... and so the circus is coming to town for this years' culmination of cross country racing. We return to Pamukkale in Turkey after a four year layoff . The only difference is that we were racing open class in 2010. Pamukkale, which means cotton castle in Turkish, is best known as a tourist destination. It gets its' name from the Travertine terraces which are formed by the white carbonate mineral deposits resulting from the hot springs that emanate from the bowels of the earth beneath the Greco-Roman and Byzantine city of Hieropolis. People have been bathing in the hot water pools for thousands of years including Cleopatra some would have you believe:
Looking back on the year we can reflect on pilots and gliders. The first two events excluded the Enzo2 which was still "banned" in the aftermath of the 2013 Super Final Enzogate Scandal. The results are dominated by Gin and Niviuk with a sprinkling of Enzo 1s in these obviously. The rest of the season was dominated by Enzo 2 with Gin and Niviuk always represented by at least one or more top ten finishes. Felix had steamer of a season winning two events outright and screaming up the CIVL rankings to fourth place behind Uli Prinz and Julian Wirtz. Surprising to some, Torsten Siegel won the Euros on a Boom 9 after two top ten world cup finishes this year. It should come as no surprise, therefore, that Torsten is currently ranked #1 in the world. In a ranking dominated by Ozone this seems odd and has probably led to some conspiracy theory given Torsten's status as designer and test pilot for Gin Gliders. It is likely that the relatively small number of Gin pilots are carrying their weight albeit hard to spot in the Ozone crowd.
It is interesting to see how the French seem to have let things slip a little (if rankings are anything to go by). It was not that long ago when they had seven in the top ten and a dozen in the top twenty or so.
I guess the great glider debate is moot given the imminent arrival of CCC class and the expected arrival of the Boom 10 soon. Who knows what Niviuk are bringing out and I find it hard to believe Ozone will bring out yet another new glider in time for Colombia.
My estimate of the hot pilots at the moment are (in no particular order): Torsten, Felix, Uli, Jurij, Andreas, Francisco, Carlos and any of the Swiss and French top three. Come to think of it, there are so many good pilots I would not want to bet. One thing is for sure, it will be really close as we have come to expect of late.