Cowra hang glider Guy Hubbard recently returned from Brazil after competing at the Brazil Hang Gliding Nationals and Pre-World Championships.
Hubbard finished 12th out of 55 at the seven-day Brazil nationals before ranking 21st at the completion of the pre-worlds, that followed the nationals from August 27 to September 3.
It’s Hubbard’s hope to qualify for next year’s world championships but he knows there’s some tough competition from his Australian teammates.
Only the top six on the national leader board will qualify.
The Cowra gliding pilot has experience at elite level after representing Australia at the 2015 World Championships held in Mexico, where the Australians came away with a bronze medal.
Prior to Brazil, Hubbard says he was ranked seventh in Australia.
He now turns his focus to upcoming Australian competitions including the Cunungra Classic in October, Forbes Flatlands between Christmas and New Years and the Dalby Big Air in April.
“I have to be in the top six, I was currently seventh,” Hubbard explained. “I know a few others are really keen to go as well and some have already qualified so there’ll be four or five us only chasing only a few spots.
“I buggered up at Dalby earlier this year. I was coming third up until the last day then I got a good start and all I had to do was fly around with them and finish the course and I would have got a stack of points,” he said.
“Anyway I went racing off trying to beat everyone and went down, and finished 15th in the competition. I would have had a really good base to work from if I got that third place.
“I’m flying pretty good, though, I came 12th at the Brazilian nationals out of 55, that’s pretty good. And the Pre-Worlds, coming 21. I just have to make sure I keep scoring.”
While the pre-worlds are the highest rated competition in the world this year, national teams weren’t selected, with qualification purely based on the nominees international ranking.
“They only accepted so many, if you weren’t high enough in your ranking you don’t qualify to go,” Hubbard explained.
“It’s just a practice run for the world’s next year. An FAI (World Air Sports Federation) official is there and makes sure everything runs up to standard and fills in a report for the FAI.
“If anything needs addressing it gets sorted out.”
Hubbard has only taken competition hang gliding seriously in the past three years, and says he’s enjoying the sport more now than he ever has.
“I only used to race one competition a year, now I’m learning how to fly competition. Out on my own I can fly great but when you’re competing you can’t fly on your own,” he explained.
“I used to tend to tear off but it’s too hard on your own. If there’s a group spread out and someone finds a thermal everyone’s straight into it. You don’t know where the strong lift is on your own and you can struggle for awhile and lose time.
“And it’s unreal flying against the big guys of the world.”
Australia’s Jonny Durand won the Pre-Worlds.
Hubbard will compete at the Cunnungra Classic from October 3 to October 10.