The BHPA Panel had its annual end of year meeting yesterday (a virtual meeting, of course), and discussed the coming season.
A number of decisions were taken, of which we will make announcements in the coming weeks.
First though, I am pleased to tell you of a brand new initiative by the panel. I would like to introduce you to the British Paragliding Sports Championships!
This event is for Sports wings only. That is EN-A to EN-C. That is not to say we will be excluding the top British pilots. But they must turn up on a Sports class wing in order to compete.
The venue for the first event is Gemona, in Italy. It was a massive success the first time the British went there, although I am sure there also also memories of the second time we went, with the rain. But to ensure maximum success this time, we have booked much later in the season, in the dry period, 1st – 7th August.
For those that do not know the venue, it is in northern Italy, just 1 hour from Venice Airport, and with toll free roads from Calais to Italy, via Germany/Austria.
For BHPA members, providing they pay early, there will be a 25% subsidy from the BHPA. That is a £60 discount on the entry fee. But be quick to secure the offer.
This year the registration will be exclusively on Airtribune. Please go to the following for further information.
You can register from Saturday evening, 6pm (UK time). Be quick as the order you register defines who gets offered a place!
Will there still be a Sports Class in the main Championships?
Yes, you can still compete in that event on a Sports wing
Will there still be a champion in the main Champs for Sports Class?
No. The Sports Champion will now be derived from this event.
I am not British, but I live in the UK and I am a BHPA member. Will I get the discount?
Yes. The discount is for BHPA members who hold a British Sporting Licence, and would usually live in the UK.
What if the event is cancelled due to COVID?
If the event is cancelled for any reason, we will refund all but £20, to cover admin, right up to 7 days before the event starts.
I usually fly a CCC wing. Can I enter?
Yes, but you must do so on a Sports class wing
Is this going to be an annual event?
This event is the first time organising. It is a test event to gauge the interest. The survey the panel did suggested that around 120 BHPA pilots would come. Lets see if they do. It is the panels intention for it to be a permanent feature.
What qualification do I need?
You must be BHPA Pilot rated (or IPPI4+), and you must have competed in at least one competition before. This is the MINIMUM. We also recommend having done an SIV course, and have experience flying in the Alps. This event is NOT intended to be a low level competition, nor a competition for training. It is a serious competition. However, the racing will be slower than in the main Championships as we will not have the 2-liners leading the course.
How will selection be done?
BHPA members will get a 7 day advantage to register and pay, to a maximum of 75 pilots. Thereafter it is open to all nationalities. Places will be offered to BHPA members that qualify by order of registration, in the first 7 days of registration. Thereafter it will be by WPRS ranking.
The Panel has reluctantly decided that owing to on-going uncertainty caused by the Covid-19 pandemic there will be no British Championship Open in 2020. We had hoped to be able to organise something later this summer but with general concerns over renewed outbreaks and the potential for further travel disruption we felt we couldn’t be 100% sure of holding a fair and sporting competition.
We are planning our next event, the British Winter Open, once again at Roldanillo, Colombia, in January 2021. It would be great to repeat last year’s epic event with the legendary racing conditions of the Cauca valley. Local organiser Lucho Jimenez has exciting plans to take us on a mini tour of the valley to include the Piedechinche and Anselmo Nuevo launches. Obviously all will depend on the situation with regards Covid-19, so fingers crossed. We hope to have positive news for you later in the year.
The Competitions Panel has reluctantly decided to cancel the British Championship Open in Grand Bornand in June.
We had left the decision as long as possible hoping that the situation would improve sufficiently for a safe and sporting competition to be run. Unfortunately despite the positive statements from the French government this week the local organisers are not sufficiently confident that the local infrastructure will be able to cope with an international competition in June. We totally understand and agree with this position and hence in the interests of safety for competitors and the local community the competition is cancelled. All competitors will receive a full refund in the next few days.
Over the coming weeks the Panel will review whether we can stage the Championship Open in August/September at different overseas venue; currently our options include St. Andre, Tolmin and Ager.
The main issue of unknown future control conditions on overseas travel however remains and should the situation not improve sufficiently by early June we will look at running a mobile UK round (North South Cup style) in late August.
We hope to return to flying soon and will post here again as soon as we have more news for you.
We have a lot of pilots registering for the Winter Open. Just to reiterate your place at the competition is not confirmed until you have paid and we will not be opening payment until 21st September for non British pilots; payment for British pilots will begin on the 14th September. Until that date other pilots will continue to register who may have a higher WPRS ranking than you and so if you are a non British pilot your position on the pilot list is liable to change until that date.
Online registration for the British ‘Winter’ Open 2020 will commence on Monday 9th September at 12.00 (midday). Please note British pilots will be ranked by date/time of registration. Pilots of other nations will be ranked by WPRS.
The British Open will return to Roldanillo in 2020. We are just now trying to finalise dates, but for sure will be between end of January and beginning of February. So pencil in your diaries, but do NOT book your flights just yet!