The PKA Series got off to a good start last weekend with a total of 44 pilots, 24 of those in the National class, 20 in the Club class. Chris Croft the race marshal for the day set a good course that separated the fleet out well and gave plenty of excitement and difficulty for all levels of pilot.
Saturday was cold, but not as cold as the Supercup Round 1, 2 weeks before. The car park slowly filled, buggies were loaded with kit and everyone was out on the bank for the pilots briefing at 10.30am. The wind was touching 30mph at times for the first few races and with sand being blown across the bank. Anything that stayed on the ground still for even a short time had dunes leading up to it. It also meant that good goggles were a necessity because the sand stung any bare skin. Kites between 2.5m and 3.5m’s were the right choice for the first 2 races in each class. The latter races needing a size smaller.
The first leg of the course was a close reach then a tack or gybe to head back cross on another close reach to the mark which lead into a broad reach on which pilots consistently reached between 40 and 55mph each run, just before the downwind mark there was a small patch of water next to the shipwreck which in order to save time had to be run straight through. The downwind mark was slightly rough as you went round close in but most got around it without too much trouble. Another close reach took you to the final mark before the line which had to be taken slowly in order to prevent overshooting the downwind edge of the start line which meant that you had to approach slowly, corner sharply and then crawl upwind through the gate before setting off for another lap.
Sunday was a lot colder in the morning, and a lot less windy. No one was out on the sandbank before 10.30am and once Dan Brazier decided to have a go in the few miles per hour a few more joined him before long. By about 12.30pm the wind had picked up sufficiently to let people move on anything 7.5m+, the sun was also warm enough to get people wearing jumpers, and even a few just t-shirts, soon some were getting 20mph on a reach, no small feat for a 5mph wind. The winds later picked up to about 10-12mph. So those that left before 2pm. You missed the best of the winds. The serious racing was cancelled due to lack of wind by lunchtime so those who had a long distance to travel home could get off early. However a few small races were held for those who stayed on when the wind had picked up.
There were a few accidents worth mentioning, one that stands out most was one person who was knocked out for nearly 4minutes after a strong gust hit. Luckily he was ok as he was relaxing in the pub later that evening. 2 people flipped their buggies on top of them with no long lasting damage as far as we know and a lot of lines and bridles snapped on various kites throughout the weekend.
A thanks has to go out to all the organisers and people who helped score the races on Saturday.