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New 18m World Gliding Champion Christope Abadie landing on the final day of WGC Szeged.

18M Class

After an exciting final race at WGC Szeged, Christophe Abadie from France held onto his lead, coming home in 7th place on the day, but taking the 18m World Gliding Championship title with 8,957 points gained over 11 races.

In second place is Italian Riccardo Brigliadori with 8,856 points, followed in 3rd place by his teammate Davide Schiavotto with 8,843 points. They finished the day in 3rd and 4th places respectively, but their consistant performance over the last two competition weeks ensured them of places on the winners' podium.

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Riccardo Brigliadori landing with Takeshi Maruyama from Japan after flying 650km on the second last day of the contest.

Jeroen Verkuijl from Netherlands takes 4th place with 8,788 points. Jeroen came 6th today but had been in contention for a podium place throughout the contest.

Coming in 5th is Uys Jonker with 8,784 points. Uys and his brother Attie took the first two positions today in what must be a gratifying win for them, flying in JS3s. Just five years ago at WGC Benalla, the two South Africans flew the very first 15m JS3s at the Championships. Today, 7 of the top ten places were won in 18m class by JS3s and the sky was filled with JS gliders in 18m and Open classes.

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Uys Jonker after crossing the finishing line on the last day of WGC Szeged.

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Jeroen Verkuijl on the final day.

Open Class

The new Open Class World Gliding Champion is Felipe Levin from Germany with 9,088 points. Felipe finished the race with now former World Champion and teammate Michael Sommer in 8th place. But he kept his lead and beat Oscar Goudriaan from South Africa by 72 points overall.

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New Open Class World Gliding Champion Felipe Levin landing on the final day of WGC Szeged.

Oscar, who takes the 2nd podium position, has had an excellent contest, always among the top contenders and improving his position every day.

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Oscar Goudriaan relaxing as he waited his turn to launch EB-29 DR.

In third place is Czech Radek Krejcirik with 8,646 points. Radek also had a good competition, always in the top placings with consistent, fast flying in his JS1.

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Sylvain Gerbaud from France came 4th with 8,626 points. Sylvian looked to be a real podium contender being clipped by Radec by just 20 points. However, he managed to keep former World Champion Andrew Davis in 5th place, beating him by 26 points.

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Sylvain Gerbaud came 4th in Open class.

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Andrew Davis flying to 5th place in Open Class.

EB 29s took six of the top ten positions in Open Class while JS1s took the remaining four. The only other model of glider in the field was an ASH31.

20M Multi-Seat Class

The 20m class was won by Czech team Ivan Novak and Petr Krejcirik with 8,898 points. Once again, they flew consistently, always at the top of the table. They beat the Polish duo Jakub Barszcz and Lukasz Kornacki who took 2nd place with 8,783 points flying a HpH 304 TS Twin Shark.

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New 20m World Champions departing on the last contest day at Szeged, Ivan Novak and Petr Krejcirik

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Jakub Barszcz and Lukasz Kornacki took 2nd place place in 20m Class.

Steve Jones and Garry Coppin of Great Britain took third place with 8,666 points after a strong competition for them.

Erik Borgmann and Joost Wolff from The Netherlands took 4th place with 8,663 points, showing what a tight contest this was away from the very top positions. In 5th place was Louis Bouderlique and Ulysse Merlin from France with 8,630 points, who at one point looked destined for a podium place.

Of the contestants in this class, three flew Twin Sharks, and the other 16 gliders were Arcus. At least in the WGCs of these three classes, the field of models of gliders being flown is very narrow. Most of the gliders in 20m class were self launchers, as they were in Open class.

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Steve Jones and Garry Coppin landing to take 3rd place in 20 Class.

The 37th FAI World Gliding Championships at Szeged has turned out very succesfully in difficut circumstances. The championship was rescheduled due to the COVID 19 pandemic, and then was forced to change location away from the Hungarian border with Ukraine due to the Russian invasion. In the run up to and during the contest, COVID was always present causing illness in various teams.

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Harry Medlicott and Allan Barnes from Australia.

The oldest contestant ever to fly in a WGC, 90-year-old Australian Harry Medlicott, fell ill with COVID during the training week, but recovered in time to fly the contest in full. So it was with some relief that a safe competition unfolded.

I must not forget to mention the weather. Unlike what is the case during so many gliding championships, the weather was great. There were tricky days as to be expected. But 11 competition days were flown, many with very long tasks. Every day the temperature was in the mid 30s and early on in the contest reached 43 C. Most days had cumulus but some, like the final day, had large areas of blus sky conditions.

There were two pilots from the USA, two from Australia and two from Brasil flying in 20m multi-seat class plus pilots from South Africa and Japan. So although this was a mostly European event, it was a truly worldwide championships.

The townspeople of Szeged have been warm and welcoming and the organisers have achieved a professional, well run competition.

Sean Young