The 2005 Fuerteventura PWA Slalom 42 World Cup – Day 2
Dunkerbeck hangs on as Jaggi loses her grip and slips behind.
Light winds and partly cloudy skies opened up the second day of competition here at Sotavento, but sunshine and wind are never far away on Fuerteventura and by 11.00 the cloud had burnt off allowing the wind to build.
In lighter conditions than the previous day, a four gybe course, finishing with a downwind speed leg was set. The early stars of round 2 were the usual suspects, with particular speed demonstrated by Dan Ellis (Fanatic, Naish) who managed to hold off the challenge of Antoine Albeau (Neil Pryde) until the last reach of the first semi final, where he finally succumbed to the pressure allowing Albeau to move easily to last eight.
The second semi was all about the big men again. Finian Maynard (F2, Naish) led the pack with Bjorn Dunkerbeck (North) right on his heels and Arnan Dagan (Fanatic, Neil Pryde) close behind in third. Maynard, the fastest windsurfer in history, rolled on the throttle under pressure from Dunkerbeck and had created a clear lead by the time he hit the speed leg finishing well ahead in first with Dunkerbeck, Pieter Bijl (Fanatic, Neil Pryde) and Steve Allen (Fanatic, Neil Pryde).
With the losers final safely wrapped up again by Julien Taboulet (JP, Neil Pryde) ahead of Ben Van der Steen (Neil Pryde) it was time for the final. Bijl, Dunkerbeck and Albeau were all quick off the line, but had not accounted for a stealthy approach to the start line by Micah Buzianis (F2, North) who crossed into the course right near the start buoy unnoticed by the pack. With enormous speed in the medium winds, Buzianis waited till two thirds of the way along the first reach, before tightening up to hit the mark first ahead of the surprised pack. Dunkerbeck and Bijl piled on the pressure, pulling up close behind Buzianis by gybe number two, but the 34 year old father of 1, dropped a gear and accelerated away to win by a clear 30 metres. Dunkerbeck used all his experience to try to get past Bijl, but was just beaten to the line ahead of Albeau who had to settle for fourth.
After a break for lunch, round three for men kicked off on the same course as the morning round. Ellis’s early promise looked as though it may hold as he beat Dunkerbeck in the first round heats, but he could not consolidate his performance and failed to make the semi finals. It was definitely a better round for the British team with Ross Williams (Starboard, Gaastra) making it into the semis as well.
By the time Taboulet had chalked up his third successive loser’s final win, the top eight were ready to do battle. Notable in the lineup was Israeli Dagan starting in his first final of the event. The pressure was on and for some it was too much. Albeau, Patrick Diethelm (F2, North) and Kevin Pritchard (Starboard, Maui Sails) all found themselves of the wrong side of the line and heading back to the beach for an early bath.
On the restart, Dunkerbeck led down the long first reach, with Maynard right on his tail and Buzianis pushing hard in third. Rising to the pressure, Dunkerbeck drummed up more power out of the ether and began to pull clear of the chasing pack. With Dunkerbeck safely across the finish line, the battle for second was hard fought, but eventually Buzianis had to succumb to the outright speed of Maynard.
Today’s women’s competition saw varying fortunes for yesterdays winner, Karin Jaggi (F2) over the four women’s rounds run today. The first round of the morning saw very strong challenges from Valerie Ghibaudo and Allison Shreeve (F2, Neil Pryde), but Jaggi held her nerve to stay out in front and consolidate her event lead.
Ghibaudo, boosted by her competitive performance was fired up and ready to go in the next women’s round as was Shreeve who was obviously starting to dial in to the conditions. Jaggi on the other hand could not seem to find the form that she had been able to call upon in the first 2 rounds. In the end, it was Ghibaudo, herself a veteran of World Tour Slalom, who stole first beating Shreeve who in turn kept Jaggi at bay in third.
Women’s round 4 did not go to plan for Verena Fauster (F2, Gaastra) who joined the over early club. Contrastingly, Ghibaudo was having a great race, leading to the first mark and finding good speed to hold off the attack of Jaggi, who herself had to try her hardest to hold of Shreeve.
The fifth and final women’s round saw Ghibaudo, by now back in the racing groove and loving every minute of it, establish a firm hold on the 2005 Fuerteventura event taking her third race win ahead of an increasingly frustrated Jaggi. Fauster returned from exile to take a respectable third leaving Shreeve out in the cold in fourth.
Competition in the men’s fleet, is now very tight, with all of the top five within potential striking distance of each other. The women’s contest is less complex, but there are still a possible ten further rounds so anything is possible still.
As always, we will bring you news of the competition from 10.30 tomorrow when the action hots up again, so stay tuned to www.pwaworldtour.com for all the latest news