Tuesday, 29 December 2009

SA Winelands Open 2009 - Porterville - last two tasks

It is not easy going into the last two days with such a slim lead. The third day saw the lead gaggle of Francois, Andrew, Nevil and I miss the climb on the way to bumpy peak while the lag gaggle scored a fantastic corner elevator at teenage-tit which whisked them up and away carrying them halfway over the back en-route to the second turn point in the back valley. Wim was in this group and they chose to fly the foothills for the valley run. Feeling some pressure I applied liberal doses of the speed system and a more direct line under a fortuitous cloud street which negated the massive advantage the leaders had as we managed to reel them in before the last 15km glide from Cuitrusdal. Only one cheeky upstart (in the form of Damian Sykes) within this group went the valley route alone and was handsomely rewarded with a task win. This was probably the best flying day I have seen in PVille ever.

The last day was a messy affair with the task comm setting a risky front valley foray early on that saw several top pilots landing and had just about the entire fleet grovelling and desperate at some point. I managed to find a crew to fly with and the second half of the task was tedious as we were in front with my competition stuck behind which means you have to fly a little more conservatively which is a horrible way to fly. Anton took the aggressive racing stance and I had to reel in my neck and bite my knuckles wistfully while letting him go screaming off into the back valley on a solo effort that had a half chance of securing a task win. It all ended well ... Anton got his task win and I got my comp win.

All in all a great comp and a job well done by Cathy, Waldo and Mike. I sincerely hope they will do it again next year.

In my opinion the up and coming pilots to watch out for in the next three seasons are RusselA, FourieG & DamianS (in no particular order). One could include RyanM, ChrisVN & TheunsK in that list, but they are a little more unpredictable so I'm inclined to wait and see if they can get/repeat results.
It was good to have FrancoisDV, JacquesB and KarelK back and racing as fast (albeit rusty) as ever too. Anton is back and looking good. Nevil and Henry were solid as they always are.
Andrew somehow pulled all the bad luck landing in front on two occasions and Joe was dissapointing after his great performance in Barbs earlier in the year.
Another one to watch is Khobi who walked away with all the female prizes and very nearly took the sports class too. Lastly there is StefJ who is an awesome pilot in all respects. It is a great pity he does not fly comps more seriously.

Friday, 18 December 2009

SA Winelands Open 2009 - Porterville - Day 5 Task 2

After four sublime practice days we had three blown out comp days. No-one can remember when last there were so many un-flyable days in PVille.

The first task was a quick affair which saw all the regulars with a total of 42 pilots in goal. I managed to squeeze in less than a minute ahead of Wim verHoewe from Belgium. Scoring turned out to be an un-mitigated disaster with the new software unable to download tracklogs. We finally reverted to Ulf's trusty old TP which saved the day. The second task was in stark contrast to the first with a tedious 30km into wind fight which saw half the leaders go down shortly after the start in some serious sink. The second wave got through and two hours later I managed to sneak a win by a few seconds from Wim and Nevil. Ten in goal.

Today looks like a typical PVille day with a Southerly predicted.

Sebastian is having a ball, Pascale is delightful and Fernanda relaxed and smiling.

Tuesday, 8 December 2009

SA Winelands Open 2009 - Porterville

After the sad and sorry debacle about a dead world cup in Porterville, we thought Porterville was no more. The All Africa Open Porterville may well be history, but we can now say Long live Porterville!.

Yes folks my favourite comp site of all time (ok a close second or third to Bravo, Castelo and Piedrahitha) will be brought to life by Mike Burgess who has stepped up to the plate and opened the Pampoenfontein launch site to host the SA Winelands Open 2009. This competition may end up being called the 'Papsak Oop' being in Cape Town and all, but I have no doubt it will maintain the amazing tradition of our premier comp site in South Africa.

By the time of this writing the website was showing 88 registered pilots which is promising to say the least. The much vaunted Cape pilot attendence predictions have fallen completely flat other than the notable regulars like Earl and Steffi. This makes me wonder what 'they' (as in the cape pilots) were going on about during all those years of Dasklip boycott when Rob appeared to be the source of their phobia. Whatever the case foreigners and Gautengers make up the majority of the field and with luck we'll see 100 pilots screaming down the ridge in a week.

I'm heading off to the village for some practice tomorrow. Hope for some good up days!!!