Poema gets her mojo back
© IKA media/ Robert Hajduk: Poema Newland smiling again after a good day two

Poema gets her mojo back

- Variable conditions for the men at midday, steadier moderate breeze for the women later
- Four wins from four for Maeder and Mazella
- Nolot's crash mean's three wins from four for the women's world champion
- Poema Newland enjoys rediscovering race-winning form

After a catastrophic opening day of her Formula Kite World Championship in Hyères, local competitor Poema Newland roared back on day two with three wins from four races.

The French rider, who lives just 500 metres away from the event venue near Hyères on the Mediterranean coast of France, felt much more at home in the sunnier, steadier conditions of Wednesday afternoon. “I had a really bad day yesterday so I couldn't be worse today. I really took the day a bit relaxed, trying to be secure and not sailing at like 100 per cent, but more like at 85 or 90, to just not crash, to not have really bad situations with my kite like yesterday.”

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© IKA media/ Robert Hajduk: Great kiting conditions on day two in Hyères
The rain clouds on Tuesday had played havoc with the two women’s qualifying fleets and three men’s qualifying fleets, many of the riders complaining of their sensitive kites ‘front stalling’. This is where they lose flow over the leading edge of the air-filled kites which can result in a catastrophic loss of control and high potential for crashing. That’s what happened to Newland when she lost control in one race, dropped the frisky kite in the water having snapped some bridles, and was unable to recover in time to start the next.

Today was much steadier, according to Newland, whose three first places from four heats have shot her up from the thirties into eighth overall. Having taken six weeks away from kiting after missing out on Olympic selection to Lauriane Nolot, Newland has been exploring other adrenalin-fuelled dreams such as skydiving. “It has been great to explore other things in life away from the kite. But I love those conditions today, racing with the 15 square metre. It reminded me what it feels like again to be kiting and to really enjoy the feeling of being fast and competing on the race course.”
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© IKA media/ Robert Hajduk: Ellie Aldridge pounced on an error by Lauriane Nolot to win the last race


Meanwhile in the other qualifying group Nolot was imperious but not quite invincible. France’s defending World Champion, another local from Hyères, won the first three heats but didn’t quite manage to win the last, as Britain’s Ellie Aldridge explained: “That was a really quick session, the race committee smashed out four races in just an hour and a half which was really nice,” she said. “It was a solid day on the 15 and my aim was to just sail a clean day. I had a bit of a tangle yesterday and quite a bit of drama, and that’s what I was hoping to avoid today.”

Aldridge conceded that Nolot had the speed on her and the rest of the pack. “I got three second places quite a bit behind Lauriane except in the last race when I think she was maybe getting a bit tired of being so far in front, and she crashed her last gybe so I snuck inside her. But yeah, Lauriane was on fire today.”

Nolot leads with seven wins from eight races so far, followed by another French rider Jessie Kampman in second and Aldridge who displaces the USA’s six-time world champion Daniela Moroz from third overall.
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© IKA media/ Robert Hajduk: Axel Mazella in determined and unbeatable form ahead of Bruno Lobo


Axel Mazella won all four of his heats in his qualifying group, matching Max Maeder’s perfect score in his group. Race wins were distributed more democratically in the third qualifying group, with Denis Taradin (CYP), Martin Dolenc (CRO), Lorenzo Boschetti (ITA) and Riccardo Pianosi (ITA) each taking it in turns to celebrate the winner’s gun.

Maeder has a perfect eight from eight race wins, which puts the 17-year-old from Singapore well on track to defend his title from The Hague last August. Not that today’s outing earlier in the day felt straightforward for Maeder or any of the men. Where the women enjoyed stable conditions later in the afternoon, the men were still grappling with variable-strength breeze that had them forever wondering whether to go on the medium-sized 15 or the maximum-size 23 square metre. Maeder opted for the latter. “I work on the principle that you need to have power to be able to do something. If you don't have power, you can't do anything. So you'd rather be overpowered than underpowered, but of course it's very dependent on the situation at the time.”
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© IKA media/ Robert Hajduk: Showman Lorenzo Boschetti enjoys his moment in the sun
Bruno Lobo, the Brazilian surgeon who sits in third overall, prefers an alternative approach to Maeder. “Some guys were on the 23 but I preferred the 15 for today. I think upwind it makes us a bit faster and downwind we lose a bit with less power, but overall I think it worked out better for me and Axel to be on the 15.”


Mazella was certainly fast today but he gave away some easy points on day one having spent the day racing without the mandatory class sticker on his board. Having worked so hard to win Olympic selection in a hard-fought French trial, it’s a surprising giveaway to concede points for the lack of a sticker, but the measurement failure cost him 1 standard penalty point for each of his three race wins on Tuesday. Despite this the Frenchman still holds second spot, and he’ll be keen to at least maintain that place or overtake Maeder for the lead as the top two qualifiers earn a bye straight through to the four-rider final this Sunday.
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© IKA media/ Robert Hajduk: Max Maeder (left) and Martin Dolenc limbering up before battle
Thursday’s forecast looks good for moderate breeze and four more races for each of the men and women’s fleets will conclude qualifying before they are re-organised into gold, silver and bronze fleets. The final two days of racing this Saturday and Sunday will be livestreamed on YouTube and Facebook.

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© IKA media/ Robert Hajduk: Maggie Pescetto's beloved pet goat (from a Kinder Egg)