Near Flawless Performance Gives Nocher Edge in Thrilling Kite Foil Championship Opener
IMG 5583Reigning Formula kite world champion Maxime Nocher demonstrated his devastating turn of speed in the kite hydrofoil class, scoring four bullets in five races that cemented his place at the top of the leaderboard on the first day of competition.
The Monaco rider competing in the “yellow” fleet made up of half the 48 racers — the other designated the “blue” fleet — might even have made a clean sweep of five had he not crashed on a downwind leg to the finish line and concede the win to Axel Mazella (FRA), who also had a good opening day at the KiteFoil GoldCup Italy.
Fellow countryman Julien Kerneur (FRA) made hay in the “blue” fleet scoring several bullets that kept him in strong contention in second spot overall when the fleets are re-arranged for day two of the event’s qualifying series being being hosted off Hang Loose Beach, Gizerria, south-west Italy.
But one of the bigger surprises on a day of intense, fast-pace racing that saw the riders scythe through the blue Mediterranean at jaw-dropping speeds, was the success of Benni Boelli (GER), who ended in third position overall.
His 15m Flysurfer foil kite, in combination with a Levitaz hydrofoil with radical rear winglet and narrower ASV board, offered him blistering speed that saw him steal third place in the day’s final race despite an ill-judged pin-end start gamble that failed and put him almost at the back of the 24-strong pack.
But in the two laps of the windward-leeward track, which the winners typically completed in about 10 minutes in the breeze that built from a 9kts average to 12kts under clear skies, Boelli was able to blaze a path back into contention.
“This 15m Flysurfer kite is the one I’m used to riding at home, so I feel very comfortable with it,” said Boelli. “Not long ago we found a good set up with the Levitaz foil. The front wing is normal, but the rear wing is experimental and the fuselage is longer. It’s working very well.”
The sheer speed of the Flysurfer kites and Levitaz foils combination prompted Simone Vannucci (ITA), no slouch himself ending eighth overall, to joke that the Levitaz foils should be banned, an impossibility as the class remains “open”.
“I tried these Levitaz foils and they’re very fast,” said Vannucci, owner of ASV Performance and also a Flysurfer team-rider. “These foils should be protested on the grounds of technical advantage.”
Yet even the Flysurfer-Levitaz riders will have to contend with Nocher’s pace on his F-one foil kite, board and Taaroa Sword2 hydrofoil with new G10 wings that ensured he stayed well ahead of a classy field that included the likes of Olly Bridge (GBR) and Peter Mueller (GER), who ended fifth overall riding Flysurfer and Levitaz.
On the third day of the four-day championship the fleets will be seeded into the top “gold”and bottom “silver” fleets to compete for the podium positions. With the seven women mixed in among the men, qualification for the “gold” fleet will be a tough ask for them.
But Alexi Fancelli (FRA), riding a Taaroa Sword2 hydrofoil, managed a good showing just stealing a march on reigning Formula kite world champion Steph Bridge (GBR). Both were able outstrip many of the men finishing about half-way down their respective fleets.
OVERALL STANDINGS AFTER 5 RACES
1. Maxime Nocher (MON) – 4 points
2. Julien Kerneur (FRA9) – 7 points
3. Benni Boelli (GER) – 8 points
4. Axel Mazella (FRA) – 8 points
5. Peter Mueller (GER) – 11 points
Full results: http://internationalkiteboarding.org/images/documents/events/2015KFGCItalyResults.pdf
Daily Video: https://youtu.be/3CHsRMBY4CA
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