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Sports Class Nationals - Day 1

 All I can say after hearing most of the tales from the contestants is, WOW, WHAT A DAY!!! After 2 practice days mostly, in rain (more on that in a minute) we started off the first race day here at Mifflin with a barn burner. The winds were just right for ridge running, and SM just sat in the office and told us he took a 10 knot thermal at Cumberland to get himself high enough to transition back without wasting time. Now that is a combination that spells lots of happy faces in the tie downs tonight, and lots of tired ones too.

It actually started yesterday afternoon with a sharp cold front passage that wet everything down good. Soon after the front passed, and the rain stopped,  I had several people ask me for tows just to blow of the winter cob webs and take a look around. The field was wet, but not soft from long periods of rain, so the tow plane grass was in good shape.  Conditions aloft were better than expected as we saw 1 guy end up at 6500 feet in wave, and no one landed back for long periods of time. Right after a soaking rain, that is pretty darn good. 

Everyone on the field knew that with cold front passage and predicted north westerly winds, we would be in for some great conditions today, and that was true. The weather report actually suggested the winds to turn more westerly as the day went on, but the southern part of the task area is plenty good for a little more western wind than north. The new Club Class had a 19 year old first time nationals pilot, flying a 1-26, put a spanking on the fleet. Daniel Sazhin won the day at a handicapped speed of 89 mph. All I heard from the most seasoned ridge runners was, “I got to the turn point, and there was that 1-26, how the h-ll did he do that?” It will be interesting to hear what he has to say at the pilot’s meeting in the morning, but to say that a few very good pilots were impressed, is an understatement.

The Sports class was not nearly as dramatic as the top of the score sheet looks like a who’s who of the last 20 years in soaring. The day was won by T8, Evan Ludeman, but the top 10 contained names familiar to every racer, such as Striedieck, Seymour, Welles and Weisenbuehler. Karl and Heinz were both as excited as I have seen them in a while, upon return. They shared few words to explain the flight, but the cheers and huge grins exchanged told the story of the whole day.

We had only 4 land outs, and one dinged gear door. As I write this, it is only 8:00 PM, but the clubhouse is quiet, as most admit that the day took a lot out of them, and they have retired to their comfortable confines for a little R&R.

Tomorrow looks to be another good soaring day, though maybe a little less wind. The air we are in is very good thermal air as well, here is hoping it stays a week.

 

Brian Glick

 

Posted: 5/12/2013


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