Tuesday, 23 July 2013

World Championships - Sopot, Bulgaria - Task Five

Sopot finally delivers one for the speed bar merchants flying 130km in three and a half hours for what was essentially a triangle of sorts. 
With cloud base above 3,000m and climbs of +5m/s on the 10 second average, we spent most of the time above 2,500m racing streets and joining the dots between clouds.  In the end LucaD took it from the rest with team SA into goal 5 minutes late. 
The top 50 were separated by seven minutes which represents a difference of just over three percent.  This seems amazing and I have reported this phenomenon on several accasions citing the intensity of competition, but I am starting to wonder.  In this instance the explanation I offer is that the the second half of the race required a touch more self-control after the excesses of the first 80km which had the lead pushing really hard under the clouds above the the main ridge which proved to be the most efficient route of the four options (North, South, foothills and Valley).  This allowed the lag gaggles to catch up which has been the case most days.
Another factor that may explain the clumping of pilots (other than the tiny performance differential between gliders) is the speed limitation: there is no reason on a good day not to scream around the course at full (or near full) speed on the transitions. This was not the case in open class where you had to decide how fast to go based on McCready, the size of your brain and/or the quality of the day. 
The speed range was big enough to make a real difference and on a day like today I suspect we might have been handed some serious punishment by the don (Luca) had he been on an open class wing.  Today Luca pushed the hardest above the mountain in the first half of the race and in the end he only won by seconds from Petr, Adrian and Yassen.  It was good to see PeterN arrive fast in goal along with Frank, Primoz and a couple of other guys I rate really highly.
Russel and I are clawing our way back up the rankings with Russ in 27th.  The grape vine has started the 'hundred mile' rumour for tomorrow, so I had better get my beauty sleep.

No comments: