World’s Fastest Riders Take the Start Line for Kite Race Bonanza
18 September 2017
The inaugural edition of the International Kiteboarding Association (IKA) TT:R World Championships is set to kick off in eastern China in the fast-emerging, high-octane twin-tip racing discipline.
The down-wind slalom racing with all the drama, thrills and spills of boardercross, is in stark contrast to the measured and technical IKA KiteFoil GoldCup. The third and penultimate act of the 2017 hyrdrofoil race series will be run in tandem with the TT:R Open Worlds and Youth Open.
The IKA KiteFoil GoldCup and TT:R regattas are the second to be staged in as many weeks in China, with the back-to-back events offering some of the richest purses in kiteboarding this year.
Pingtan, on the East China Sea, is fast establishing itself as a kiting destination hosting international competitions year-in, year-out, but until now the reliably windy city has been more familiar to freestylers than racers.
Yet with 95 entrants across three classes—including a TT:R course-racing fleet of 32 racers—the coastal city is also marking itself out as a hot spot for the increasingly-popular discipline of kiteboard racing.
In the TT:R Worlds, Croatia’s Martin Dolenc, 17, who dominated the TT:R Europeans in Italy in July, must be hot favourite to repeat the feat if conditions allow.
But with Germany’s Florian Gruber, former Formula Kite world champion, Atte Kappel (SWE), the world-ranked number one TT:R racer, and Asian champion Narapichit “Yo” Pudla, in the mix, the competition is bound to be intense over the five scheduled days of competition.
In the women’s division, France’s Alexia Fancelli, who won in Weifang last week, will no doubt be pushed hard by Russia’s Elena Kalinina. But with better luck than she found in Weifang, local favourite Jingle Chen (CHN), is quick on a twin-tip and could one to watch, along with Thailand’s Benyapa “Fon” Jantawan.
The Boys’ (U-19) division, comprised of those who will be eligible for the Youth Olympic Games in Buenos Aires next year when the TT:R slalom and boardercross format will be used, also has a field stacked with potential.
Runner-up at the Boys’ TT:R Europeans, Cameron Maramenides (USA) will likely have his hands full with Tiger Tyson (ANT) and the winner at last week’s Weifang TT:R event, Thailand’s Sarun Rupqhom.
In the IKA KiteFoil GoldCup, with 21 riders from 13 nations, France’s Axel Mazella and Theo Lhostis, first and third respectively in Weifang, with countrymen Theo de Ramecourt and Julien Kerneur, Germany’s Florian Gruber and Spain’s Alejandro Climent Hernandez, must be expected to push one-another to the wire.
Among the women, it is bound to be a straight fight between Kalinina and France’s Fancelli after they traded blows all week in Weifang, with the Russian coming out on top.
Racing will commence from September 19 to 23, with disciplines chosen by the race committee depending on the wind and wave conditions.