of the competition. After another day or two – weather permitting – the top performing pilots should begin to stand out.