2018 US Open at Chelan
The second leg of the US paragliding nationals finished on Saturday, after four valid tasks.
Chelan was, as usual, an incredible playground for creative lines and endless transitions. This year, the pilots had the opportunity to avoid the flats and explore possibilities in the mountains during the first two tasks, with the first task going toward the beautiful town of Mazama in the Cascade Mountains, and the second task taking the pack almost to Canada with a 130 km race to goal, in Oroville.
Day three was cancelled due to strong conditions at launch but that didn’t stop a few pilots from going far. Donizette Lemos, Mitch Riley, and Matt Henzi, flew to the Idaho boarder for a 250+ km flight on their rest day.
The last two tasks were tricky but exciting: the third task saw only eight pilots in goal who survived a 50 km glide over green irrigated fields. The fourth and last day was the most challenging, with stable conditions and winds that made the first part of the race difficult, forcing half of the pilots (including the leaders!), to land before the first waypoint.
In the end it was brazilian legend and distance record holder, Donizete Lemos, who took the win, followed by Nick Greece and Brad Gunnuscio. All three were flying Enzo 3s.
In the women’s category, the winner was Patricia “Paty” Letona of Mexico, followed by Bianca Heinrich in second and Lindsay Matush in third. Both Paty and Bianca were flying Zenos.
Nine out of the top ten pilots in the overall ranking flew Ozone.
Ozone team pilot, Nick Greece, once again stood on the US National Championship Podium. In Nick’s words:
“The Chelan US Open just wrapped up and I have a catalogue of incredible images seared into my mind, including climbing into the start gaggle with 130 pilots to wait for the start, a 38 km final glide at over 100 kph, dropping down to a creeper gear to get over lush green fields that shut down all the lift, climbing up from 300 feet after crossing onto the flats while howling in joy as my vario continued to beep as I circled hopefully on Day 4, BBQ’s at moms, and all time float sessions in the river on days off. All the while sharing the week and the sky with a crew of amazing people who all share a massive passion which most others find somewhat esoteric to put nicely or completely insane to be honest.
Congrats to Donizete Baldessar Lemos for a great race in which he beat me to goal three out of four days and won this round of the two part nationals. With taking second in this and first in the previous round, after 11 tasks, I am thrilled to become the 2018 US National Champion!!!!!!!”
For full results click HERE
Special Thanks to Matty Senior, Eric Reed and all the volunteers who made of this event such an enjoyable experience.
Congrats and Cheers from all the OZONE Team.