XCeara 2013: Mark Watts and Eduardo Fernandes clock-up 1,100km+ to win

Mark Watts and Eduardo Fernandes win Quixada’s open-distance event, reports Hugh Miller

Winners of the hang gliding competition at the XCeara 2013

Winners of the hang gliding competition at the XCeara 2013

“Chico – you’re a genius!” wrote Peter Harvey back in 1996, having just returned from one of Chico Santos’s events, the Race and Rally. The organiser has a reputation for delivering competitions with a twist, and the XCeara is no exception.

Now in its 18th year, the 2013 XCeara Cross Country Classic saw 30 pilots gather at Quixada, Brazil, from November 25-30, lured by the promise of Spot tracking and free retrieves – wherever you land.

On the ramp in Quixada, north east Brazil

On the ramp in Quixada, north east Brazil

Conditions started off good, but then became somewhat overcast and shaded out. The northern desert state of Ceara was much greener this year than usual, with frequent showers damping down the thermal strength. However, the event finished with a belter of a day, with lots of pilots posting 300+km flights.

Brazil’s Eduardo Fernandes, who smashed the South American hang gliding distance record back in September, scooped the hang gliding event, flying twice as far as his nearest rival and posting 1,236km over four flights. Meanwhile Mark Watts won the paragliding contest, flying 1,105km in four days, including two 300+km flights.

Hang gliding in Quixada

Soaring the hill waiting to get up

Mark Watts on track to a win at the XCeara 2013

Mark Watts on track to a win at the XCeara 2013

Surprisingly, despite near-complete overcast on two of the days, it was still possible to fly 200km. It was an incredible experience, just gliding on and on towards the rain forest, not knowing where you were going to land, just trusting in the incredible hospitality of the people ahead of you to look after you.

Paragliding results
1 Mark Watts: 1,105 km
2 Hugh Miller: 998 km
3 Carlos Lopes: 597 km

Hang gliding results
1 Eduardo Fernandes: 1,236 km
2 Marcelo Abott: 579km
3 Thalis Pacheco: 503km

For more on Chico Santos’s events, visit www.goup.com.br.


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