Manfred Ruhmer proved he is still the hang gliding master, when he took Gold in the 21st FAI World Hang Gliding Class 2 Championships in France last week.
He won all eight tasks, leaving Franz Pacheiner of Austria, and French pilots Patrick Chopard and Jacques Bott, to switch places daily in the next three rankings. In the end, it was Jacques who took Silver and Franz took bronze, just four points apart from each other.
Manfred has been at the top of hang gliding for more than three decades, winning his first major title in 1990 when he became European Champion for the first time. He has been filling his trophy cabinet with Class 1 and 2 Worlds and Europeans medals ever since.
The two-week-long competition in Aspres sur Buech took place between 24 July and 5 August 2022. The shortest of the eight tasks was 136.7km, and the longest was 316km. Manfred said: “It was a great event. Brilliant weather, and strong competition. I was worried at first because they were all flying so fast!”
This was the first World Championships that has been held since 2017, which created a problem for organisers to overcome when it came to pilot launch order. More than half the competitors, including reigning Champion Manfred, had no World Pilot Ranking Series points because the points expire after three years. The points are usually are used to determine launch order. In the end, pilots with points went in points order, followed by everyone else in the order they had registered for the competition.
Class 2 hang gliders are the likes of Archaeopteryxes and Swifts, which can be either foot-or tow-launched. This was the first competition which permitted the use of motors as an option to get the pilots airborne.
Twelve competitors from six nations took part in the event.
- Manfred Ruhmer (AUT), Aeriane Swift Lite
- Jacques Bott (FRA), Aeriane Swift Lite
- Franz Pacheiner (AUT), Ruppert Composite Archaeopteryx
All the results are on civlcomps.org.
Louise Joselyn interviewed Manfred just before the competition. Read the interview here.