Britain’s Ellie Aldridge and Connor Bainbridge clinched the inaugural Formula Kite Mixed Relay European Championship title in dramatic fashion in a final that went down to the wire at Torregrande, Sardinia.
In the finals’ showdown second round, Bainbridge handed Aldridge the lead for the second lap of the windward-leeward track on the Gulf of Oristano, but she missed a tack and slipped to third by the time she rounded the top mark.
But as Aldridge put the hammer down and hunted her rivals on the final downwind leg, the 14-year-old Pole fluffed a gybe at the last mark in the light and spotty breezes.
Woyciechowska suffered the dismay of watching Aldridge sail past without a backward glance to cross the line to win and land the title for the British team.
The Mixed Relay European Championships event aims to fine-tune the format where national teams of one man and one women each complete a single lap of the track, with the added drama of a flying “hand-over”.
The mixed teams achieve the gender parity goal sought by the International Olympic Committee.
One day of a scheduled five at the individual International Kiteboarding Association (IKA) Europeans in Torregrande, was allocated for the Mixed Relay event.
Twenty-two teams from 12 nations among the 90 athletes competing at the Europeans signed up for the title fight in the shifty, northerly 8kts breezes blowing over the gulf’s flat waters.
The blisteringly-quick “short-track” races close to the beach barely lasted six minutes each.
2019 Formula Kite Mixed Relay European Championships
1st GBR Ellie Aldridge / Connor Bainbridge
2nd RUS Valeria Garashchenko / Alexey Chibizov
3rd NZL Justina Kitchen / Lukas Walton-Keim