Maxime Nocher sealed victory at the second stop of the KiteFoil World Series at Pingtan on the competition’s final day in difficult conditions that saw high winds and big seas batter the track, check it out!
The multiple world championâs wins over three days of intense racing, when he proved virtually unbeatable, cemented the comeback he began a week ago by taking the season-opening International Kiteboarding Association (IKA) KiteFoil stop in Weifang Binhai, in back-to-back events in China.
If anything, Nocher was even more dominant in Pingtan where he seized an amazing 10 bullets from 13 races, putting him in the box seat to secure the IKA KiteFoil world championship crown awarded to the best racer at the end of the scheduled four-regatta tour.
âItâs great to win these back-to-back and Iâm very happy,â said Nocher, savoring his second victory. âI had some problems today when my kite kept collapsing in the big gusts, but I can still see that Iâm faster even in these conditions.â
On the final fourth day in Pingtan, Nocher uncharacteristically could only manage one win to go with his second and fourth spots in the three races, before winds hit more than 26kts in mounting seas, forcing the competition to be curtailed for safety reasons.
But Franceâs Axel Mazella, the current IKA KiteFoil GoldCup seriesâ title holder, used the truncated schedule to the full. He grabbed a bullet and two seconds that pushed him up the order to the second podium spot, leapfrogging fellow countryman ThÃ©o de Ramecourt in the process.
“It was super-hard,â Mazella said of the final dayâs racing. âThe wind was very strong and gusty out there. My aim was just to finish the races properly and stay ahead of ThÃ©o de Ramecourt. Heâs faster than me but had a few problems with his kite collapsing. So, Iâm really happy about my finish.â
De Ramecourt was a little disappointed to surrender second overall after such a strong performance over the course of the regatta in which he took a clutch of second place finishes and even a bullet at the death.
âIâve definitely been having problems with my 9m kite, which Iâve never used before,â said de Ramecourt. âIâm happy with my speed compared to the other guys, but I feel Iâve been limited by my kites. But otherwise, Iâm happy.â
Most of the 27 athletes from 16Â countries found the conditions tricky over the three days of racing. Typhoons have been skirting the East China Sea track off Fujianâs Pingtan Island, generating high winds and big seas that prevented any racing on the scheduled opening day.
The IKA KiteFoil World Seriesâ stop is the centrepiece of the 2018 Pingtan International Kitesurfing Festival that also hosted the Chinese National Championships, with 70 racers competing in TT: R course races.
In the small womenâs KiteFoil group, competing in the strong menâs fleet, Russiaâs Elena Kalinina, was pleased to finish in the mid-order. In doing so, the former Formula Kite World Champion clinched victory in the womenâs field.
âToday was interesting. In the first race, the wind was still OK, but the second and third were more about surviving,â said Kalinina.Â âBut all-in-all I like to race with the guys. Itâs a good experience. Theyâre really fast and itâs a very, very high level. It helps you understand how much better you can be.â
Top three men after 13 races (two discards)
1 Maxime Nocher (MON)Â Â Â Â Â Â Â 12.0pts
2 Axel Mazella (FRA)Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â 28.0pts
3 ThÃ©o de RamecourtÂ (FRA)Â Â Â Â Â Â 29.0pts
Top three women after 13 races (two discards)
1 Elena Kalinina (RUS)Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â 134.0pts
2 Kirstyn OâBrien (USA)Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â 202.0pts
3 Natalie Flintrop-Clarke (AUS)Â Â Â Â 231.0pts
To view the full results, please click here.