He narrowly lost the battle but won the war in. Hang-glider Jonny Durand finished the narrowest of seconds at the Australian Hang-Gliding Championships over the week but did enough to claim the overall Australian Title with the No.1 year-end ranking for a record 13th time - possibly 14th but Jonny’s not sure and 13 “has a real ring to it”.
Scaling heights of 2000m and reaching speeds in excess of 90km/h, Jonny vied Australia and the world’s best during six days of storm-interrupted racing over Forbes, NSW. And were it not for a race being halted on the penultimate day of competition on account of lightning, thunder, heavy rain and winds, he very well could have claimed his seventh Australian Hang-Gliding Championships.
Instead, he had to be content with runner-up to good friend and US rival Zac Majors – yes, that’s his real name - who finished just 70 points ahead of Jonny with a six-race total of 5046 points.
Near 60 of the world’s best contested the eight-day championships, one of
Better yet, it may have been enough to secure him the world No.1 ranking.
“But it’ll be a little while before the calculations are finalized,” Jonny says.
“Worst case, I’ll only be a handful of points away. Had the race on the second last day not been stopped half-way through, I think I’d be a certainty for that. I was flying at 8000 feet [preparing for a fast finish] but in those situations it’s only distance that matters so those who’d travelled
“It’s an error on my behalf but to come back the final day and take second and be so close to first, it’s pretty satisfying. Now we’ll just have to wait and see how the world rankings play out.”
On account of conditions, only two races ran further than 160km – a 190km and a 250km on days three and six respectively, which were consequently Jonny’s highest scoring rounds. A multiple world record holder, long distances are his specialty.
Jonny will now prepare for the World Championships in Mexico this March. But in true JD fashion, don’t