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Our approximate track over the course of the Rally



Paris on opening day launching out of Quest



Shapiro launching out of Live Oak on day 2



Couple of T2s in goal at Moultrie municipal



Launching off the taxiway at Americus airport in southern Georgia



Aerial view of the Americus apron



Taking the day win on the 194k task from Americus to Vidalia



The Vidalia welcoming committee



Curt, Lou, Wylie, and crew after a long day



Jonny departing on the last day of the Rally on his way to Allendale, SC





The combined weather for the Ridge and Rally comps had to be about the best I can remember in Florida. The ridge was tricky as usual with some light days and lots of wind but we still managed several 100k + days and had a strong field with jr. and the rest of the moyes boys there as well as the wills team. The US team got great practice for the upcoming Italian worlds and I think we have honed our radio comm at this point. Several new gliders were delivered at the ridge comp as well, and Miguel Molina and Mike Glennon were stoked with the way their new 154s were going. Fillipo, Stinnet, Bunner, Bostik, Davis, and others all seemed to be nearby when the going was good.

The rally had basically the best weather I've ever flown in the east. Mostly 6-700 up with the occasional 9 up just to keep it interesting and allow you to leapfrog from behind if you got lucky.

Coming off of a light spring schedule, I was a bit worried about how I would settle into comp mode. Two weeks of 16+ hour days working in the Shapiro harness shop right before the comp weren't the best training I could have been doing, but it seemed to be working for the first 3 days of the ridge... there's no doubt our T2s are going as well or better than they've ever gone with zero issues gliding with anyone out there. By the end of the 2 competitions, Jonny had 5 day wins, I had 4, and Paris and Curt each snagged a day win, both after a long absence from the US comps. When it was done, Jonny's consistency had won him both comps, however I am super happy with my performance and can narrow down my mistakes to just a couple over the entire two weeks - which is a rare thing.

The ridge comp marks one year since I first flew my proto covert, and after a solid season of racing it is looking pretty much new. I'm taking it to the worlds along with a new sail on my current frame (T2Cx...after a little skunk working). Looking forward to a full season of comps..

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photos courtesy of Ricker Goldsborough and Alex McCulloch



It was that time of the year again to leave the remains of Montana winter and to head toward Florida for two of the most competitive US Hang Gliding comps of the season. The thought of walking bare foot in cool grass with the sun on my back while setting up the glider always gets me so stoked to be a pilot. I mean, how good is it to converge with friends from around the world for consistently good racing under perfect clouds? Flying and racing every day for 2 weeks in Florida is my idea of pure life at it's essence.


line up


blue days are social


Stinnett coming out of the cart on his new T2C 144

The first of the two competitions, named in memory for our good friend Rob Kells, took place at the Florida Ridge flight park, located just to the west of Lake Okeechobee. The Ridge is well equipped and is run by consummate professionals. James Tindle and his crew kept us all safe and efficient throughout the week. One of the best parts of the event is that there is a heavy emphasis on a Sport Class which enables newer comp pilots to learn and test themselves by flying challenging tasks accompanied by the ability to fly with more seasoned pilots. Really cool to see some of the up-n-comers making their first goals and flying their personal bests.






Sport class guys were rockin it


Zippy

The Rob Kells Memorial competition absolutely lived up to my excitement with dream like flying and good racing. One day in particular Curt, Zippy and I were working well together, flying as fast and as efficiently as possible down the day's course line. So cool flying with these guys. During the strongest part of the day, we climbed tip to tip, circling in lift that was going straight to cloud base at close to 900 feet per minute. Just as we were about to be engulfed in the cloud, we pulled in and sped up to 60+mph to escape the lift before being completely "whited out".





As we cleared the cloud, we all flew through the misty white at it's edge and popped out the side above the cloud's base and raced on through the cloud canyons formed by the quickly developing sky. I laughed when I looked down our course line at a perfect cloud street, knowing that we were about to fly it's length without turning. It was one of those moments a hang glider pilot dreams about. Ahhhh, I love racing in Florida!

Dustino



The comp had it's ups and downs and competitive excitement to the last day. With a field of close to 60 pilots, no injuries and 6 out of 7 days to race hard, the party at the end of the awards ceremony was lively, to say the least. The best part....knowing that we have only one rest day until the next comp and a whole new dream to live.


Jonny boy on the winning pink cart

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