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News Release                                                16 May 2016

New Zealand to send full team to Benalla

New Zealand is sending six pilots, two in each class, to WGC 2017 Benalla. Team Captain Julian Elder said, “It’s great to be bringing a full team to Benalla for the Worlds – a first for NZ in a long time”

New Zealand is Australia’s closest gliding neighbour and the NZ team are no strangers to Australian conditions, having in flown in many competitions here over the years.

15m class will be flown by Alan Belworthy and Steve Wallace. Alan has a current IGC Ranking of 706 up 69 places on last season. His home club is Tauranga, south of Auckland on the coast of New Zealand’s North Island.

An airline pilot by profession, 54-year-old Alan’s best result to date was 3rd place in 15m at the 2015 Queensland State Championships at Kingaroy. He flew in the Pre-Worlds (Australian Multi-class Championships) at Benalla in January where he finished 11th in 18m.

Steve also flew at Benalla in January. His best performance was 6th place in the 2015 Australian Sportsclass Nationals at LakeKeepit. He flew at the Leszno Worlds 2014 in 15m class.

18m Class will be flown by John Coutts and Tim Bromhead. John has the highest IGC Ranking of any entrant so far, holding his position from last season at No. 4. We keenly wait to receive entries for WGC2017 from the few pilots ranked above him.

At only 40 years old, John has a highly impressive gliding career behind him already. He has been flying WGCs on the NZ team since Bayreuth in 1999 where he finished 2nd in Standard Class. Since then he has flown numerous World, European and South African championships and the FAI Sailplane Grand Prix Final at Sisteron 2014. At WGC Leszno 2014 he again finished in 2nd place, this time in 18m Class.

Tim’s best performance to date was at the 2013 Australian Multi-class Nationals at Benalla and he also flew at Benalla in January. his home club is Piako Gliding Club inland from Tauranga on the NorthIsland.

The Open Class team members will be Brett Hunter and Mark Tingey. Brett also flies from Taruanga. He represented NZ at Leszno in 18m Class in 2014. He has flown in several Australian national championships including Benalla in January. His highest place so far was 6th place in the 2015 Queensland State Championships in Open Class.

We will bring you more soon about Mark Tingey and the New Zealand Team for WGC2017 Benalla.

facebook.com/WGCBenalla for updates

Coutts copy

John Coutts

Tim Bromhead copy

Tim Bromhead

Alan Belworthy copy

Alan Belworthy

Steve Wallace

Steve Wallace



WGC are held every two years in several classes. Club, Standard and Two seater, 15 metre, 18 metre and Open classes. Attracting pilots from over 30 countries, the sport is keenly competitive.


The sport of gliding is an exhilarating, spectacular and serene flying experience. Gliders take to the air like birds with wings outstretched, soaring on rising air currents, immersed in three-dimensional space and flying silently with an eagle’s view of the world.

Men and women of all ages can learn to fly gliders. In Australia you can fly solo from the age of 15 and some pilots continue gliding into their eighties. It is never too late to learn to glide and many pilots take up the sport in their 40s, 50s or even 70s. 


The modern glider is a sophisticated, highly aerodynamic aircraft without an engine, designed to travel at speeds approaching 300 kph and capable of heights in excess of 10,000 metres.


The 34th FAI World Gliding Championships will be held in Benalla, Victoria, on 8 - 21 January 2017. Over 100 competitors from 30 nations are expected to compete in one of the greatest sport aviation events in the world.

** Multiclass - 15 metre, 18 metre and Open classes


Benalla, Victoria, 8 - 21 January 2017

Visitors welcome - Gliders - Simulators - Family friendly - Great day out


World Gliding Championships wgc2017.com/ Facebook .facebook.com/WGCBenalla

Twitter  twitter.com/WGC2017 GFA glidingaustralia.org

Sean Young

Media Relations


T + 61 02 9332 2822

M + 61 0490 502 323

World Gliding Championships wgc2017.com/ Facebook .facebook.com/WGCBenalla

Twitter  twitter.com/WGC2017 GFA glidingaustralia.org