19 July 2014

An Emerging Star wins the Nordic Open

Pedro Bernardo on the South side of the Sierra Gredos in central Spain delivered 7 tasks out of a possible 7. Not that the flying was easy and many good pilots found consistency eluded them.
A big test came on the last day for the day 6 leader Manuel Quintanilla. A strong westerly flow and a cross wind task was going to be a test of skill, judgement and determination. The young Mexican had a 150 point cushion, but probably needed to get to goal to be sure of the win. There is little doubt about his temperament: at the Spanish Open the previous week he had suffered a full bore blow out, deployed his reserve and broke both his C-Pilot Pro instruments on landing. From the way he would fly 7 task, you would never have known!
The crux of task 7 came on the final crossing of the flats to goal. To many, the obvious route was to max out the final climb and use full bar for the cross/into wind glide. Manuel thought differently. He chose to fly directly into wind hopping over ridges to work his way west, before attempting the southerly push to goal with less of a headwind component. He will have met strong wind and turbulence as he crossed over ridges to try to reach the windward side and the hoped for climb. He will have been closer to the terrain than the flat land route and he will have demonstrated how to fly a paraglider at or close to top speed in uncomfortable conditions
Pilots taking the first option spoke of needing 6:1 for goal and getting nowhere near. Manuel crushed the opposition, winning the task and the event. Salut young man!
Manuel Quintanilla on top step of the podium. (Photo Gordie Mucklow)

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