The Nestea PWA Hungarian World Cup Day 4
The closing day of the first Nestea PWA Hungarian World Cup brought with it nervous anticipation of what had been forecast as the best day for wind. It also brought with it a remarkably still morning that did not seem to hold much promise of wind.
It was not long however, before the leaves began to rustle and the flags began to fly as the wind slowly built from the North East. By noon there was a dramatically more hopeful atmosphere among the racers as official competition really started to look feasible.
At 14.45, the wind had finally built enough for the riders to get out on the course but there were still massive lulls on the course area, so it was decided to set a short, sharp course for a fun race at 15.15. By the time the start was in sequence, the wind had filled in more and suddenly there was a very real possibility of official racing, but with the occasional lull still appearing, it as decided to continue with the fun race to allow the conditions to settle down.
With a total of ?2,500 up for grabs, everyone was fired up and ready to go, regardless of the unofficial status of the race. Men and Women would all start together before battling it out over the short but intensive upwind / downwind course. Ross Williams (Starboard, Gaastra) led from the front, making it rapidly up the first beat only to increase his lead round the marks finishing clear ahead of current PWA Racing No.1 Steve Allen (Fanatic, Neil Pryde) and Michael Polanowski (Starboard) . Kevin Pritchard (Starboard, Gaastra) made up the winning quartet in fourth with a great performance by Roy Van Koolwijk (Fanatic) who finished fifth.
The real superstar of today's race was PWA newcomer Pepa Mavrodieva (Starboard) who took a somewhat surprising victory over current PWA No. 1 Alison Shreeve (F2) and 2003 PWA World Champion Dorota Staszewska (Starboard, Gaastra) who finished second and third respectively. Mavrodieva from Bulgaria, who is just 19 years old, held her position substantially ahead of Shreeve to leave the remaining girls dazzled by her speed round the course. Even though it was only a fun race she will obviously be a force to be reckoned with in years to come.
Unfortunately as the leading men crossed the finish line, the wind had already begun to drop significantly. When the tail-enders were finally passing the finish boat, the breeze had subsided to just the occasional gust and conditions were no longer suitable for official or unofficial racing. The race committee held the fleet on standby for some time after, but the conditions never recovered and finally a halt was called to competition for the day and the event.
Despite the lack of official competition, Lake Balaton has proved itself a worthy venue with the Hungarian hospitality and Budapest nightlife very much the icing on the cake. The Nestea Racing Tour now moves on to Sylt in Northern Germany, but in the meantime all eyes will be on the other side of the Atlantic, for the PWA Canadian Women's Freestyle World Cup, where the best female freestylers in the world will do battle to see who will take the crown of PWA Women's Freestyle World Champion 2004.