SPENDING days among the clouds may sound dreamy, but for competitors in the Formula 1.0 Gliding Grand Prix in Leeton it was gruelling.
The temperatures were hot, but that’s how the pilots need it to be for optimal gliding conditions, but it did take its toll over the long competition in the skies above.
Finishing on Sunday, the overall winner was Ben Loxton, a pilot from the Melbourne Gliding Club.
The competition is set up like a grand prix car race, but instead of racing around a track, the gliders take to the air for a different course each day.
There are placings each day where points add up and then an overall winner is crowned at the end.
Mr Loxton was thrilled to take out the 2019 crown.
“It’s the first time I’ve actually won a competition,” he said.
“My first gliding competition was actually here in Leeton some time ago when they used to have the junior nationals there.
"It was a tough competition. I placed every day except for one.”
The competition was held at the Brobenah Aerodrome with around 35 pilots taking part each day.
Competitors came from all over to attend, including from across Australia and overseas.
“It’s a great competition not just because of the racing, but the social aspect as well,” Mr Loxton said.
“I think that’s what makes it so great.
“The racing itself was pretty competitive.
“You have to give it your full concentration all of the time, but that’s what makes it so great.”
Mr Loxton competed in last year’s inaugural event and hopes to return next year.
There will be some mitigating factors as to whether or not the event does return to Leeton in 2020.
Dust caused safety concerns this year, but organisers will be working with Leeton Shire Council to see if a suitable solution can be found.
Those responsible for putting on the event have said they would hate to have to move it from Leeton and Mr Loxton agreed.
“Leeton is known for having some of the best gliding conditions in the world,” he said.
“The weather conditions are great.
“Hopefully the event can continue there. That’s what everyone wants to see happen.”
While you’re with us, you can now receive updates straight to your inbox every Friday at 6am from The Irrigator. To make sure you’re up to date with all news in Leeton sign up here.