Mazella and Damasiewicz claim Formula Kite Individual Europeans titles
Tuesday, August 25, 2020 12:00 PM
The men's podium was completed by Maxime Nocher (FRA) and Connor Bainbridge (GBR) after a strong comeback. In the women's fleet, Ellie Aldridge (GBR) managed to split the Polish duo, with Magdalena Woyciechowska taking Bronze.
The final day of the 2020 Formula Kite Individual European Championships saw a new format, introduced in the 2019 ANOC World Beach Games in Qatar with the goal to ensure that the competitor "first over the line" in the final race is the Gold medallist while avoiding the unfairness of a "winner takes all" race after a full week of racing.
On "Super Sunday", the top 14 competitors after the 4-day Opening Series fight for the podium places, with everyone having a realistic chance to go home with Gold.
While competitors ranked 3-14 have to go through 2 Semi-Final heats, the top 2 after the Opening Series are awarded with a direct ticket to the Final races.
Third ranked De Ramecourt (France), in contention for the event lead during the first days, and fourth ranked Slovenia's Toni Vodisek had the best chances to advance in their respective Semi Final groups. However, both favourites failed to make the final four - with those positions instead going to Britain's Connor Bainbridge and France's Nicholas Parlier.
Both Bainbridge and Parlier entered the final Medal series with no points, while top-ranked Mazella had the advantage of two already granted "Match-Points" and second ranked Nocher' one Match point still gave him good chances to make the finals a short affair.
The Medal series then continues, until one competitor reaches 3 points - in the case of the men's Medal Series this was a short affair, when Mazella took off right from the start to the right side of the shortened race track, leaving his contenders in his wake as so often during his week.
A straight win in the first of (max) six medal races, adding to his two "carry forward" Match Points, gave him the needed third point to terminate the Medal Series and claim Gold. Nocher came into second with Bainbridge making an impressive comeback after a rather mixed start into the week. Defending World Champion Nicolas Parlier claimed fourth rank.
Top 3 Men
1. Axel Mazella (FRA)
2. Maxime Nocher (FRA)
3. Connor Bainbridge (GBR)
The women's competition was the complete opposite - both Semi-Finals were dominated by the the third and fourth ranked competitors of the Opening Series, Ellie Aldridge and Germany's Leonie Meyer.
Same as in the men's competition, the only 15 year old overall leader after the Opening Series, Julia Damasiewicz, needed only one more race win to make it first to three points.
But other than Axel Mazella in the race before, it would become a completely different business and go down as one of the most nail-biting finals of the Formula Kite class.
Medal Series Race 1 was won by Ellie Aldridge with a margin, leaving the rest of the fleet wonder if she would be able to keep the momentum. With two more (Semi Final) races in the legs in building 15-20 knots breeze, endurance would also become a factor.
Race 2 was copy cat of Race 1, with Aldridge leaving no chance to the Polish duo. Even more, Woyciechowska managed to finish both races in second position with Damasiewicz in third.
Medal Race 3 went underway, and this time if was Woyciechowska herself claiming the race win. As a result, it was 2-2-2 between Damasiewicz, Aldridge and Woyciechowska. If any of those three wins the next race, the competition would be over.
Medal Race 4 went off, and this time it looked like Leonie Meyer could take the win and extend the series for another race. But on the final downwind, Damasiewicz managed to sneak past the German, giving her the long awaited third point to terminate the series. Aldridge takes Silver, Woyciechowska Bronze.
Top 3 Women
1. Julia Damasiewicz (POL)
2. Ellie Aldridge (GBR)
3. Magdalena Woyciechowska (POL)
With 1/3rd of the total fleet being under 19 years old, there is a lot of talent to be identified for future competitions.
The next competition will start in three weeks time in Traunsee, Austria, for the European Mixed Team Relay Championships, which will be the format used in the Paris 2024 Olympic Games.