A Quintessential Racing Day in Germany
The second day of the Beetle Kitesurf World Cup consisted of racing as a main focus and the cancelation of trial heats due to light winds and stormy weather. Arriving in the morning to see what would be in store, competitors gathered to hear from Race Director, Olaf Van Tol, as he explained the course diagram and the overall plan for day two. A straightforward course was laid out and the riders went on to prepare their gear and begin the first race of the event.
A fleet of over 35 took part in competition today. An impressive spectacle with not a single tangle throughout the day, racers provided onlookers with quite the show, exhibiting perfect racing form with tight racing and close finishes. Interestingly, the end results of the three races carried out were highly mixed – not one of top ranking riders earned the same placement twice. In race one, John Heineken (USA) eventually gained a substantial lead, separating himself with great distance from the pack. Riccardo Leccese (COL) stayed close with Bryan Lake (USA) and Olivier Dansin (FRA) not far behind. Difficult at times to tell the exact placement from the beach, the top racers finished in exactly that order, followed by the barrage of competitors behind them.
Race two allowed competitors to try out different tactics with the advantage of one race under their belt. Considering this, the fleet split apart at many points, as competitors hoped that their new lay lines would put them ahead. Lake eventually completed this race first as Heineken crossed second and Ozog Blazej, the young Polish competitor earned an amazing third place against the best racers in the world.
The third race proved to be the most surprising, as several top ranked riders including Heineken and Lake fell back in the fleet after taking one much longer tack than their fellow racers. While they hoped this would put them in the lead, it only worked against them in the end. In combination with shifting winds, this challenging race mixed up the rankings once again, as Leccese finished first, followed by Dansin and Julien Kerneur (FRA). Lake admitted at the end of the race that he took the wrong approach on race three, having gone too far out with Heineken; however, he seemed not to be incredibly worried, and as usual, his concentrated yet relaxed attitude took precedence over any disappointment of this last race of the day.
Leccese, on the other hand, made known how happy he was with this round of racing, saying “There is still a long way to go, but I am really happy with my races today. The last race was good for me because some of the top guys were further back.” He went on to explain that he wants to stay focused regardless of how well he did today, finishing first in the overall rankings.
Also a surprising outcome of the day was female racer, Christine Bonniger’s steady wins in each race. Elated about her consistent victories – especially in her home country – Bonniger excitedly stated, “I can’t believe I am winning because Katja is so good!” Katja Roose (NED), the currently first ranked female racer in the world, achieved second place in each race. German competitor Kristin Boese and Nuria Goma (ESP) also seemed close at times, with Goma eventually earning third place for the days final rankings.
Upon the completion of racing for the day, the wind seemed acceptable to start freestyle trials; however, with a storm arriving on queue and rain pushing in, the wind became more variable, which forced the cancellation of the freestyle portion for the day. Tomorrow, some of the best wind of the entire week is expected with the addition of some swell and changing wind direction.