Tuesday, 7 May 2013

Pyrenees Cup F3F 2013

Last year I had the opportunity to attend the Alpine Cup in Briancon, this year it was the Pyrenees Cup.  The competitions run alternate years and both locations offer their own challenges.

Competing in the Pyrenees Cup also gave me the chance to fly on the slopes used in the 2010 Viking Race (Laurac and St Ferriol).  When I travelled there in 2010 I had only attended a handful of UK F3F events and was still very much a novice.  Out of the 68 pilots I did achieve 22nd in the overall competition, but the main thing was how much I learnt from watching the top pilots compete against each other.
The weather system was looking undecided but you can never tell 100%.  Simon and I set off on the long drive Wednesday evening at 10pm and finally arrived at the Laurac slope at around 2:30pm the following day.  It gave us a chance to stretch our legs and get some well needed practice.  Peter Gunning arrived a little later after flying into Toulouse Airport.
Laurac ‘A’ slope is an interesting slope that works in a South Easterly’s direction, the wind never quite straight on.  One minute where ever you fly there is lift, the next minute; you can drop from 300ft above the slope to eye level in a matter of seconds and getting back in on the edge will still not produce the expected lift, no matter what the wind speed is.
With predicted weather system for the competition the wind was due to head in a North Westerly direction which would put us on St Ferriol. The downside was that day one looked like it would be rained off, day two was more hopeful and we may get some flying and finally day 3 was undecided.
Day one the prediction was correct and we were unable to start any rounds.  Day two however we were able to fly.
The wind speed was up around the 10 – 15m/s on occasions but did have variability. The rain cleared at around 12:30 and in the following 5 hours we completed 7 rounds. Matthieu Mervelet was in great form making the most out every flight to win his second Eurotour this year, Pierre Rondel although had a slow start soon got up to speed to take second spot and I finished 3rd overall. Sadly day 3 the weather forecast proved to be correct and we did not fly.  
This is a great place to fly, Andreas Fricke and his team organised a great competition, the food at the banquet was fantastic and the company all weekend was brilliant.  I would not hesitate one second recommending going to France to fly.  I will be returning next year and already planning a much longer stay to enjoy everything about France. 

Photos on IPad / IPhone click HERE

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