Russell Achterberg flies over the other competitors at the Barberton Paragliding Open

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Like the raptors that have risen on thermals above the Makhonjwa Mountains and the Agnes Mine Valley for thousands of years, paragliders from across South Africa have risen into the skies above Barberton from Sunday to last Friday.

Competitors followed a pre-determined route (task) on Sunday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday, starting at the Lone Tree Hill launch site.

Conditions on Monday and Wednesday were not conducive to competition flying.

As soon as they were airborne, they had to complete a number of different challenges. These included finding thermal columns to get them to their next checkpoint via GPS.

These one to two hour daily chores ended at the Barberton Golf Club.

The ground crew were on hand to ensure there were no accidents, and recorded the flights that would determine this year
winners in the different categories.

Thirty-two paragliders took part.

Hartebeespoort’s Russell Achterberg successfully defended the title he won in 2021.

Achterberg, with his Ozone Enzo 3, scored a total of 2,626 points.

Lowvelder Anton Naudé (Ozone Enzo 3) finished second with 2,525 points. Jon Pio (Gin Boomerang 10) of Pretoria finished third
out of 2,400 points

Class results
Performance class
1. Heinrich Marloth: 2,213 points
2. Henry Schurink: 1,845
3. Jan Anthony Minnaar: 1,408
Sports lesson
1. Justin Anderson: 1,944
2. Cal Dyker: 1,755
3. Marc Miller: 1,477
Intermediate class
1. Shaun Holiday: 1,283
2. Ryan Cook: 1,166
3. Bradley Baretti: 988
Novice class
1. Matt Ashwell
2. Albert Pour
3. Jentz Wohlitz.

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