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2019 Uvalde Invitational - Report for Contest Day 3 (Aug 6)

Todays weather is promising to be even better than yesterday's which was nothing to sneeze at by any standard. Given the prospects of a big day with lots of clouds the CD called the task we were all looking forward to – a Grand Prix with a start from down south. The interesting and exciting component was that the GP start was to also be the final leg of a Turn Area Task! As you can imagine, the combination of 2 tasks in one race and the mental exercise it would be to arrive at the GP start gate at cloud base and without throwing away time on the TAT gave us all some work to do.


The specifics of the task were a start from Cylinder D to the first turnpoint at Cotulla with a 20 km radius, next to Winn Exploration (near Eagle Pass the town) with a 30 km radius, on to Callahan Ranch (just north of Laredo) with a 30 km radius and the to the finish line at Uvalde all with a 3 hour and 30 minute minimum time. On top of this task we laid the Grand Prix race home from Callahan Ranch to Uvalde with a start time of 5:30 PM. The TAT start gate opened just after 2 pm which gave a window of about 3 hrs and 20 minutes to make the most miles you could before the GP start at 5:30.


Cloud base was in the neighborhood of 5000 feet at the start and ultimately improved to over 8000 feet with average lift in the 6 – 7 knot range with reports of even more. The first leg lined up well with the clouds and it was an easy trip with most gliders not penetrating too deep into this cylinder thinking they could go deeper at the next two if they had time to burn off. The next leg to Winn Exploration was also quick with times averaging around 45 minutes for the 120 km trip. As expected, many of the pilots went deep into this 30 km cylinder turning at the outer edge which was directly over the Rio Grande River separating the US and Mexico.


After a fast and relatively easy run to Callahan Ranch the task was to get to cloudbase for the GP start. The expectation was there would be a wad of gliders all jockeying for a the start but in fact the gliders were widely separated both horizontally and vertically. We listened to the countdown over the radio excitedly and at the designated time turned toward Uvalde and stepped on the gas. Cloudbase was just over 8000 feet which left us about 8000 feet below glide at a McCready of 4.0 knots and with 152 kms to run however most pilots made the run with only a single stop to pick up some reserve altitude. TX and EM did report locking into a solid 9 knot thermal mid-way home which surely moved them up in the race. Right out of the gate we had two tracks home to choose from based on the streeting and the field split 50/50 on the east/west streets. Between Flarm and just seeing the other racers visually kept us all on high adrenaline as we focused on getting home first. The finish was exciting in that the field crossed the line all within a short period of time providing good viewing for spectators. After the race, the pilots unanimously agreed the GP format was a blast and added another attractive element to racing gliders.


GP results

1st place and 10 pts – Dan Mockler

2nd place and 8 pts – Keith Essex

3rd place and 7 pts – Mark Huffstutler

4th place and 6 pts – Dave Mockler

5th place and 5 pts – Eric Mozer

6th place and 4 pts – Mark Keene

7th place and 3 pts – Bill Snead

8th place and 2 pts – Nicolas Bennet / Ryszard Krolikowski

9th place and 1 pt – Bob Holliday

Posted: 8/6/2019


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