The penultimate day of racing at the 2013 Kiteracing European Championships was a critical one with the top riders having to perform at their best in order to make it through to the platinum fleet tomorrow.
Four races for the men and two for the women with everything at stake - all the riders were fully focused. The Bridge family has reserved the two top spots at the leaderboard with Steph having a clear lead from second; Roose and Steph's son Oliver had a great performance yesterday extending even further his point difference from Russia's Doronin who lies in second.
Even though he is only 15 years old, Bridge showed great maturity today and with solid results in the top 5 managed to keep his lead and go into the medal series tomorrow with a safe lead from Leccese who is now in second place, after a very bad day for Doronin who dropped in 5th . A great performance today from Holland's van der Vlugt managed to climb him into 4th overall scoring three top 5 races.
In the women's fleet everyone was waiting to see if the young Russian Kalinina who managed to score 4 straight bullets yesterday, would made it to the top 10 and continue racing tomorrow as well. With only two races on today's schedule it would be a true challenge for her. Meanwhile Bridge had to keep in front of Roose in order to hold on to her top spot. But star of the day was again Kalinina – she scored another two bullets and marginally made it to the top ten with 6 first finishes and 8 disqualifications, not a frequent sight. Bridge managed to stay close behind her and score two second finishes and extended even further her lead from Roose who scored two thirds.
With Bridge on the lead and Poland's Janiak completing the top 10 in the men's fleet it is all about tomorrow with four races in schedule and everything possible. The small number of riders doesn't allow many opportunities for covering the lost ground and it's going to be hard for those that already have built a safe lead to lose their place.
Same schedule for the women as well, and it remains for another day to see if mother and son will achieve the remarkable and be crowned European Champions for 2013 in men and women.
As we go into the final day tomorrow the championship is climaxing and all eyes are turned to Hang Loose Beach. A massive 14 races for the womens fleet and 15 for the two mens flights have been completed.
Its hard to find information on the Platinum fleet races for the final results, but as far as I can tell,
Is it that the top 10 go though to the platinum fleet and carry their positions as if they have finished that way in the first two (imaginary) races? They then race 4 races and the final result is the best result over the 6 races (2 carry-over imaginary races and 4 Platinum fleet races)?
The men's top 10 is heavily loaded with the big names making it to the platinum fleet, so there could be quite a lot of changes in positions.
In the ladies, Kalinina is starting with two 10th place finishes, so even if she wins all 4 races, her lowest score (unless there is a discard) is possibly 24. (if there is a discard, her lowest would be 14).
Bridge starts with the advantage of two firsts and Roose with two seconds, and given that they have usually been clear of the rest of the fleet, the battle is likely to be between those two.
Shows the importance of making sure your equipment meets the regulations. After what has happened at this event, competitors will be much more aware of that. Its part of being a professionally run sport.
The live transmittion was very broken up by some breaks in transmission, but would have been good with better signal.
I just watched the third ladies race and it does seem that there is a discard, but by finishing second in that race the commentator reckoned that Steph Bridge has taken the title.
Wind has dropped to 7 knots gusting 9 which has caused a postponement of racing.
Wind also seems to be very flukey with lots of changes of direction.
The race started in about 8 knots, so they are very much at the lower limit for proper course racing. They can still sail around fairly fast in 7 knots, but it doesn't make good and fair course racing easy.
It seems that some Temavento boards failed measurement checks, but when Kalinina switched to one which passed, she won the next 6 races, so it will be interesting to hear what was the reason for the disqualifications. Maybe it was to do with tolerances in manufacture?