Hang gliding Europeans heats up in Spain

The weather in Ager, Spain, in July for the European Class 1 HG Championships could not have contrasted more with Tegelberg, the venue for the Women’s Worlds and Class 2 and 5 Championships: temperatures around 38C and sunshine every day. Although Gerolf Heinrichs from Austria is the new European HG Champion and team mate Tom Weissenberger (right) was awarded silver, Italy took team gold, followed by Austria, with Switzerland in third place. Attila Bertok (Hungary) won the bronze medal overall. Tasks were set on 11 of the 12 scheduled competition days, allowing one rest day after 7 days of flying. Overall, 9 tasks were validated, as two days were cancelled due to strong winds. Tasks ranged from 67km to an impressive 193km (with more than half the field in goal!) The organisers were somewhat disappointed that only 91 pilots took part, as they had expected considerably more. And with only seven women entered, the European Women’s title could not be awarded. There were a few minor incidents, but only one resulting in the pilot withdrawing after suffering a broken collar bone. The last day’s 84km task proved a little contentious in two ways. First, there was a complaint that Christian Ciech (SUI), who was scored as coming 8th into goal, had been witnessed as arriving 2nd over the goal line. However, the Local Regulations were clear that GPS time prevailed, and that the goal line was a visual reference only. There have been some questions raised about the possibility of some technical problem with the timing on the pilot’s GPS. A back- up unit could have shed some light, of course! As a result of these discussions, which delayed confirmation of the official results, the prize-giving ceremony and final party were somewhat later than planned.