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2009 Paragliding World Championships - Task 9

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   Task 9 - 106.5km (865.4km through 9 tasks) (view in Google Earth) (download Google Earth)
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Download the Valle De Bravo Waypoints in Google Earth to follow the summary and interviews.

February 4, 2009 – Task 9

Task 9 was a 114km task with a 6km exit cylinder around Penon. They backed the start time 15 minutes to 12:45pm. The remaining turn points were Llano, Divisa, Elefan, and Three Kings. Quintanilla was set as a 1km end of speed section cylinder and goal. Clouds were popping early on and the day looked very similar to yesterday except for the wind. Pilots were getting nice climbs and well established an hour before the start. There was a bit of wind in the forecast, and the day was a bit rougher than yesterday with the sheering.

Pilots would have been ready to leave for Llano 30 minutes before the start, and lots were thermaling and waiting on the edge of the cylinder south of launch. This isn’t a regular hang out for pilots but the convergence line was setting up nicely close to the edge of the start cylinder, and there were clouds popping in this area. There were groups climbing well a couple kilometers out in front of launch under big clouds. These pilots ended up getting the best start. They pushed further out front to another cloud and got even higher before the start.

This group became the leaders and they made a moved towards the Llano turn point after getting the start on a downwind run under some really nice clouds. They did much better than the group who had been thermaling more to the south on a direct line to the Llano turn point for over 45 minutes.

The leaders tagged Llano and made a move back to the launch area on their way to the Divisa turn point. Pilots came back into launch low and tried to ridge soar up and ended up landing. Others were able to grab a piece of lift and drift back over launch with the thermal and end up getting high enough to make a move for the Penon zone. Pilots who got over to the Penon area low seemed to be in the lee. They got stuck here, and had to really work to get up and lost some time. Other pilots made a play for Cerpel and Espinosa, and got hot climbs and continued on to Three Kings.

The leaders came back from Llano and made a move at Crazy Thermal and pinged out then put it on a line towards Maguey and Divisa. Groups were taking different lines to Divisa. Some were out front left of course line, others were deeper on the mesa, and some split the difference. Lots of the leaders had very buoyant glides almost all the way down the mesa towards Divisa before having to tank up or worry about altitude.

The big move of the day happened after the Divisa turn point. Urban Valic took a line that nobody else tried, and in the end he won the day and arrived in goal 15 minutes ahead of the rest of the field. He made a move from Divisa by taking a line around the north west end of the lake all by himself. He ended up finishing the rest of the task in the lead by himself, and everyone in goal was quite impressed.

The rest of the field took a line on the south east side of the lake. Pilots came from Cerro Gordo, Escalares, and even St. Augustine. There were nice clouds setting up on this side of the mesa and lots of pilots were very high as they glided toward the Elefan turn point. The groups were really cutting the corner today compared to the task yesterday, and it worked very well as the clouds were setting up nicely for these lines.

The convergence was teeing of all the way from Elefan to the Escalares, and pilots were cruising along this line at cloud base. This was a super highway and pilots were ridge soaring along this line of clouds back towards the mesa. This lovely line of lift ended as pilot pushed onto the mesa. They met a wall of wind, and pushed towards Three Kings.

Pilots pushed on and took a couple of low climbs as they pushed into the wind towards Maguey. Lots of pilots pushed into the lee of Maguey to block themselves from the fierce headwind. It was shadowed and slightly rough in the lee of Maguey, but pilots were able to make better ground speed.

Pilots pushed around the left side of Maguey and fought hard to make headway. There wasn’t much happening, and the pilots who were really getting it had pushed out front to the bowl on the edge of the mesa where it meets up with the Three Kings spine. The pilots who continued to push past the Three Kings turn point got the best climbs which allowed them to glide back high enough across the mesa to take the glide all the way to goal at Quintanilla.

Pilots who did not get as high by pushing past the Three Kings needed to climb at Cerro Gordo, Escalares, and St. Augustine before they were showing a glide ratio that would get them to goal. We saw at least 10 pilots come over the mesa who put it on glide for goal and came up short. The wind was not pushing pilots to goal at Quintanilla as it had on previous days, and the line seemed less buoyant than previous days.

Look for the big task of this event tomorrow. We have two days left, and they will not call a huge task on the final day so tomorrow they could send competitors out on a task at least 130 kilometers. Let’s hope the weather cooperates for a big day.

Rob Sporrer reporting from the pit

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Pilot: Tomas Brauner
Country: Czech Republic

Pilot: Alberto Martinez Brun "Atuk"
Country: Mexico

Pilot: Matt Beechinor
Country: United States

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Task 9 Individual Results
Overall Results
Overall Female Results
Team Results after 9 tasks (.xls)

World Paragliding Championships Past Winners
Current Paragliding World Rankings

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