Potchefstroom Gliding Club once again hosted the National Gliding Championships from the 1st to the 7th October. After the remarkable success last year it was once again decided to hold the National championships earlier in the year than what they were held in previous years. This year fifty three entrants competed in the four different classes. Eleven in the Club Class, twenty one in the Open/18 Meter Class, thirteen in the 15 Meter Class and six in the newly added Double Seater Class.
Club Class allows a wide range of older small gliders within a specified range of performances, with the scores being adjusted by handicapping. Disposable water ballast may be installed but must not be used in this class.
15 Metre Class, aircraft with a wingspan not exceeding 15 meters with lift-enhancing devices allowed, maximum all-up mass 525 kg Disposable water ballast is permissible in this class.
Open/18 Meter Class, aircraft with wing-spans up to 18 metres, maximum all-up mass 600 kg Disposable water ballast is also permissible in this class.
Double Seater Class, restricted to a maximum wing-span of 20 metres, maximum all-up mass 750 kg as with the previous two classes Disposable water ballast is permissible.
The weather didn’t play along throughout the competition and unfortunately many days tasks had to be shortened or cancelled completely.
On Day One only the 18 meter class were given a task as the conditions were not good for gliding at all, the Task was significantly shorter at only 189.3 km and was expected to last no more than 2 hours.
The first leg took the competitors from Potchefstroom to Gypsum Dam then off to Bodenstien and back to Potch via Boskop.
Oscar Goudriaan finished this task in first position followed by Arne J. Boye-Møller from Denmark and Brett Hunter from New Zeeland.
On Day two the competitors were greeted with blue skies and all the classes managed to given tasks.
18m/Open: 3 hr. AAT 246.3 km./454.9 km. Gypsum Dam – Ancona– Bamboespruit– Boskop – Potchefstroom
15m: 3 hr. AAT 220.0 km/429.7 km. Gypsum Dam – Schuttersdraai– Bamboespruit– Boskop – Potchefstroom
Club: 3 hr. AAT 130.7 km/308.8 km. Potchefstroom – Mirage– Hartbeesfontein– Boskop - Potchefstroom
2-seater: 3 hr. AAT 130.7 km/308.8 km. Potchefstroom – Mirage– Hartbeesfontein– Boskop – Potchefstroom
Day three dawned and even with the heavy storms the previous night, which forced some of the competitiors to de-rig their aircraft, the weather looked flyable. Tasks were issued and launches started.
Both 18m/Open & 15m:
3 hr. AAT 230.7 km/441.7 km. Potchefstroom – N12 Traffic – Lichtenburg– Bamboespruit – Boskop – Potchefstroom
Both Club & 2-seater:
3 hr. AAT 115.8 km./343.1 km. Potchefstroom – Gypsum Dam – Makokskraal– Werda – Boskop – Potchefstroom
Day four of the competition once again delivered less than ideal conditions although to the north the conditions seemed better and it was decided that all tasks would be to the north.
Open/18meter Task 287.7 km. Potchefstroom – N12 Traffic – Lichtenburg – Derby – Boskop - Potch
15meter Task 264.6 km. Potchefstroom – N12 Traffic – Coligny – Derby – Boskop - Potch
Club:Task 207.0 km. Potchefstroom – Gypsum Dam – Bodenstein – Intersection – Boskop - Potch
2-Seater Task A 207.0 km. Potchefstroom – Gypsum Dam – Bodenstein – Intersection – Boskop - Potch
Day Five delivered terrible conditions and it was decided to cancel all flying.
Day six of the competition delivered much better conditions blue skies and sunshine, tasks were issued and they competitors didn’t waste a moment to get airborne. Shortly after the launch of the 15 meter and 2 Seaters the weather turned and a massive storm developed to the west of the field and it was decided to cancel the entire day and bring back the guys that had already got airborne.
Day seven, the last day of the SA Nationals was unfortunately cancelled when a hail storm wreaked havoc, the largest field of entries for many years had to unfortunately contend with the worst weather for many years nevertheless sufficient flying was done to warrant a result in all classes.
Club Class Champion was AP Kotze with 2,170 points followed closely by Jaco Burger with 1,998 and Wilhelm Mosehuus with 1,722
The 15 Meter class belonged to Mark Holliday who achieved 2,101 points. Wayne Schmidt and Richard Bradley took second and third with 1,982 and 1,854 respectively.
Oscar Goudriaan walked away with the laurels in the 18 meter class narrowly edging out his brother Laurens with 2,093 only 23 points ahead Laurens with 2070 and Arne J. Boye-Møller in third with a very tight 2062 points
The double seater class was also a close affair the team of Schaap & Taljaard took top honours with 1,816 points followed by the team of Farrell & Tiffin with 1,795, Lessle & Stheeman managed a good third with a very respectable 1,741 points.
Despite the adverse weather the competition was a resounding success and it was great to see international competitors taking part in the local competition.