X Lakes Challenge 2020
The X Lakes Challenge 2020 is an informal ‘hike and fly’ race that will be run over the weekend of 16th-17th May 2020. Its aim is for entrants to experience the wonders of the English Lake District and to do so by ‘bagging’ as many of the 1,000-foot Wainwright Fells as possible, either by foot or paraglider.
This year there will be a shorter race that will be run in parallel to the hard-core event. This has the aim to help newcomers and the not-so-super-fit to participate, enjoy the Lakes and to have some fun.
Both events will also welcome two-person ‘team’ entries. This is to encourage those less familiar with the Lake District landscape to ‘buddy-up’ with someone who knows the hills well. Team events will be scored separately to the singleton events.
All competitors will be provided with waypoints of the Wainwright Peaks in advance and competitors/teams will be tracked, and then scored, using tracking devices (Flymaster SMS, SPOT or Garmin InReach)
Jocky Sanderson of Escape, based at The Flight Park in Keswick, will be the Meet Director and Richard Bungay, of UK Airsports, who supported Steve Nash in the X-Alps in 2015 will be providing some support logistics. At the sole discretion of the Meet Director, rules may be changed and will be notified in advance to all competitors. This may include an option to leave flying equipment behind if the weather demands a ground race. It may also be agreed to switch the single day event to the Sunday if the weather looks more favourable for flying. No vehicular transport is allowed during the race.
- “Hard-Core”: This is a 21-hour race: 8 am Saturday until 4pm on Sunday, entry fee £60
- “Day-Trippers”: This is an 8-hour race: 9 am until 5 pm Saturday, entry fee £25
Both races encourage team entries. Team entrants will be scored separately. Ideally a local pilot will ‘buddy-up’ with a visiting pilot to assist them with local navigation and meteorology. However, any pair of pilots can enter as a team. The event organisers will attempt to suggest candidate local ‘buddies’ for any visiting pilot who gets in touch prior to the event. Teams must travel together throughout the event.
Pilots must pre-register but can change race category up to the point of registration on the Friday evening.
All competitors will be welcomed to registration followed by an optional event briefing on the evening of Friday 15th May from 7.00pm. During the briefing some local weather and routing information will be provided included some suggested one-day routes for the prevailing conditions.
There will be a compulsory safety briefing which will be held at 7 am on Saturday morning, during which equipment may be spot-checked.
Social and Prize-giving:
On the Friday and Saturday evenings there will be informal talks/discussions held at the Flight Park on some of the following subjects:
- Lightweight and Vol-Biv gear
- Wilderness medicine and First-Aid
- Selection and use of personal trackers and GPS beacons
- Local ‘hike and fly’ videos
On the Sunday at 5pm there will be prize-giving and a free meal/Barbeque.
There will be spot prizes for competitors as well as announcement of winners. The chance of winning something is very high regardless of your performance in the event – taking part is everything!
- Points for Peaks : ‘Wainwrights’ are the Lake District peaks standing at over 1,000 feet in height. They are subdivided into seven geographical regions. Each are described in different Wainwright guide books.
- 10 points will be awarded for every peak in the Central, Northern and North Western fells.
- 15 points will be awarded for the peaks in the Eastern or Western fells.
- 25 points will be awarded every peak in the Southern or Far Eastern fells.
All turn-points have a standard radius of 400 meters whether taken in the air or taken on foot.
- Team Scoring : Any single waypoint taken by two persons in the same team within 20 minutes of each other will result in the score for that waypoint being multiplied by a factor of 2.
- Wildcard Wainwrights : A small number of Wainwrights may be assigned ‘wildcard’ status. If these Wainwrights are bagged, then the subsequent Wainwright bagged will earn double points.
- Distant peaks : The longest straight-line distance, in kilometres, between the two Wainwrights bagged that are furthest from each other will be measured. The resultant distance will also earn points at the rate of five points for every full kilometre of straight-line distance. Those additional points will be added to the competitor or team score. For teams the best distance will be between the two most distant peaks bagged by either competitor. Tracklogs / Satellite tracking will be used to verify routes, flight and then for scoring.
- Penalties for travelling light : On each competition day, competitors can elect to leave their flying kit behind. By doing so, all points scored on that day will have a factor of 0.8 applied (a 20% penalty) Please note, the event organisers reserve the right to remove this penalty if conditions suggest that no competitor should fly.
Race Schedule :
- Competitors are required to report for the race briefing at the Flight Park, at 7.00am on Saturday, 16th May 2020.
- The longer, two-day, race will begin from the Flight Park at 8.00am on Saturday, 16th May 2020. The shorter, one-day, race will begin at 9.00am on Saturday, 17th of May 2020 (unless bumped on due to weather)
- For the longer race a compulsory over-night rest period begins at 8.00pm on Saturday, 16th May. All competitors need to land by this time and report in their last position to the Flight Park team. Competitors can start racing again at 7am on the Sunday 17th May.
