Good Evening Race Fans:
Despite the rather dire weather prediction for today, we actually got some soaring in. After a tow from Siskiyou County airport to 6500 msl on the top of Gunsite Ridge instead of to the top of Craggy Peak at 5200 msl, pilots were greeted with 4-8 knot thermals to about 10,500 msl. Phew... what a relief. If we were to believe the soaring forecasts, the best we were going to get all day was maybe 3-4 kt lift to maybe 9,000 msl and ending by 4-5 pm local. Still, the winds aloft and on our return to Siskiyou were predicted to be quite strong out of the north and it looked pretty bleak for the short wingers - i.e. me!
So off we set out on a 4 turn TAT with 5 miles circles around each point. The Sparrowhawk continues to prove itself an equal to much bigger, more traditional gliders. Today was no exception as the "little yellow bird" did a great job of extracting energy from the sky on the runs to give terrific interthermal L/D's. Many a pilot has said how impressive this ship has been on side by side runs under real world, competition conditions.
I was able to get out of the start at about 9900 msl for the run to China Start. As has been the case with all the tasks we have flown in the Scott Valley area this contest, Duzel Rock was the place to tank up before going for the turns. if you missed the good climbs at Duzel, your day was done. My flight was made when I was able to get on top of the ridge to the east of Quartz Valley TP and then was able to follow Ray Gimmey (7V) to a terrific climb on Forest Mountain for the run into and out of Grenada.
I missed the climb everyone else got on Antelope Mtn so off I went getting lower and lower as I just squeaked into the edge of China Start to get the last TP. Then it was a very nervous bit of ridge soaring back to Antelope Mtn where I was able to dig a climb out of the rocks and trees to get home. Easy...
I guess despite the winds and unpredictable thermal strengths, the day was really meant to be for me as I brought home a 2nd place on the day for the Sparrowhawk. While not enough to materially change my overall placing, I think I changed some minds about the racing characteristics of the Sparrowhawk over the course of this often difficult weather contest. I will write up a pilot's/racers report of this little machine when I get home from being on the road. So check back.
So Who won? Our 2008 Sports Class National Champion is Rick Walters who used his knowledge of the area to stay out of trouble and to fly a great contest. With yet another new name added to the Hal Lattimore Trophy, Sports class continues to show it is one of the most competitive classes out there.
Good luck to Rick as he goes overseas to go after another title in the next few weeks. Go Team USA!!!
That's it for Team EY for this racing season.