Comps and Events, News

El Penon Classic Race 2017: ‘Sports class heaven’

Wednesday 1 March, 2017
Take off during the El Penon Classic 2017

Take off during the El Penon Classic 2017

Thirty-four hang glider pilots enjoyed classic conditions at the fifth El Penon Classic in Valle de Bravo, Mexico, over a week of competition from 19-25 February.

An annual event in the hang gliding calendar, this year the competition was used as a selection event by Guatemala and Mexico for the FAI Hang Gliding World Championships in Brazil later in 2017.

Pilots saw six tasks, from 39km to 55km. “Remarkably” most of the pilots elected to fly sports class – only two pilots flew open class gliders.

Meet director Klaudia Bulgakow

Meet director Klaudia Bulgakow

The competition meet director was Klaudia Bulgakow, former FAI Women’s Paragliding World Champion. “The fact that most pilots chose to fly sports class was remarkable,” she said.

“Even top pilots elected to compete on sports class wings – it was to help develop the racing level of new and upcoming pilots. For example, Rudi Gotes, who was tenth at the last Worlds, was flying a Wills Wing Falcon.”

US pilot Mark Vanderwerf, who came fourth, explained more about the comp and conditions.

“Having lived here in Valle de Bravo for the majority of the past half decade this time of year has become my favourite. The paraglider pilots have all but left town, leaving the launch and skies of El Penon open to us hang gliders.

“This year the competition had six task-able days. The first few days there were some clouds to help mark the lift. Each day the lift was strong and climbed high. Average sustained climb rates of 4-6 m/s. Top of lift ranging from 3400-4200m.”

Briefing ... at the El Penon Classic 2017. All photos: Angela / El Penon Classic

Briefing … at the El Penon Classic 2017. All photos: Angela / El Penon Classic

Current sports class world champions Carlos Alvarado flew consistently and made it to goal every day to win the comp.

Five women competed – the women’s class was won by Patricia Garcia (MEX) who was flying a Moyes XT.

Vanderwerf added: “The El Penon Classic Race 2018 is already being planned and all pilots are welcome to come race and train in beautiful Valle de Bravo.”


Never miss an issue

Our subscribers receive 10 issues a year, the annual Travel Guide and exclusive access to competitions and offers

Subscribe today
Back to Comps and Events News
Back to Comps and Events News

Got a story?

If you have news, great images or a story, let us know

Get in touch

Join the family

By subscribing, you support the only worldwide paragliding, paramotoring and hang gliding magazine and you get:

  • Ten issues delivered to your door through the year
  • A 100+ page Travel Guide to the world’s best flying sites delivered with the Feb/March issue each year
  • Plus: Win a paraglider in our annual subscribers’ draw each January
  • Pay annually or monthly with paypal or credit card
Subscribe today

Subscribe and never miss an issue

Print edition

  • Published since 1988
  • The highest production values
  • Gorgeous photography
  • Perfect-bound, collectors’ issues
  • Ten times a year each issue is airmailed to you

Digital edition

  • Read offline on your iPad, tablet, laptop or phone
  • The same content as the printed magazine
  • Delivered through award-winning Zinio software

Print and digital

  • Read the digital issues on your iPad, tablet, laptop or phone
  • Keep the print magazines on your coffee table!
  • Ten times a year, each issue is airmailed to you and sent via Zinio
News and special offers. No spam ever