Day 3 at the 2013 African Course Racing Championships and challenging conditions delivered an impressive kiting spectacle at Soma Bay in Egypt. With winds gusting up to 32 knots, four races were held for each of the men’s and women’s fleets.
In the women’s fleet, the day was set to belong to Erika Heineken of the USA, who dominated by scoring one bullet after another and closing in on the series leader Steph Bridge, GBR. Erika was in her element, as the conditions are clearly her favourite, successfully ending her day sitting only a few points behind Bridge, with Russian Elena Kalinina holding onto third.
In the men's event, reigning Course Racing World Champion, American Jonny Heineken brought all his experience into play and left the fleet behind him. He was first at the leeward gate, followed by Riccardo Leccese, who at this point was still the series leader. Heineken kept his lead all the way to the finish line and celebrated victory and the start of his push up the leaderboard. Leccese did not seem so happy with his performance – but he was simply out raced.
Onto the second race of the day, and again Heineken led the fleet to the bottom gate, but this time chased by Brazilian Wilson Veloso and Leccese in third. But, Leccese dug deep and passed the Brazilian to score another second place finish, leaving Veloso to cross the line in third.
A repeat performance for the next two races of the finals, with Heineken continuing to claim the race wins, sees him topping the leaderboard, with Leccese in second and yesterday’s overall runner up Florian Gruber, knocked down into third.
Thursday is the last day of the final series, after which the top ten of the men and women fleets will advance to the medal series scheduled for Friday. With just a few points separating the top kiters, racing is expected to become even more exciting as many fight for a place in the top ten. The wind conditions are expected to slightly decrease, so the tables may turn as the lighter wind specialists have an opportunity to return to form.
Leaders for the 2013 African Kiteboard Course Racing Championship
1. Johnny Heineken (USA)
2. Riccardo Andrea Leccese (ITA)
3. Florian Gruber (GER)
1. Steph Bridge (GBR)
2. Erika Heineken (USA)
3. Elena Kalinina (RUS)
Full Results here
28 March 2013 12:47 GMT