Aeros Winter Race 2013: news #2 from battlefields (by Primoz Gricar) 2013-03-18

After the first day launching too late and making many mistakes on the course, trying to catch up, thus arriving to goal over 20 min after the winners I knew there were basically two options, if I wanted to improve: wait for mistakes of others or try to risk a lot. After the first 2 legs I saw that with concentrated flying it was possible to pull away from others a bit, but not from Christian. He didn’t make any mistakes. So, only one option was left – risk.

The opportunity was there soon, after making the Nanos Antena turnpoint and returning to the west edge of the ridge Christian and myself were able to climb to 2300m, followed tightly by Edoardo and the others.We started to glide in freezing air, with wind chill factor around –45 deg (at 85 kph), going for some clouds on the course. At that point I decided to go for a risky option, try to approach a lee trap Cavn directly across the Vipava valley. Christian followed and so did most of the others.Through observation of my gliders performance on the last 2 days I knew that in a long glide against the wind my odds were high.

Since Iztok did great on the previous day (he came in 3rd), the two of us had decided to share the radio frequency with, Oleg as a ground crew, giving valuable tips in order to increase our chances. Iztok had just flown in his brand new GT, and got a fresh fine tuning from Oleg on this day. After the Nanos Antenna he missed a thermal and fell a bit behind, so he took the standard route to Cavn, a detour across the ridge, the safe option.

Christian and myself were getting closer to Cavn, the air kept getting worse and Christian hit strong sink, I started to thermal just next to it. He couldn’t find my lift, so he glided on, sinking strongly. My climb was quite weak with a lot of drift, over me Franc left it and glided to the ridge, 2 km away. Christian being very low in front had to escape into the valley and I made “the best” decision of all – glided on against the wind in the middle of flat part of the moutain below the ridge – with too litle height and on my own. I was on the ground in no time. :-(

Meanwhile Iztok made a succsessful transition with a comfortable height over Cavn. He came in first on this day, second overall behind Christian, who by a miracle got up again in terrible lee air. Well done! :-) Third was Franc.

My sincere congratulation to the winners!

This way an official opening of the European competition season 2013 took place. It was very educational for me, let’s see if I had learned anything. :-)

Best regards,
Primoz