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The Dalby Big air 2014
At this time of year there's no place in Australia i'd rather be racing a hang glider than right here in Dalby!Time poor I jumped on a plane to QLD this year. Arriving on the Saturday afternoon there was no time for a flight on the practice day. But if theres a place where you dont need it, its here.
There's no real' local Knowledge' advantage here, it's not a 'must' to experience the local conditions. It's Dalby, Big smooth thermals over flat lands. A relitivley relaxed comp with statistically EPIC racing conditions, no landing area concerns, smooth tow conditions and generally cumulus clouded skys, So yeah you should be here :)
TASK 1. 82km Triangle
Forecasted to OD and possible storms on task 1 and that it did. But at least we got in the sky and flew on course for a bit until it blew up!!
The surprisingly high scoring day given that it was stopped after some had not long towed up was won by 1. Adam Parer 2.Camo
Was Canned early when the the tug pilots decided the ground was too soggy to tow off after the heavy down pours.
It was a EPIC looking sky and we could have had a real solid task if we got in the air. So fingers crossed the forecast stays true and we have similar beautiful sky to race around in for the final five days.
TASK 2. Had us racing along a 94km dog leg task to the NW.
First leg was 54km of Cumulus filled sky with clouds that worked how they looked and climbs of 600ft/min plus. The gaggle? was strong and moved fast and after starting lower I gambled on a line to the left of course that didnt pay off and was always behind the eight ball. The sky blued up on the second half with slow sections but still was sweet for the lead gaggle that cruised into goal all within about 3 minutes of each other.
There was a whole bunch of late arrivals with big smiles stoked to get in and by the end I think about 75% of the field got around.
Curt probably won the day! Adam Parer in a good position blew his final cause he had the goal altitude at sea level. Trusting his instrument, he left on final with a false glide ratio. And my team mateb Flocky pushed a little hard early and decked it on the first leg.
Early days though, it seems we still have 4 good days left!!
TASK 3. !00km zig zig
It was 100km Zig zag race to the same goal as yersterday. And a race it was! The sky filled with sweet cumulus clouds and everyone took the first start knowing you would never catch up with the fast guys under a sky like that if you gave them a 15 minute start gate head start.
It was real fast all the way to the 3rd TP and then there was a few soft spots like yesterday which seperated the lead field a bit.
Len Paton was flying real well! and was 1st, Guy was 2nd, Blenky 3rd.
Unfortunately Curt decked it early after charging out in front and Adam Parer went down at the 3rd TP, so will shake the scores up a bit.
Task 4. 115km sort of triangle
It was sort of a triangle shape task with 4 turn points and goal back at the Dalby AP.
It started out one of those days with thick high cloud around early so the start gate had slow climbs and and low base.
i found pilots pretty desperate to stay in what ever they could find and turn their preferred thermaling direction no matter what, so some the gaggles in the start gate were a bit a crazy cluster f#*k of gliders going in all directions. A handful of us bailed out to find our own, less hectic thermal and for me it didnt work out. I found myself having a re- tow with Grant, the 2 Adams, Jon snr, Glen etc.
We all still had time to make the 2nd start at worst, but I managed to stuff up on tow and found my self having a 3rd tow and I finally started way behind the 8 ball starting 5 mins into 3rd start.
It was a beautiful Dalby sky now that the high cloud was gone and the sky was full of cumulus clouds getting fed by 700 ft/min thermals and base was 6000ft +
As typical for the week the clouds dried up as the task went on and there was some real doughy spots.
I was stoked to get around and crossed the line in good time with Glen who was also forced to take the 3rd.
Super fun and rewarding day of flying and about 15 made goal. Awesome effort by Curt will win the day for the second time this comp!
Close 2nd was Jonh Smith, 3rd Conrad.
The podium keeps changing day to day so its going to be and interesting end to the comp with two days of flying left, maybe one seeing as the cylone up north is going crazy and might effect the last day.
TASK 5. A 90km Dog leg with 3 turn points
This task was never going to easy with the strong wind, but I think the task committee and the forecast expected it to be more crossed on task.
With my instruments reading the wind as 30km/h at times it made tricky trying to get a good position to start from in the start cicle. Once on course the wind was all most stright head wind to the first turn point so lucky the climbs were strong and base was 6000ft.
I had a good run to the first but as the forecast predicted the lift slowed early afternoon due to over clouding. I found myself on the deck near the 2nd. The small gaggle in front flew well to make it to goal in the deteriorating conditions.
Blenky wins the day, 2nd Grant, 3rd Len.
The weather for today is looking very ordinary, fingers crossed we get one more task in for whats been an awesome comp!!
Last task - 80km Triangle
It was a optimistic task given we woke up to rain, and until 11am there was full cloud cover. But like the locals say " you never give up on Dalby"
It was great to see the enthusiasm from everyone as we all set up our gliders. The small pocket of blue sky from the west was slowly approaching and it arrived just in time for the launch open. and surprise surprise with a bunch of pilots working together it was possible to stay up with base at about 4000ft asl.
The cloud was closing in again by the time the 1st start opened and it was looking very unlikely anyone was going to make goal. We all went into survial mode. It was one of those days where you look at the sky and think its pretty cool that we can still defy gravity :)
We were all on the ground between the air field and not far past the 1st.
Fun little flight while it lasted, and just cool we got in the air on the las task to finish off what was a super fun comp!