Husband and wife couple Steve Senior and Emma Casanova were crowned the new British Paragliding Champions at the weekend after a week-long competition in Pedro Bernardo, Spain – an “amazing” feeling according to the winner.
The competition, which was the second leg of the British Championships, saw five good tasks, of 75km, 78km, 50km, 52km and 51km.
It was won by Ronny Geijsen from the Netherlands who was flying an Ozone Enzo. Second was Guy Anderson (GB, Niviuk Icepeak 6) with Francisco Javier Reina Lagos (ES, Enzo) in third.
The Women’s Class was won by Klaudia Bulgakow (PL) who flew a Niviuk Icepeak 6. Second was Keiko Hiraki (JP, Enzo) and third was Nanda Walliser (NL, Icepeak 6).
The first leg of the British Championships was held in Meduno, Italy, in May. It saw three tasks, 54km, 39km and 39km and was won by Emile Van Wyk, who was in with a chance of winning the overall Championship until a minor accident in Spain put him out of the running.
After the two competitions Steve was crowned British Champion with Adrian Thomas (Gin Boom X) in second place, and David Smart (Advance Sigma eight) in third.
Steve, who is sponsored by Ozone and Kortel, hasn’t competed seriously for over a decade, but has recently returned to competitions.
On winning he said: “It actually feels pretty emotional, but amazing! I won the Championship in 1999, and haven’t competed seriously for many years until recently. The funny things is that I am enjoying racing more than ever, but with more experience and years under my belt than before.”
He added: “Emma is delighted to win for a second time, but has headed straight off to Portugal for the Portuguese Open and then the World Cup – fingers crossed for her.”
Emma Casanova, flying an Ozone Mantra 4, was crowned Women’s Champion. Judith Mole was second onboard a Gradient Aspen 4, with Kirsty Cameron in third.
The competition in Pedro Bernardo saw good flying for most of the week, with the last task cancelled due to wind. Competition highlights for the winner included, “Racing Robert Vandenbegine into goal on task 3, and losing to him by one second!” said Steve.
“It was great to see his face, when he realised he’d won.” Other highlights included: “Flying for more than five hours in task 2, a 78km race with a massive headwind for more than half the distance.”
That task saw a turbulent and windy goal field. “The lowlight was Emile van Wyk breaking his arm during that task,” added Steve. “The incident cost him his lead in the Open and Championship – but he’ll be back for revenge next year.”
Watch a video of the British Paragliding Championships 2012 from Daniel Crespo:
Cross Country’s Marcus King was on hand to capture the podium shots at the prize giving. (With a little bit of retro pixie dust added for fun.)
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