18th FAI World Paragliding Championship

Chamoux sur Gelon,

20 May
03 Jun 2023
01 Jun 2023

PG Worlds 2023 - Tricky Conditions Evolve

After 4 consecutive flying days at the 18th FAI World Paragliding Championships, everyone started to feel a bit tired, but the pilots insisted on continuing the competition and having a rest day as planned on Wednesday. The forecast showed it as the worst day of the week.

On Tuesday Task 7 was short -  60 km. The cloud base was as usual about 1600 m at about noon with the potential to raise up to 2000m later. Air Start was set at 13:45. The pilots flew north from Montlambert towards La Motte en Bauges, then towards Aix le Bains. After they returned back in the direction of Doucy en Bauges.  From there flew south to Isere River valley at Cruet. And along the ridge on the other side of the valley, via ESS of Le Bettonet proceeded to the goal at Chamoux-sur-Gelon.

After 1,5h of flying the leading gaggle made all mountainside turn points and was approaching Cruet getting ready to cross the river valley. About 25 pilots landed, unable to proceed among them was William Pardis - the winner of the previous day. At that moment the leaders were: Luc Armant, Tim Bollinger, Maxime Pinot,  Soheil Barikani, Yassen Savov,  Juan-Sebastian Ospina-Restrepo,   Russell Ogden,  Meryl Delferriere,  Luis Martinez-Iturbe,   Darko Stankovski. The leading gaggle flew at a speed of 50 km. But Max Pinot, and Luc Armant pushed the speed bar up to 70 km/h to take the Cruet TP faster.

102 pilots arrived at the goal. The first according to live tracking was Max Pinot. The leaders arrived to the goal very high - above 1000 m and Max decided to fly a bit around while Luc Armant went straight to landing and took all the applause of the spectators.

You can watch interviews of pilots from the goal of Task 7 on CIVL Facebook - Luc Armant FRA, Darko Stankovski MKD, Philipp Haag GER, Lode Spruyt BEL,  Krzysztof Schmidt POL,  Luis Martinez-Iturbe ESP, Chigwon Won KOR, and Stanislav Mayer CZE.

The next day was a rest day dedicated to seminars to improve piloting skills and safety. Russell Ogden (Ozone) made a session and answered pilots' questions on controlling a CCC glider. 

By the way, there was another educational seminar held at HQ a few days before. It was dedicated to weather forecasts. Nicolas Baldeck presented his project meteo-parapente.com which covers all European territory.

On Thursday the 82 km task was set. Inversion as expected broke around noon. The Start window was open at 13:30. The pilots took the start cylinder in front of the take-off Montlambert and proceed to the mountains towards La Motte en Bauges.

But the day was very tricky. The first to reach the most northern turnpoint was Yassen Savov. But some pilots who were low enough faced a lot of difficulties at this TP. Over 20 of them landed near the river Le Cheran in front of La Motte en Bauges. The train of pilots turned and flew south.  From which they took the cylinder over Cruet and cross Isere. The task was going fast. After 1h of flying the leading gaggle made the 2nd turn points flying in a single train from ridge to ridge.  The leaders had a speed up to 77 km at about 2000 ASl (800 AGL) when crossing the last ridge before they entered the valley of Isere. In front of all, as we saw on live tracking, were: Luis Martinez-Iturbe, Dominik Breitinger, Michael Sommerauer,  Martin Jovanoski, Chigwon Won,  Maxime Pinot, Evan Bouchier, Yassen Savov, Philipp Haag, Manuel Quintanilla,  Darko Stankovski.

On the way to Albertville,  the race slowed down. Here it was possible to observe 2 different tactics. Luc Armant, William Pardis, Manuel Quintanilla Felix Rodriguez, and Luciano Horn flew over the centre of the valley close to wide main roads.  Tim Bolliger, Luiz Martinez Iturbe, and Louis Tapper definitely preferred the ridge of Montedry just behind the HQ.   The majority was undecided and followed the route still in the valley but closer to the ridge. 

At about 15.15 local time the leaders took the turnpoint near Albertville and then the only remaining part was to return to Bourgneuf, take the usual ESS at Villard Dizier, and land at Chamoux-sur-Gelon.

But when the leading gaggle got to ESS a huge shadow arrived on the terrain around it and many got caught in the sink. Almost all leading pilots landed near ESS just before or after it.

The first who arrived at goal were Honorin Hamard, Maxime Pinot, Baptist Lamber, Constance Mettetal, and Rok Kaver. Those who flew behind saw the trap and tried to get high to make it to the goal.


All 44 pilots who landed on goal that day were as happy as the race winners. Watch goal interviews of the pilots: Constance Mettetal FRA, Max Pinot FRA, Honorin Hamard FRA, Rok Kaver SLO, Pal Takats HUN, Yassen Savov BUL, Alex Schalber GER, Yoshiaki Hirokava, Vladimir Bacanin SER, Johanna Hamne SWE, William Pardis PHI, Stepan Kechedzhi UKR.

The first in Overall of Task 8 were:  Honorin Hamard FRA,   Maxime Pinot FRA,   Baptiste Lambert    FRA, and  Constance Mettetal FRA. Best  Women were: Constance Mettetal  FRA,  Johanna Hamne SWE,  Keiko Hiraki JPN


        Useful links:

        Official website https://civlcomps.org/event/pgworlds-2023

        Day blog https://civlcomps.org/event/pgworlds-2023/blog

        Results https://civlcomps.org/event/pgworlds-2023/results

        Live tracking https://lt.flymaster.net/bs.php?grp=5121#

        Live video broadcast https://paraglide.webtv.live/en