Jouni Makkonen wins Bright Paragliding Open 2017

David Snowden, Australian Squad Manager, reports from the big skies of Australia

Team Bright ... pilots at the Bright Paragliding Open 2017

Team Bright … pilots at the Bright Paragliding Open 2017

The sky above the Ovens and Kewa Valleys was lit up with the spectacle of over 100 paragliders competing in the Bright Open and Pre Paragliding World Cup during January 2017. Pilots travelled in from as far as the UK, Finland, Korea, USA, Sweden, Serbia, Romania, New Zealand, Italy and Germany, specifically for the event.

The international contingent competed alongside over 60 Australian pilots from all states, as well as several Bright-based expert pilots. Three tasks were flown from a possible six. On the task days, pilots enjoyed excellent flying conditions.

Launch from Mystic Hill above Bright on day one had pilots racing over Porapunka Mountain and into the ridges of the West side of the Kewa, with end of race goal at Mount Beauty Airstrip. Twenty seven made the full distance of 68.8 km,  with Jouni Makkonen of Finland making goal in just under three hours.

Task Two took the cavalcade over to Gundowering launch for a 55km flight down the east side of Kewa taking in turnpoints over Mt Emu and Mogan Bridge, with goal again at Mt Beauty Airstrip. NSW and Australian Squad pilot Ivan Anissimov flew a very efficient 1 hour 52 minutes to win the day with just 20 pilots in Goal.

Back up to Mystic on the last flying day before forecast rains had pilots top the week back at Mystic launch for a technical route down Smoko ridge over to Demon ridge out toward Myrtleford to Valley Homestead and back to Porapunka Airstrip, taking in seven GPS turn points. Some 42 pilots completed the task with Sydney based pilot Felippe Rezende taking first place honours with the very fast time of 2 hours 36 mins.

With the three tasks completed the final presentation dinner and drinks was hosted by the Alpine Inn with VIP guest Alpine Shire Mayor Cr Ron Janus awarding trophies and medals to the Overall and Class Winners.

The Paragliding World Cup delegate Zeljko Ouvaka made a short and very positive speech that the competition and organisation had fulfilled its obligations in hosting this Pre-PWC, indicating that that he will now recommend to the PWCA committee that Bright will host the full international Paragliding World Cup in February 2018.

The Bright Open and Pre-PWC organisation headed up by the illustrious Brian Webb, would like to thank the Alpine Shire & Sport Victoria for their support of this event. ACP and HVP for their continued assistance in maintaining accesses.

We would also like to acknowledge and thank the landowners of the region for their hospitalities and in assisting some out landed pilots. And of course the pilots for their competitive sportsmanship in making the event a successful and safely conducted competition.

Full results from the competition and 3D replays of ‘live’ tracking are at www.airtribune.com/brightopen2017

Overall
1 Jouni Makkonen (Finland) 2,055
2 Felipe Rezende (Australia) 2,031
3 Che Golus (Australia) 1,985

Women
1 Woo Young Jang (Korea) 1,627
2 Kari Ellis (Australia)  1,233

Serial Class  
1 Che Golus (Australia) 1,985

Awards were also made to winners of several subcatagary classes.

David Snowden
NEVHGC committee.
Australian Squad Manager
PWCA Liaison

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