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Ensis Engadinwing 2024 Formula Wing Europeans kicks off to a flying start

by WingFoil Racing World Cup 11 Jun 12:08 PDT
A rabbit start like no other in snowy Silvaplana - Ensis Engadinwing 2024 Formula Wing Europeans day 1 © IWSA Media / Sailing Energy

The Ensis Engadinwing 2024 Formula Wing Europeans kicked off today in the breathtaking Lake Silvaplana. The Formula Wing marks a significant milestone in wingfoil racing as it introduces limitations to the equipment each rider is allowed to use at an event.

This means a rider can register only 1 board, 1 mast, 2 gliders and 3 wings within size categories (6m and larger, between 4.5m and 6m, and less than 4.5m). The riders had to make some tough decisions: should they choose the fastest gear possible, or play it safe with a bigger glider and board combination? This choice could be critical in determining whether they can get up and foil in the lighter winds that Lake Silvaplana is famous for.

Unbeatable Bastien Escofet

Silvaplana delivered the perfect wind window to complete an epic three lap marathon race. It wasn't long before a tense battle emerged between Julien Rattotti and his fellow Frenchman Bastien Escofet. The gusty conditions that mountainous venues like these often cook up, made for a nail-biting dual, with Escofet managing to claim the first bullet of the event! A devastating course error in the final lap resulted in Rattotti finishing further back in the fleet allowing for Italy's Luca Franchi to claim a victorious second place.

Still buzzing from the win, Escofet reflects, "It was a great race. It started a bit light, but then got stronger and stronger which was really fun! There was a lot of playing with gusts, which made it some exciting racing." Catching his breath, Escofet continues, "It's a bit harder to breathe here, but I still managed to pump. I opted for the larger foil, sacrificing a bit of speed on the reach, but it paid off well for the upwind and downwind stretches. Rattotti had the lead, but I managed to overtake him on the last downwind" he concludes.

Acclimatization is key!

When much of what the mountains throw at you is beyond your control, riders must go above and beyond to manage what they can, including a considerable amount of acclimatization for some! With sub-zero temperatures on the forecast, Rattotti has taken pre-race training to the next level. Leaving no stone unturned, he's been acclimatizing with post run waterfall dips in the glacier waters above the lake. Meanwhile, Luca Franchi recalls his lungs being put to the test last year when he raced in the high-altitude Swiss lake.

"At almost 2000m it definitely takes your breath away." Since then, he's been taking endurance training on the bike seriously so he can be ready for the racing, especially the marathon.

The lightwind ladies give the men a run for their money

Fresh from her Marathon Worlds triumph, Maddalena Spanu [ITA] has barely had a moment to catch her breath before clinching another marathon race victory! Well in the mix amongst the men, even knocking on the door of the top 20 overall, Spanu shows us that she means business when it comes to these longer distance races. Close behind was her Italian teammate, Marta Monge, who scored an impressive second place despite struggling with a broken ligament in her ankle.

"I think the cold water was good for it today," remarked the young Italian with relief. In preparation for the event, Monge has been training in Lake Garda; "it was very light wind every day, so we had to do a lot of pumping. I think it's been the perfect training for this event," she observed. "It was very tricky racing; the gusts were short-lived, so it was hard to stay in them to avoid the holes," she added. "The conditions weren't easy" agreed Spanu. "There was little wind and it was quite tricky. In one part of the lake, there were huge windless patches, so I had to pump a lot to avoid falling, but I had a lot of fun."

Join us tomorrow for the first day of qualifying races on the beautiful lake Silvaplana. You can follow racing live on metasail throughout the week. The final series is scheduled for Saturday 15th June.

Results Men

    1. Bastien Escofet, FRA - 0.6 p
    2. Luca Franchi, ITA - 1.4 p
    3. Rafferty Read, GBR - 2.0 p

Results women

    1. Maddalena Spanu, ITA - 2.0 p
    2. Marta Monge, ITA - 4.0 p
    3. Hayley Chan, HKG - 6.0 p

More information and results here

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