2005 Nivea World Cup Sylt - Day 7
Day 7 of the Nivea World Cup Sylt is the Day of the Dragon, as Arnon ‘The Dragon’ Dagan (ISR-1, Fanatic/ Neil Pryde) wins two out of three Slalom 42 finals. Micah Buzianis (USA-34, F2/ North Sails) closes the day with an impressive win in the 12th round.
It’s been another long and busy day at the Nivea World Cup Sylt 2005. In a repeat of Thursday's scenario, the wavefleet gathered on the beach before sunrise to make maximum use of strong winds battering the event area during the night and early morning. As the morning light slowly crept over Westerland beach, Sylt it became apparent that conditions unfortunately were not yet suitable due to lack of waves caused partially by too offshore winds. Now, besides battling each other for the title, the riders were also up against the clock as winds were indicated to die down in the course of the morning.
<PHOTO1>At 09:15 it was decided to go for it in sketchy and small conditions with the women’s quarter finals featuring Annemarie Reichman (H-98, Naish/ Naish) vs Karin Jaggi (Z-14, F2) and Uli Hoelzl (AUT-123, F2/ Neil Pryde) vs Iballa Moreno (E-63, Mistral/ North Sails). While the judges were debating on the suitability of the conditions, the four girls from the 1st quarter completed their heat, but during the second quarter final - Junko Nagoshi (J-11) vs Nayra Alonso (E-4, Fanatic/ Severne) and Silvia Alba (E-67, Tabou/ Gaastra) vs Daida Moreno (E-64, Mistral/ North Sails) - it became evident that the wave situation simply did not meet the required standards. Therefore, the heat was cancelled and the first quarter was discarded as well. Half an hour later, another attempt to run the women’s quarters was made, but that too was cancelled as the wind shut down and the waves were still no good.
While the conditions stabilized the race committee set out the course for the next Slalom 42 round, which was started around noon. The format of choice was again the half fleet version, twenty riders per heat, two qualifying rounds and one final. The first qualifying heat must have put a huge grin on Daniel Ellis’s (GBR-52, Fanatic/ Naish) face as he led the pack throughout the heat, nailing it with Dunkerbeck breathing down his neck. The other qualifying heat was won by Micah Buzianis (USA-34, F2/ North Sails). The wind then temporarily pulled back, but returned around 13:30 for the first final of the day in which a new hero would rise.
While top contenders Micah Buzianis (USA-34, F2/ North Sails), Antoine Albeau (F-192, Neil Pryde) Bjorn Dunkerbeck (E-11, North Sails) were remarkably absent in the top three, it was the tall Israeli Arnon Dagan (ISR-1, Fanatic/ Neil Pryde) who stepped up for the job. The Dragon took an impressive lead over the rest of the fleet on the first reach, rounded mark no. 1 in perfect fashion. Frenchies Cyril Moussilmani (F-71, Fanatic) and Florent Renard (FRA-539, JP/ Neil Pryde) were the ones keeping the pressure up on Dagan, but the Israeli did not falter and won his first final of the contest, followed by Moussilmani and Renard. Bernd Flessner (G-16, F2/ Neil Pryde) did a good job with fourth place, while big guns Micah Buzianis (USA-34, F2/ North Sails), Bjorn Dunkerbeck (E-11, North Sails) and Antoine Albeau (F-192, Neil Pryde) had to make due with fifth, sixth and seventh place respectively.
<PHOTO2>In 10-12 knot winds, the next and 11th round got underway, with Bjorn Dunkerbeck (E-11, North Sails) winning the first qualifying heat and Arnon Dagan (ISR-1, Fanatic/ Neil Pryde) taking the second one. In the final Dunkerbeck had a frighteningly sharp start, but Dagan had tasted victory and clearly wanted more. On the opening reach, Dunkerbeck took the lead, but the crowds watched Dagan sneak up on Dunkerbeck and actually overtaking the legendary slalom champion on a straight line. Dagan cut the first corner in pole position, followed by Dunkerbeck and Antoine Albeau (F-192, Neil Pryde), Phil McGain (AUS-7, MauiSails) and Pieter Bijl (NED-0, Fanatic/ Neil Pryde). Nothing changed at the second mark, but at buoy no. 3 Micah Buzianis (USA-34, F2/ North Sails) had moved up to fifth place. Dagan kept tearing up the course full speed and treated himself to his second triumph of the day. Bernd Flessner (G-16, F2/ Neil Pryde) finished in 8th position.
Another round was completed after that. The two semi final heats were won by Pieter Bijl (NED-0, Fanatic/ Neil Pryde) and Arnon Dagan (ISR-1, Fanatic/ Neil Pryde). Bijl then shot himself in the foot by going over early in the final together with Phil McGain (AUS-7, MauiSails). The final of round 12 turned out to be one of the most exciting heats of the Nivea World Cup Sylt 2005 so far.
<PHOTO3>Dunkerbeck was looking good on the first leg, reaching the first mark in first position, followed by Dagan and Buzianis. Right before the buoy, Buzianis overtook Dagan and went into his gybe in second position. Dunkerbeck however didn’t manage to keep up speed coming out of the turn and Buzianis squeezed past him to first place, sending Dunkerbeck back to second and Dagan to third position. Buzianis and Dunkerbeck raced down the course board to board until the last buoy, where Dunkerbeck took a chance by heading upwind right before the turn trying to overtake Buzianis on the inside. The gamble didn’t pay off for Dunkerbeck unfortunately as he stalled after the gybe and wasted valuable time getting back on a plane. Dagan immediately took advantage and overtook Dunkerbeck on the final reach towards the finish. Micah Buzianis (USA-34, F2/ North Sails) was well out of reach by then, winning the final before Arnon Dagan (ISR-1, Fanatic/ Neil Pryde) in second, Bjorn Dunkerbeck (E-11, North Sails) in third, Daniel Ellis (GBR-52, Fanatic/ Naish) in fourth and Kevin Pritchard (US-3, Starboard/ MauiSails). Antoine Albeau (F-192, Neil Pryde) crossed the line in a disappointing 11th place, losing his second place in the 2005 Sylt ranking to Buzianis. Dunkerbeck still holds on to the top position, but the gap is closing.
There’s two more days of competition left at the Nivea World Cup Sylt 2005. Log on again to www.pwaworldtour.com tomorrow for the lowdown on the closing days of the 2005 PWA worldtour.