24 May 2024

Paragliding Euro 2024 launched in Pegalajar

17th FAI European Paragliding Championships rocket launched in Pegalajar in the region of Jaen in Spain. The event is organized by CTNP, Pegalajar paragliding club, and supported by the NAC of Spain. 137 pilots from 31 nations have come to face the challenge. 12 women are competing for the title of the female European champion. This competition will award Overall, Women and Nations champions. The junior title will not be awarded due to an insufficient number of juniors.

The opening ceremony was held on May 21, 2024, in the town cultural center of Pegalajar where the participants have arrived after a parade through the town. They were heartily greeted by the local authorities. Both communities of Pagalajar and Jaen have sponsored this championship. To be noted they have been making significant investments into free-flight sport development in the region for many years in a row.

The official training task was held earlier that day and proved good organizational skills of the team. 

Task 1 was set the following day. On May 22, 2024 the pilots flew 94 km in a slight zigzag towards the south in rather strong flatland thermal conditions. Cloudbase up to 3000m. A roller coaster - fast up and scary down -  not everyone is used to fly in such aerology. The majority of competitors kept together in a huge train and were sometimes a bit tight in the thermals. It resulted in the fact that half of the competitors arrived to the goal within the first 15 minutes. However, the winner flew last leg absolutely on his own. A young pilot Rui Aguiar from Portugal was leading a lot during the task and in the end managed to get 1,5 min ahead of everyone. It took him only 2 h 6 min to cover the distance. The second was Honorin Hamard from France and Martin Petz from Germany. The last pilot arrived to goal after 3 h 11 min of flying. Only 13 pilots bombed out on the way. The best women were Constance Mettetal FRA, Elisabeth Egger FRA and Silvia Buzzie Ferraris ITA. Find out pilots' interviews here.

Task 2 was set on May 23. The organizers set an 86 km optimized distance triangular shape task, but pilots had to cross the same valley to and fro several times.  The conditions worsened as the day became more stable. It resulted in the fact that many bombed out in the middle. Both young like Rui Aguiar - the winner of the first task and experienced, like Yassen Savov from Bulgaria and Luc Armant from France. Later the day improved and the valley started to work better. Some pilots, flying well all the road, tried the risk and failed - they bombed out just in front of ESS.  The success required a lot of tactics. So no wonder the French took all task 2 podium. The choice of staying high a bit behind and flying fast at the necessary moment proved to work. As Honoran Hamard explained in his goal interview he lost only to Max Pinot due to leading points but on the final glide he was unbeatable, so came the first to the goal. It took him only 2h 24 min to make the task. The last pilot in the day did it for 3h 51 min - it was Etienne Coupez from Luxemburg -  the most senior paraglider in the event -  this year he will turn 68 years old. The youngest pilot in the comp is Dylan Mansley from UK - he is just 20 years old. 

The winners of Task 2 are: Max Pinot, Honorin Hamard, and Julien Wirts from France. Best Women: Constance Mettetal FRA, Elizabeth Egger AUT and Anca Tabara ROU.
The best national teams after 2 tasks are France, Great Britain and Italy. Goal interviews of pilots are found by this link.

The 3rd Task - 114 km race to goal - was set the next day in an almost straight line in the direction of North East. The wind was not very strong - about 10-15 km/h and the thermals worked very well. Everyone loved the thermal of the olive factory of 5-7 m/s - it was a perfect lift for the whole train of paragliders. According to live tracking the first on goal were Nuno Virgilio POR and Fran Reina Lagos ESP with a difference of only 2 seconds. It took the first 10 pilots only 2h 45 min to cover the distance. The others followed. In about 30 min we had 80 pilots arriving to goal. "Finally we have a perfect Vuelo Iberico!" shouted Luis M. Iturbe ESP when landing. The winners of task 3 are Nuno Virgilio PRT, Francisco Javier Reina Lagos ESP  and Roger Aeschbacher SUI    share the 2nd place followed by Stephan Morgenthaler    SUI. Best women are  Constance Mettetal FRA,  Elisabeth Egger  AUT  and Julia Jauss GER. A glimpse of goal landings and the interviews are in CIVL Instagram.

After 3 tasks France is leading in the Nations ranking, Great Britain being the second and Germany the 3rd. Italy, Slovenia, Portugal, Spain, Switzerland, North Macedonia, and Poland in the respective order comprise the top 10 ranking.

Follow the race on Flymaster live tracking also with live scoring https://lt.flymaster.net/?grp=5844

All results can be found at this link https://civlcomps.org/event/pg-euro-2024/results

Every day you can get a glimpse in the competition through CIVL social media Facebook and Instagram.
You can also read the event's day blog at https://civlcomps.org/event/pg-euro-2024/blog

The event has live broadcasting coverage organized by the local team - Judith Mole and Javi Garcia which you can watch every day on Cross country Youtube channel
Pilots interviews, aerial footage, expert commentary, and many more. 
Stay Tuned!