Second task of the championship, with 29 pilots in goal the three first positions go to Brazil. Six out of the ten first places go to the country of beautiful people giving us an idea of how strong this nation is. Early days, but we are starting to see a trend.

Frank Brown and Rafael Saladini, 3rd  & 1st in goal

Rafael Saladini is a rocket… a rocket with a bird-like glide whilst Cristiano Ricci and Frank Brown are like Patriot missiles locket to the rocket! The three of them coming into goal within 40 seconds.

Others also made it into Goal, like yesterday’s winner Ignacio Ortiz, only a minute behind the winner in 8th place. The Argentine showing yesterday’s win was not a fluke. Ignacio means business and retains the overall lead.

Mr ‘Cool, Calm & Collected’ Cody Mittanck from USA also places well and keeps himself within striking distance… keep an eye on the American, he could be getting ready to pounce.

Bianca Heinrich (USA) won the day for the ladies whilst yesterday’s winner Violeta Gimenez bombed out early, letting Bianca lead her on the overall.  Classy Venezuelan and Annecy resident, Joanna di Grigoli placed well. The competition is long still, and we would be fool not to count her as favourite.

Patricia Garcia de Letona (MEX), on the other hand, was seen past TP 1 fighting it out at tree height for 40mins… what a pilot! If she didn’t make it back to cloud base, it wasn’t for lack of trying.

Final glide to goal. Photo: Mike Trotta

The Task

The ground is gradually drying, and conditions are getting better. We had a 47.7 Km task; low cloudbase and spotted rain would be the signature of the day. First leg, we push into wind to TP1, ‘the crux’.  A tricky place to say the least, pilots have to deal with rain along the course and the reports of ‘Level 2’ safety start pouring through the radio. Tension mounts in the air and on the ground as pilots press-on to touch the turn point low, very low. Lots of pilots land in TP1.

When you fly around the world you learn that there’s not a single size to fit all. Here, pilots were climbing in the rain and aside from female pilot Shauin Kao, reporting her Zeno going parachutal for a short time, nobody else appeared to have major problems.

Michel Guillemot (ARG). Photo: Mike Trotta

Should have the Meet Director cancelled the day? That was the question of many, but nobody searched harder for an objective answer than Brazilian Richard Pethigal. Seen the potential storm ahead, he took the job to ask every pilot he came across, in private, if they thought the task should have been called ‘Level 3’ (cancelled).  Away from the crowds, nobody thought conditions were more than ‘Level 2’ (risky, but flyable).

After struggling into wind past TP1 things got better, not great though.  Most pilots reaching goal had at least 2 very low points later on the race.

In the end, 29 very happy pilots made it to Goal, and this could be sensed on the evening’s barbecue that followed.  Lots of happy faces! That’s how we like it.  This is the beauty of Paragliding racing: You don’t need to win to feel in heaven… you just need to reach the goal line.

The story of the day: Adrian “Spiderman” Acosta, lives to tell the tale

The ‘tale to tell’ came from reigning Argentine Champion Adrian Acosta. After pulling a little too enthusiastically from the As, Adrian gets lifted and dropped on take-off.  The glider stays up, he drags himself (kind off) up and pushes forward, he sort of slides off take-off and those on launch see, helplessly, how one of his 2 reserve parachutes falls off the harness container.

On all that dragging the handle must have snatched somewhere. The Beamer 3 opens, the glider surges forward and he starts gliding down, parallel to the nearly vertical granite slope below take off.  Scary stuff.

Adrian checking his reserve after the incident

He hits the mountain face sideways, luckily avoiding a hard impact, but he slides, then halts… then the parachute inflates again and drags him across (not down) the steep face. Adrian is in trouble. He sees a small branch; grabs hold of it and pulls it clean off the wall. More dragging. Then just before a vertical drop he grabs hold of a larger shrub and he finally stops.  With his head pinned down by tangled lines and his parachute, he deflates the chute.

Only short minutes later, a firefighter is rappelling down to secure him. Nightmare over. This was a textbook quick response, one that probably saved more serious consequences.

Adrian was a little shaken in the evening and was at that point unsure if he would race today despite no damage to his gear.  Perhaps, spending the day with his toddler is more appealing today.  The Ojovolador Team wishes you a speedy mojo recovery Adrian!

*Photo header: Gerard Chouvin

For full results & overalls visit: http://hipoxia.com.br/panamericano2020/results/

Nations Results T2:

Position Nationality Scoring Pilots
1 BRAZIL Cristiano Ricci da Silva,  Frank Brown
2 USA Cody Mittanck, Bill Hugues
3 ECUADOR Juan Carlos Moran Reinoso, Bryan Andres Carrera

Women’s results T2:

Position Pilot Nationality Sponsor Glider
1 Bianca Heinrich USA Eagle Paragliding, Bozeman Paragliding Niviuk, Evox
2 Joanna di Grigoli Venezuela Gin Gliders, La Sambuy Gin, Leopard
3 Patricia Garcia Letona Mexico Trafimar Niviuk, Evox

Open results T2:

Position Pilot Nationality Sponsor Glider
1 Rafael Saladini Brazil Ozone, Enzo 3
2 Cristiano Ricci da Silva Brazil Nafar Academia Ozone, Enzo 3
3 Frank Brown Brazil Gin Gliders, DNA Turismo, X Vario, Landspride Gin, Boomerang 11

 For more information and Live Tracking go to: http://hipoxia.com.br/panamericano2020/