France’s Axel Mazella and Alexia Fancelli tightened their grip on the leaderboard’s top spots with wins in the men’s and women’s divisions at the International Kiteboard Association (IKA) KiteFoil GoldCup in China.
Mazella scored his third consecutive bullet from three races while Fancelli made it two wins from three. Both recently signed with the ambitious Dubai-based kite and foil brand, Enata, whose riders are giving rivals something to think about.
But if day two of the second stop of the IKA KiteFoil GoldCup series in Weifang Binhai went according to script for the French duo, the same could not be said for race officials who had to wait all day for the the shifty, fickle breeze to finally fill.
In the overcast conditions it was possible in the end to get only one race away, but the breeze that had been absent quickly built to 15kts to 17kts forcing riders who had been first out on the water to return for smaller kites.
Yet all 26 riders from 14 nations who have travelled to Weifang for the first of two back-to-back KiteFoil GoldCup stops in China made it to the start line on the Yellow Sea’s smooth waters.
The Team Enata trio of Mazella, Theo Lhostis (FRA) and Julien Kerneur (FRA), with their distinctive unmarked red foil kites, got a jump on the fleet when they correctly figured the shifting breeze handed the advantage to a risky port-tack start.
But by the first upwind mark Theo de Ramecourt (FRA), riding a 15m Flysurfer Sonic kite and Mike’s Lab foil, had clawed back some of the leaders’ advantage and rounded just behind Mazella and Lhostis, who went on to take the top spots.
De Ramecourt eventually finished fifth just behind brothers Guy and Olly Bridge (GBR) riding a Flysurfer Sonic kite and Levitaz foil combo, but was pleased with his showing after having to watch the port-tack starters steal a march on the fleet.
“Like the others chasing the leaders I stayed on the inside closer the the shore, where the water was flatter and that allowed us to catch up, so I’m pretty happy with that,” said de Ramecourt.
Olly Bridge, was fairly content with his outing after having to wait the whole day for lack of wind, but blamed his tactical mistake in not spotting the potential for a pin-end start on the fact that he was late leaving the beach in the changeable winds.
“Actually, it was quite nice out there,” said Bridge. “Nice for my 15m. It felt good and I’ve good speed. But we made the error of not spotting the port tack potential. I was late out and didn’t get a chance to look at it properly.”
Former Formula Kite World Champion, Russia’s Elena Kalinina, is another willing to acknowledge her own mistakes are costing her, as she sits third overall behind Fancelli and equal on points with teenager Anaïs Mai Desjardins (FRA).
Kalinina was one of the first riders out on her 18m Elf Joker kite and Levitaz foil but quickly returned to change down to her 11m. Yet in the rush she rigged her lines wrongly, symptomatic of her regatta so far.
“I feel I have good speed, but I’m just making too many mistakes,” she said. “Yesterday it was tactical errors when I went into a wind hole, today it was my gear. The problem’s with the rider, not the gear.”
OVERALL STANDINGS AFTER 3 RACES
1. Axel Mazella (FRA) - 3 pts
2. Theo Lhostis (FRA) - 7 pts
3. Guy Bridge (GBR) - 14 pts
4. Oliver Bridge (GBR) - 15 pts
5. Julien Kerneur (FRA) - 16 pts
TOP RANKED WOMEN AFTER 3 RACES
1. Alexia Fancelli (FRA) - 57 pts
2. Anais Mai Desjardin - 61 pts
3. Elena Kalinina - 61 pts
Racing continues through to Wednesday, September 13, 2017, before the fleet heads to Pingtan Island for the second part of the Chinese back-to-back regattas starting on September 18, 2018.