Mildura Open Thermal, 10-11th of October, 2015
Darrel Blow and Gary Whitfield from the Mildura Club have organised an Open Thermal event at the Wentworth Racecourse for many years and it has grown to be one of the biggest soaring events on the Australian calendar.
This years event was held early in October with the field in good condition after reasonable rain through winter. 26 competitors fronted the starters gun on the Saturday morning with light winds and temperatures topping 30C. The early heats saw 10 minute flights achieved relatively easily, but as the ground warmed up and the cloud cover increased the areas of lift and sink both became stronger. As has often been the case at Wentworth, you have to quickly recognise bad air and take quick evasive action to have any hope. A number of pilots recorded 5-6 minute flights when they were stuck in the sink for too long. Rain, wind and a brief electrical storm to the NW made for a slightly extended lunch which as usual was superbly catered by the local ladies and visitors. After the rain departed the rounds continued with light and variable winds for the remainder of the day. Many heats launched downwind which added to the challenge in what was a very tough Saturday.
Dinner was held at the Crown Hotel on Saturday night due to the closure of the regular venue, the Wentworth Club. This large riverfront property and business has been an institution in Wentworth for 30 + years. In the early days bus loads of people would travel from Adelaide to play the pokies as part of a day trip.
Saturday Night Leaderboard (Top-5, 6-rounds):
- Carl Strautins, 6000
- Jamie Nancarrow, 5985
- Bernie Sizer, 5946
- Mike O’Reilly, 5834
- Tom Depuche, 5811
Sunday dawned fine after quite a bit of overnight rain. Cooler and with a forecast of a bit more wind. Again the early heats saw the 10 minute max achieved simply by flying long straight lines upwind. But as the day warmed up and the wind strength increased things got a whole lot harder. Massive areas of sink and just a few random thermals. There is no such thing as pack flying at Wentworth given the ability to fly long distances in any direction, so the risk of isolation and being punished on the scoreboard was ever present. The final scores reflected that with every pilot taking at least one hit which resulted in a some changes on the leader board.
Tom Dupuche came third which was an awesome result for this younger competitor. Courtesy of one bad flight and 9 superb flights, Carl Strautins came second, and with 2 small hits and a lot of flights of 990 + Mike O’Reilly came out on top under the ‘no dropper’ scoring system that was used.
Event Results (Top-5, 10-rounds):
- Mike O’Reilly, 9593
- Carl Strautins, 9546
- Tom Depuche, 9332
- Bernie Sizer, 9287
- Theo Arvanitakis, 9133
Winning Team: Mike O’Reilly, Carl Strautins, Theo Arvanitakis, Jamie Nancarrow
Full results, including landings, can be found at Wentworth Results 2015