On day four of the Kiteracing Oceanic Championships, two Medals Series races were hotly contested at Leighton Beach, Fremantle. The action-packed racing concluded with wins by Italy’s Riccardo Leccese and world champion and current overall leader Florian Gruber from Germany.
Several competitors who raced in the iconic 19km Lighthouse to Leighton race from Rottnest Island to the mainland showed both inner and physical strength by then contesting the Oceanics course racing flights.
In the first race, all riders got away cleanly with Lighthouse to Leighton winner Marvin Baumeister obviously feeling buoyed enough to try a port start. He got held up though and finished in eighth.
At the top mark, things were looking different for the first time in the competition with Leccese first and Olly Bridge second. Gruber was third despite making up ground on the downwind leg.
Gruber then screamed upwind gaining on Bridge and finally passing him next time they rounded the top mark. It looked like he would reel in Leccese but the Italian hung around the final mark and scored his first Oceanics bullet in front of a packed Leighton Beach in the closest and most dramatic race yet.
In the second race of the afternoon, Bridge drew on his youthful reserves of energy, leading the way after the first tack with Leccese hunting him down and Poland’s Maks Zakowski and Gruber completing the chase pack.
First round the top mark was Zakowski, with Gruber now already in second, ready to crank the throttle wide open for a downwind run that left Bridge, Leccese and Zakowski slugging it out.
Leccese couldn't handle the pace and it was Gruber, Bridge and Zakowski in that order on the final beat to the finish.
Reasserting his dominance over a fiercely competitive pack, Gruber held his lead ahead of Bridge to take the last bullet of the day.
The two leading women, Poland’s Aga Grzymska and France’s Ariane Imbert, were once again slogging it out for top position. Top Australian kiter Lisa Hickman provided the only disruption to the usual finishing pattern by scoring a second in the first race today and a third in the second race. Nuria Gomez of Spain had a tangle at the start of race Two, which gave Hickman the opportunity she needed to come in ahead of Justina Sellers (NZ).
Racers competed in clear blue skies, temperatures in the high 30's and winds around 11 to 16kn.
The medals races will conclude tomorrow in four races for each fleet, victors will be crowned and A$30,000 in prizemoney presented.
The Kiteracing Oceanic Championships is officially sanctioned by the International Kiteboarding Association (IKA) and the International Sailing Federation (ISAF). 100 championship points are awarded to the event winner.
The State Government through Tourism Western Australia is a proud supporter of the Championships.
Top 3 Men after today’s races:
1. Florian Gruber (Germany) 9 pts
2. Olly Bridge (Great Britain) 17 pts
3. Riccardo Leccese (Italy) 28 pt
Top 3 Women after today’s races:
1. Aga Grzymska (Poland) 16 pts
2. Ariane Imbert (France) 19 pts
3. Nuria Goma (Spain) 39 pts
*Please note all results are preliminary at the time of release.
by Janine Pittaway
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5:39 PM Sat 14 Dec 2013GMT
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