The Championships held in Pegalajar (province of Jaen, Andalusia) last week enjoyed good -if somewhat strong- conditions on the first 3 days, that allowed the 140 competitors to fly races of 60, 88 and 108 km. After the 2nd task, Daniel was on the lead flying a Gin Boomerang 11, with young French pilot Tom Chauvin -also on a Boomerang 11- leading the Open. After winning task 3, Daniel secured his position before the end of the championship, followed by former champion Francis Reina (Enzo 3), Jesús Costa and Juan Carlos Martínez (both on Boomerang 11).

Daniel Crespo, campeón de España de Parapente 2018
Daniel taking altitude during the Spanish Nats in Pegalajar 2018

But a front of bad weather on day 4 and 5 did not allowed for flying, and on Friday 18th the organization set a new task which had to be stopped quickly before the start due to overdevelopments in the area.

Daniel Crespo, Spanish Paragliding Champion 2018

The weather conditions opened a small favourable window on the last day, Saturday May 19th, to launch what would  be the fourth and definitive last valid task, a 46 km race with Goal at the north of Jaen city.

The race was a fast-paced zig-zag, with the firsts betting it all for the podium’s highest site. The pilots who took off -not all, as some decided to leave early and many others chose not to fly- took full advantage of the conditions offered in a very special day, as it  actually was a race among storms.

Daniel dominated nearly the entire race. Chauvin attacked fiercely several times taking the lead at certain moments, but usually a little low so he finally got stuck. Reina, whose only option to overcome Daniel and become Spanish champion for a third time was to take a wide advantage in points, took the risk and headed low for the final glide to Goal, performing a spectacular glide, bouncing and navigating the ascending lines.

Daniel Crespo, Spanish Paragliding Champion 2018

But it was not enough. Daniel “El Pana” had him under control and was well positioned, alongside Portugal’s Carlos Lopes and Venezuelan-German pilot Ernesto Hinestroza “Junior”. When he felt that he had enough altitude to complete the goal without risk, he stepped on the bar of his Boom 11 to the top and was relentlessly cutting off distance to Reina to finally mark the distance time just a few seconds after him, with more than enough advantage to keep his 1st place in the championship.

“I came to this championship with the expectation of getting into the top 10; I felt fit and had the conviction that I could fight for the head positions. In addition, after a year flying with the Boomerang 11, I was absolutely sure that this is the fastest CCC glider, the one with best glide ratio and climbing abilities in weak conditions, besides being the most beautiful. In harsh conditions it is demanding, but I had already gotten into the swing of it. On the other hand, it has been very useful to do the Canarian paragliding League in the last year, since I have been able to train the handling of the instruments, I have flown many tasks controlling different situations, training the flight lines and changing the flight pace; and I also had to handle the “pressure” that some opponents try to put on me, with false claims and some other dialectical nonsense. But most importantly, I was very excited, happy and eager to fly. I wanted to fly all the tasks and not to close the championship with only three, so every day I went to take off to fly as if the competition was just starting”.  Daniel Crespo.

In the last moments of the race a large storm cloud started to unleash some kilometres north of the goal line and the meet director decided to stop the task for security, as many pilots were approaching the goal where the wind was getting stronger.

The results of the task gave a maximum score of 734 points and reflected the positions of the pilots exactly 5 minutes before the stop, with a bonus of 4 to 1 for each meter of height and a very complicated formula. This way, Daniel -with advantage in leading points-, Carlos Lopes (PT/Ozone Zeno) and Ernesto Hinestroza (GER/UP Meru) shared the 1st place, with Vicente Gallart (Enzo 2) 4th and Reina (Enzo 3) 5th.

With these results, Daniel climbed to the 1st position overall, leading his team Gin/Kasana to the top of the teams podium, and Club Taucho (Tenerife) to 1st place in the classification by clubs. Hinestroza, flying the Meru, the new 2-line EN D glider from UP, conquered the serial class podium of the Open, and Juan Carlos Becerra with an Ozone Zeno took the Spanish championship in this class.

In the female classification, with 10 participants -seven of them Spaniards- the overall winner was Constance Mettetal (FRA, Zeno), with Joanna Di Grigoli (VEN, Zeno) 2nd and Maite Moreno (Zeno) 3rd and Spanish Champion.

Open FAI2 Podium: Daniel Crespo 1st, Francisco Javier Reina 2nd and Tom Chauvin 3rd. Photo: Mario Arqué / Facebook
Open FAI2 Podium: Daniel Crespo 1st, Francisco Javier Reina 2nd and Tom Chauvin 3rd. Photo: Mario Arqué / Facebook

TOP 10

1 / 1st ESP – Daniel Crespo / ESP / Gin Boomerang 11 – 2781 ptos.
2 / 2nd ESP – Francisco Javier Reina Lagos / ESP / Ozone Enzo 3 – 2772 ptos.
3 – Tom Chauvin / FRA / Boomerang 11 – 2769 ptos.
4 – Ernesto Hinestroza / GER / UP Meru – 2731 ptos.
5 – Esteban Bourroufies / FRA / Enzo 2 – 2730 ptos.
6 – Carlos Lopes / POR / Zeno – 2705 ptos.
7 / 3rd ESP – Jesus Costa Sanchez / ESP / Boomerang 11 – 2700 ptos.
8 / 4th ESP – Juan Carlos Martínez Melón / ESP / Boomerang 11 – 2698 ptos.
9 – Xavier Laporte / FRA / Enzo – 2692 ptos.
10 / 5th ESP – Miguel Diaz Ruiz / ESP /Enzo 3 – 2680 ptos.

Top Women:

1 Constance Mettetal / FRA / Zeno
2 Joanna Di Grigoli / VEN / Zeno
3 / 1ª ESP Maite Moreno Benito / ESP / Zeno
4 / 2ª ESP Sofia Rebollo Rebollo / ESP / Zeno
5 Silvia Ventura / POR / NOVA Triton 2
6 / 3ª ESP Cecilia Valenzuela Agüí / ESP / Niviuk Ikuma

Podium Club class (EN B):
1 Gabriel Cañada Estébanez – Windtech BALI 2
2 Gari Arabolaza Zabala – Nova Mentor 5
3 Dani Martínez Alarcón – Skywalk Chili 4

Podium Sport class (EN C):
1 José Ignacio Arévalo Guede – Niviuk Artik 5
2 Juanma Garcia Guerrero – 777 Queen
3 Rodolfo Pérez Leunda – Skywalk Cayenne 5

Podium Serial class (EN D) Open:
1 Ernesto Hinestroza – GER – UP Meru
2 Carlos Lopes – POR – Zeno
3 Julien Garcia – FRA – Zeno

Podium Serial class Spanish Nats:
1 Juan Carlos Becerra     Zeno
2 Roger Pifarré Abad      Zeno
3 Manuel Nieto Maestre Zeno

Top Teams

1 GIN KASANA
2 Ozone – Alamair
3 Draco

Top Clubs:
1 Taucho
2 Club Sur de Deportes Aereos
3 Alioth

Autonomies:
1 Andalusia
2 Canaries
3 Catalonia

*Full results on https://airtribune.com/campeonato-de-espana-open-fai-pegalajar-2018/results