Gauteng Regional Gliding Championships 2020

By Bennie Henning



The 2020 Gauteng Regional Gliding Championships was held at the Orient Airfield from the 20th of September to the 26th of September. An entry list of 34 glider pilots all but guaranteed for a great Gauteng Regional Gliding competition. This year the gliding competition gave the advanced glider pilots a chance to compete in the hotly contested 15m class. That accounted for 38% of the total entries received this year.


Magaliesburg Gliding Club House

Regional gliding competition was divided into three categories namely:

Club Class, allows a wide range of older / small gliders within a specified range of performances, with the scores being adjusted by handicapping, disposable ballast (water) may be installed but must not be used in this class with a maximum all-up mass of 350kg.





Fifteen meter class, where the wingspan of the glider may not exceed 15 meters with lift-enhancing devices allowed and a maximum all-up mass of 500kg.

Open Class, places no restrictions except a limit of 800 kg to the maximum all-up mass, may be one- or two-seater, disposable ballast is permitted in this class.


Starting Grid - Day 1

The competition was held over a seven day period with each class being given a task to complete for the day, the tasks differ slightly in distance and /or route for each class or might be the same. A task is points on the geographical chart which the glider pilots have to follow by using warm thermals for energy / momentum and lift / gliding ratio to reach those designated points efficiently and return back home with enough thermal- and momentum energy conserved to land safely at the airfield on the designated runway. Tasks can range between 200 and 600 kilometers, depending on the weather development / inversion for that particular day.





All classes have minimum altitude limits for the finish, which is normally in the vicinity of 150m above the airfield for the Open Class and 15m Class especially, but does vary from task to task; penalty points are incurred if the height restriction is broken. Each competitor carries a primary and secondary GPS logger so all altitudes, speeds and flight path can be accurately logged. Each day a shorter task is also published and the judges can decide to use the "B" or "C" or even "D" Tasks if the weather or other conditions are not favourable for Task "A" on the ground before launching commences.

Task A, Day 1, 20 September:

Club Class: Cancelled - Inclement weather (strong turbulent winds & low lift)

15m Class: Cancelled - Inclement weather (strong turbulent winds & low lift)

Open Class: Cancelled - Inclement weather (strong turbulent winds & low lift)





Task C, Day 2, 21 September:

Club Class: 185.92 km. Orient Start - Ventersdorp - Feedlot - Orient (4 of 6 started)

15m Class : 257.13 km. Orient Start - Putfontein - Rosmincol - Orient (No starters)

Open Class: 356.35 km. Orient Start - Putfontein - Zeerust - Orient (14 of 15 started)


Task A, Day 3, 22 September:

Club Class: 116.11 km. Orient Start - Klerkskraal North - Atties Strip - Orient (Did not fly - Cold Front)

15m Class: 189.34 km. Orient Start - Rietspruit D - Intersection - Orient (Did not fly - Cold Front)

Open Class: 235.87 km. Orient Start - Sterkstroom - Rietfontein - Orient (Did not fly - Cold Front)


Task B, Day 4, 23 September:

Club Class: 131.44 km. Orient Start - Buckingham - River Crossing - Orient (Did not fly - Air temperature did not rise high enough / day was cancelled at 3pm)

15m Class : 221.29 km. Orient Start - Rykaartspos - Goedgevondon - Orient (Did not fly - Air temperature did not rise high enough / day was cancelled at 3pm)

Open Class: 318.93 km. Orient Start - Orkney - Groot Bos - Orient (Did not fly - Air temperature did not rise high enough / day was cancelled at 3pm)





Task C, Day 5, 24 September:

Club Class: 165.00 km. Orient Start - Buckingham - Derby - Orient

15m Class: 328.41 km. Orient Start - Brakspruit - Lichtenburg - Orient

Open Class: 438.37 km. Orient Start - Harrisburg - Dudfield - Orient


Task A, Day 6, 25 September:

Club Class: 182.71 km. Orient Start - Ventersdorp - Derby - Orient (Did not fly - Not enough lift & strong gusting winds)

15m Class: 271.79 km. Orient Start - Brakspruit - Groot Bos - Orient (Did not fly - Not enough lift & strong gusting winds)

Open Class: 374.39 km. Orient Start - Hartebeesfontein - Dudfield - Orient (Did not fly - Not enough lift & strong gusting winds)


Task C, Day 7, 26 September:

Club Class: No Task - Day cancelled due to inclement weather / Cold front

15m Class: No Task - Day cancelled due to inclement weather / Cold front

Open Class: No Task - Day cancelled due to inclement weather / Cold front


Hanno du Toit taking off / practice - Day 1


Mike Barrenbrug - Sneaker glider - Day 1


Mike Barrenbrug - Back from testing gliding conditions - Day 1

Last day's pilots briefing - Day 7


Sean de Klerk explaining logistics - Day 7


Jean du Plessis on take-off /ferried - Day 7


Prizes / Medals / Trophy - Day 7


Sean de Klerk - prize giving - Day 7


John Coutts / 2nd place / Open Class - Day 7


Nico le Roux / 1st place / Open Class - Day 7


De-rigging of gliders into trailers for transport - Day 7

After moderate / few hours of flying in highly unfavourable gliding / low lift conditions this week albeit mostly strong turbulent winds, not enough hot air for lift from the earth's surface (inversion) or even a cold front or two during the seven-day period, the glider competition was concluded disappointingly with five days of no gliding. The competition was valid for the Open Class only, with two tasks completed.

The Open Class was won by Nico le Roux with 1194 points, followed by John Coutts in second place with 1163 points and Laurence Hardman with 1151 points.

This regional gliding event was well organised and handled professionally by all involved at Magaliesburg Gliding Club. Catering and organising were of the highest standard.







For more information about the 2020 South African Glider Nationals to be held at Kimberley from 12 to 22 December 2020, visit the website at www.soaringspot.com under Upcoming Competitions or on the respective Facebook pages, including Soaring Society of South Africa.

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