The first Red Bull Acro Cross ended on Sunday on Sopot, Bulgaria. 2016 World Champion Francois Ragolski (FRA) won the competition with a pretty safe margin, followed by Nicola Donini (ITA) and Jack Pimblett (UK).
Christina Kolb, female World Champion and only woman participant finished in the impressive 6th place leaving many big guns behind her.
Scroll down to the bottom of the page to see the result tables.
The scoring was split to 3 differnet factors:
- 4 letters for ACRO.
- 5 letters for CROSS - of which the second ´S` for the landing.
The goal for every task was to collect all 9 letters. One maneuver performed at each turnpoint and while another letter was gained for reaching the turnpoint itself in cross country mode. The landing part was quite tricky because the landing place is pretty tight and thermally active. Under these circumstances many participants did not hit the landing target. When multiple pilots had the same amount of letters, the time points came to play a role in the final ranking. The ones who reached the turnpoint faster had the advantage. Having collected all letters a pilot is having great chances to win the task and just nee to be fast on the courseline. On most days the winner collected all 9 letters.
Pilots were navigating with their mobile phones using XCTrack or FlySkyHigh applications to record their track and to navigate through the cross country task with turnpoints and cylinders. The acro tricks were recorded with on-board GoPro cameras and were reviewed after the task.
There were 12 selected maneuvers to perform with different coefficients. Depending on the difficulty of the maneuver it gave only letters to collect, or also time bonus. When no goal was reached this bonus is converted to distance points. In some occasions pilots performing more basic maneuvers had an advantage over the ones trying more technical moves but not performing them clean enough.
The specific rules for this first test event were developed together with the participants before the start of the competition. In the future this needs to be adjusted for sure, probably with a clearly separated scoring for XC and Acro to provide an easier overview.
Veso told us:
"The format is not yet perfect, we need to keep working on it to make it fair and equal between XC and Acro, giving some to the landing. The exact rules were developed together with the pilots on site before the start of the competition. This time we were quite friendly for the acro judging because of the big gliders and strongm, turbulente air. But this also will become more strict in the future."
And Christina wrote on her Facebook:
"I finished the first Red Bull Acro Cross competition with an awesome 6th place and only one letter (one trick, one turn point or one accuracy landing) short of the general podium. Congrats to Francois Ragolski Profil Perso, Jack Pimblett and Nicolas Donini - it was fun to share the sky with you and all the other great pilots! Thanks to two of the best paraglider brands out there - AIRG Products and Advance Paragliders - for their support and a special thanks to Veso Ovcharov and the entire organization for an amazing week!"