Big Air wraps after flying high
THE 17th edition of the Dalby Big Air has come to a close after a week of high-flying action.
Beginning last Sunday, over 60 pilots have taken over the Western Downs skies in an effort to claim vital points in the Australian Hang Gliding Competition.
The Dalby Big Air just happens to be the final stop on the tour, and tournament secretary Annie Crerar said that this means it has added significance for pilots.
"It's the last comp on the Australian calendar so it's the pilots last chance to get points to make the national team,” Mrs Crerar said.
"Generally every two years people come here to make the Australian team, because the World Hang Gliding Games are held every second year.
"There were four pilots competing for the last spot on the Australian team, and the fellow that won got the final spot.”
That fellow was Josh Woods, who took the Open Class out with a tally of 4330 points.
Woods was made to work hard for his win though, only pinching victory on the last day of competition after coming from the clouds to beat Steve Blenkinsop who held a comfortable lead coming into Saturday.
Blenkinsop managed to hold onto second with 4232 points, ahead of Scott Barrett who claimed third with 4041 points.
Current world number one Jonny Durand finished back in seventh with 3878 points.
Mrs Crerar said she was pleased with the quality of domestic pilots on show, noting that the international contingent was down due to the timing of the event.
"I was very impressed with the level of competition, it was quite strong.
"We had around 60 competitors last year and the same this year; all of the top pilots from around Australia come every year.
"We don't get as many top international pilots like some other Australian events, because when our event is on it's coming into the European summer.”
Mrs Crerar said the event was getting noticeably bigger year on year, and is hopeful that trend continues as it cements itself on the Dalby calender.
"We had quite a few people come and have a look; the spot they watch from gets quite a good view of what's going on, there definitely seemed to be an increased public interest this year.”