Day 5 @ Sisteron! “Three Musketeers” – this Time not from France, but from Australia!

Z Day 5

They started in Sisteron with day 5 and expectations were HIGH!
First launch was at 1.20 PM and the expectation was for a day with thermals, ridge soaring, maybe even wave and maybe some showers--lot of ingredients to make the pilots happy, though the expected 25+  kt wind might be a bit of a "devil". Cloud base was 2400 m and in the valley over 3000 m.

Their task for day 5: 249 km with 5 TPs and the longest leg at 59.9 km.

As the Aussie team mentioned during commentary on the task:
The task today, set so that after turn 3, on the south leg heading north has several options and gives the 'leaders' a chance to make mistakes, to keep the race interesting!" 

Looking at the launches, I noticed blue skies and white fluffy cus, but winter coats and scarves as well--it was COLD! And mostly that's a good sign, cold, clear air with good visibility.

The last launch was at 2.03 PM when Didier went up. Good job by the tuggies as such a blowing gale is TOUGH on them and their tow plane as well as on the pilot in the glider behind!

Z Blowing gale  Z Aussies in pulover

Today's skies as seen by Anita, who was last on the strip with Didier and pullovers for the 3 Aussies.
Courtesy Aussie team

Some action pictures as shared on FB by the organizers showing the cold, the action and the strain on some faces. Many more great pictures at ..www.sgp.aero

Z John  Z Mike in Sisteron

Z Sebastian

ZEric and Didier    Z Before start

In the pictures-John, Mike, Sebastian , Eric and Didier and Brian at the grid.

At 2.40 PM the signal strong>GO was given by radio from Brian and all competitors left on a regatta start. Interesting to see how they virtually line up on the tracking system to pass the line at 1800 m max.

First TP is Serres, home base for Klaus Ohlmann .
The start might be already difficult because of the tough wind, at that stage already around 30 kts blowing from the NW.
Some had to dive to it as they were a bit too high.

One group of  pilots flew straight up to the TP, but there was a shower N of Serres. According to Brian the weather changed quickly all the time.
Some were racing over the ridge where it must have been very bumpy!Others flew over the valley.

The shower behind Serres moved quickly, but there were no cu's, so ridge was the only possibility there. But no worries as Eric said, "With this wind the ridges should be fabulous."

Pilots taking the direct route might according to Brian, be very lucky as the showers were blown away with the wind and cloud streets were forming. The leading group at that stage was Kai, Sebastian, Uli and Tom.

Speed was up to over 260 km/h for some on their way to TP 2 racing like "jets".

Sebastian was on his own on the way to the TP. Amazing to see how he races to a brick wall and turns in front of it, picks up height and continues to the TP. Impressive!

3.13 PM; Tom was about 1000 m higher than the rest quite clearly in the lead. Is he going to be next Aussie to win a day? It should be his turn now after Bruce and Graham had their win.

In between Laurent Aboulin arrived back at the airfield to land.

4PM;Had to go for a while but back on track, when I hear, "Mike has come from nowhere, so he must have had a real good run."

Noticed quickly on the live stream that there are still 2 groups with Taylor , Claffey and Kawa (a bit higher), Galetto and Coutts, the last climbed 300 m over 3 km. NOT BAD!

They are on their way to TP Nibles andthen it is only around 60 k to fly home.
Mracek, Hauss and Schwenk form another group. The rest follow.

BUT they are not yet home. The wind is strong and they have to pass a blue area as well!So a lot of risk-management! The stress level, pushing hard, running and climbing,bmust be big.

Speed 250 km/h with John in the lead now at 4.14. Followed by Giorgio and Sebastian. BUT...Giorgio races faster than they do; it's going to be really interesting!

Another neck -and- neck race is on! Five Leaders--who leaves first to turn the last TP? It seems Sebastian tries always to be in the highest spot , taking no risks at all. Not that the others do .

4.21: Check point South is the target, then 10 km. to go!bLots of wind on the ground. Tom separated and flew by himself. Maybe he had a better route; we can only wait and see. Sebastian with a light tailwind flying 295 km/h. It's between him and Tom who came via another route.

4.28. Tom looks to have finished as the first pilot. Hopefully he was over the 50 m min. finish line height. Three sec per meter is the price you pay when you are lower, and they all come in pretty low, Followed by Giorgio and Sebastian who tried to keep his height in the turbulent air to NOT get penalty points.

At 4.42, 15 gliders are back home. One French pilot returned to the field earlier. All scores later on www.soaringspot.com

Depending on the height of the finish Tom wins the day, so we don't have 3 French musketeers, but the 3 famous musketeers are now from Australia.
SPEED today ; around 142 km/h!

Looking back at yesterday. AND ....if by any chance you had to miss day 4 you can see a recap on the site; www.sgp.aero 
Only one out landing, unfortunately for Tom.bAnd he didn't make too much of a problem of it reading according to his comment;
Prime real estate - waterfront with mountain views! 
Coincidentally (or not) the same strip where Tom & Paul Mander landed the ASH in 1996 pre worlds (when it was advertised at 15m only!)
Dinner with waterviews at Savines le Lac enroute home." 

Z Tom landing

Sign at strip 32 - no hiking, cycling, dogs, cars, bikes, horses and no ???
Text and picture Tom.

Bruce was happy to see his mate win;
Another great racing day, and the Aussies win again! Longer task today, and Graham Parker took the honours by a whisker from Mike Young. I wish I could have been there to see it, but I was back in the pack a bit. The Grand Prix is a race where you get no second chances, and you need to go for every opportunity. I was unsure of how the ridges might work today, and by the time I had figured it out I was a few k's behind, and that was it! I flew a fine race from then on, but the whole pack was running too fast to catch for me today.
So good to see Graham get up - we had a lovely meal together in Sisteron tonight, and all went home with big smiles.

TANK YOU TO MY AUSSIE mates who allowed me to use what ever I wanted to use about this SGP 2014. Mainly because of them I can share a lot of extra news.
Also huge compliments for the organization using ALL possible social media to inform us in the BEST way.
Their request to pass out the word on this 2014 SGP is honored by many, which is super.
It will cost a lot of viewers TIME they might not have, as you just can't do anything else. Over the next days however, I have to do a few things but I'll try to keep in action.

Cheers Ritz

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