- If within a mobile network area, the pilot must call event organisers by 9.00pm with the location and their intentions for the overnight stay. In cases where the pilot is out of mobile coverage, they must send in the Satellite message “OK” by 8pm to mark their position for start of the rest period, and then another Satellite “OK” by 9pm, to mark their selected spot for spending the night.
- During the night, the pilot can choose to either camp out, vol-biv style, or to spend the night in a hotel in town.
- At 7am on the following day, the pilot must then report back to within 400 meters of the place they left on the previous day, where they can continue the race. The start point is marked by sending a further Satellite “OK” message to the event organisers.
- During race hours, the pilot can only elect to walk or fly. No other form of transport is allowed.
- During the obligatory rest period, from 8pm Saturday until 7am Sunday, the pilot can move using any form of transport.
- The long-form race finishes at 4.00pm on Sunday, 17th May 2020. The shorter race at 5.00pm on Saturday 16th of May 2020. Late finishers will be treated as follows:
- 5 points will be deducted from the pilot score for each full ten minutes of lateness
- Over an hour late scores zero.
- For the remaining points to be valid for scoring, all competitors must report back to the Flight Park by 5pm on Sunday 17th May at the latest.
- The finish time of a team will be the time of arrival of the second team member.
- In any case where a competitor cannot make it back by 5pm on Sunday they must call in and report back by this time. However, all their race points will be forfeit.
- Any competitor may quit the race any time. However, they must inform the event organisers of it.
- If either member of a team quits then the team result is nil.
Race Equipment :
- All entrants must be qualified to fly paragliders in the UK
- The Escape X Lakes is intended to be a cross-country flying race, therefore the use of paragliders with 16m2 or less (speed-gliding) is prohibited. It is also prohibited to fly with paragliders which have a wing load higher than 6Kg/m2.
- All flying equipment must be homologated and must comply with the latest edition of the following EN certification standards :
- Paraglider: EN 926-2 and 926-1 or LTF 91/09 (including CCC FAI class), having aspect ratio under 7,2.
- Harness: EN 1651 with certified protection, or LTF 91/09
- Emergency parachute: EN 12491 or LTF 91/09
- Helmet: EN 966
- All competitors are required to carry the below minimum equipment to fly:
- Harness including a protector
- Emergency parachute
- Mobile telephone (and backup charging facilities)
- 2m band Radio (channel to be decided during briefing)
- GPS tracker (provided by Event organisers if required)
- Competitors’ full equipment list must be emailed to the event organisers by Friday 15th May 2020. Once the race starts, the pilot cannot change his selected equipment.
- Competitors must be appropriately kitted out for fell running/walking during the race.
- In case of bad weather/rain or poor flying conditions, the competitors may elect to get into fell-running or walking mode for the day. In this case, they may opt to leave behind their flying kit and inform the event organisers about it at the start of each day. However, the competitor cannot then collect their wing during that day. A competitor can also choose to walk/run with their full flying kit but must not fly in rain/marginal conditions. Note that competitors who choose to leave their flying gear behind may have a 20% penalty applied to their points collected during that day. The event organisers will notify competitors if penalties are being applied when the competitor notifies them of their intentions. (Certain conditions will allow this penalty system to be lifted)
- Competitors and teams are encouraged to use supporters during the race.
They must inform the event organisers of the names and full contact details of their supporter(s) by 9pm on Friday 15th May. The supporter(s) need to remain accessible via mobile phone or satellite systems throughout the duration of the race.
- Competitors need to be in charge of their tracking device (which can be provided by event organisers) and carry sufficient backup battery to ensure non-stop live tracking. The loss of tracking signal due to empty batteries will mean forfeiting the score.
- As well as the live-tracking GPS, every competitor must carry his/her own GPS to make a back-up recording of their track and the competitor will be responsible of their own tracks.
Flying Rules :
- All entrants hold final responsibility for their own safety, both flying and on the ground.
- No scoring movements are allowed in the hours between 8pm and 7am
- Cloud flying is not allowed and will be penalised. The type of penalty applied will be decided the event Director.
- All pilots need to follow Airlaw, UK flying code and rules of the Cumbria Soaring Club.
Entry Fees :
- “Hard-Core”: £60, per competitor or per team
- “Day-Trippers”: £25, per competitor or per team
The entry fee will allow the organisers to arrange for each team’s safety to be assured through tracking technologies, to lay on some food for the end of event festivities and to support the cost of some of the prizes. Any additional funds generated through the event will be donated to the Lake District Mountain Rescue teams.
Persons can enter as a single competitor but then switch to a team entry at no extra cost should they find a ‘buddy’ to make up a team entry. Competitors can enter at any time up until 9pm on Friday 15th May.
Further Notes :
A useful map of the Wainwrights is available via this link
The famous British weather!
There is therefore a possibility to choose to move the single day event by one day should the entrants agree. All options in this regard will be discussed and agreed during the briefing on Friday evening. It is also likely that competitors will receive some communications in this respect in the days leading up to the event. Any late comers should get in touch by telephone if they wish to lodge an opinion.