Entries to the World Gliding Championship in Benalla next year have officially closed.
A total of 109 competitors have entered from 26 countries.
As the competition draws closer, the Australian team is pulling together to maximise their strengths and meet the challenges ahead.
The pilots met at the Australian Institute of Sport in Canberra for a team preparation session from August 27 to 29.
All six team members attended — Bruce Taylor and Andrew Georgeson in Open Class, Tom Claffey and Peter Temple in 18m Class and Matthew Scutter and Steve O’Donnell in 15m Class — joined by their coaches Peter Trotter and Ingo Renner, and by other team support members.
Discussions focused on logistics and tactics, making use of the facilities and guest lecturers from the AIS.
The team members are feeling confident in light of their home-turf advantage and the associated knowledge of the local gliding conditions.
All agree that they have a true secret weapon in their champion coach — four times WGC winner Ingo Renner.
His experience in championship flying and terrain of all types — especially Australian — and encouragement will prove invaluable to the pilots as the competition heats up next January.
Many of the international teams have sent in descriptions and photos of their members and coaches, which can be read on the www.wgc2017.com website.
Whether the individual pilots have experienced Australian flying conditions before or not, all of them are looking forward to the gathering next January in Benalla.
As team captain Darko Gagula from Slovenia says, ‘‘The Slovenian WGC team is small, but I’m honoured to be a part of it. I’m looking forward to meeting old friends and making new ones. See you in Benalla.’’