Tuesday, January 10th, 2012

Orange Week Day 4 Winner’s Recollections

Friday 6/1/12

Orange Week Day 4 – Winner Grant Hudson, LS4a

After the trials of flying dry in fresh class the day before, Craig and I went straight back to Juicing Class for day 4 and I elected to fly wet, adding 50 litres of water to the LS4. The task was back to basics with WGC – Peebinga – Lindsay River – WGC set as an AST. Heating was a little slower than expected due to cirrus moving across the task area so we were all surprised when dad, while taking a passenger in the Duo Discus, reported 4 knots at 3000’. I was at the front of the grid so saddled up and launched into what proved to be a rather soft sky. By the time the start gate was open thermals were going to 4000’. I made a start with Pete Paine and David Jones just in front and lined up a row of red / ploughed paddocks that roughly stretch SE from Waikerie all the way to Pata with small deviations required to stay over them. Cores were small but strong and difficult to fit into. About 15km short of Peebinga I’d had enough and dumped all my water. It had been a hard slog down to Peebinga with no feeling of certainty of getting a climb but the track seemed to be working as I’d pulled clear of Pete and Jonesy.

After turning Peebinga the day seemed to click for me…dry was definitely easier today. I simply ran from red paddock to red paddock up the border working a 2000’ – 5000’ height band. Every time I needed a climb it seemed to be there and I felt happy with the rhythm I was now in. Abeam Taldra I diverted west to stay in the sunshine as the cirrus had moved in further and thickened up a bit (a look at Painey’s trace later showed he did the same thing) and I had the best climb of the day with 2km to run into Lindsay River with an average of 4 knots to nearly 6000’.

In and out of Lindsay River and I diverted to 2 tractors working paddocks just north of track with no worthwhile result and then a slow glide straight to Renmark aerodrome arriving there at 1800’ giving enough height to conduct a search for a thermal that I found right above runway 07. I then headed out over the scrub for a while before collecting a climb to final glide at the paddocks on the northern edge of Lake Bonney. With the light winds I thought the river valley would be working so jumped on board just near Banrock Station and weaved my way up the valley towards Waikerie hitting extended patches of lift of 6 – 8 knots. This enabled me to get faster and faster on the glide for the first time in a week with no nail biting going on at all and I had a great run to the finish line at 140 knots and finished with a straight in on the 26 grass pad in front of the pie cart.

Considering the conditions I was pretty happy with 81 kph off the stick but sat in the glider for a minute or so with my legs dangling as it had been a hard day. I was even happier later when Ridgey told me I had won the day as it was my first day-win in any comp I’ve flown!

Stats for the day: 34 thermals @ average thermal strength 2.9 knots, average glide = 10km.

Can’t wait for Orange Week next year.

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