This team format may not turn out to be 100% ideal, but for most of the competitors and ALL of the spectators today was incredibly fun! It works like this: We have 24 pilots made up of two-man teams. Teams choose each other -organizers have nothing do to with the pairings. There is a single race start and the team score is made up of ONLY the slower of the two pilots. Our idea with this format was to encourage serious team flying. If your teammate is low or behind the pack, there’s no point in doing anything but sticking around and helping him out.
So day 1, the task committee originally set a 97km triangle coming back to Americus. About a half hour before launch, they started to get concerned that they were overcalling the day – the forecast was for total blue and the sky looked quite stable. Just to be sure, last minute they removed the second turn point and went with just an out and return of 75km. But, watching the spot trackers, we quickly started to see that the original task would have been fine – they were moving pretty fast!
About 4:30 or so, we all headed out to the goal area to search the skies. When they started to appear on the horizon, we could see that nearly half the field was coming in together. No one was surprised to see Christian blast into goal first…and, just a few seconds behind him was his teammate Davide! You can call it luck all day long, but there’s no denying that Christian has dominated this competition – he has won EVERY SINGLE day that we’ve flown here! It’s pretty impressive.
It’s been a long time since I’ve seen such a high percentage of pilots in goal and I don’t recall everyone being as excited with a task in ages. It’s fun to try something new and even if we never do this again, this task won’t be soon forgotten.