Hungarian Victor Kovats redeems himself with a glorious victory at the ProBASE Wingsuit Race 2012 in Stechelberg, Switzerland.
September 16th 2011, last years first qualification round at the ProBASE Race in Stechelberg and Viktor Kovats, who just flew the fastest time in the race, gets disqualified for being a mere second below the minimum required canopy time. 2012 he is back with a vengeance.
It was a bitter moment as he later admits but its part of the game. Viktor Kovats from Hungary however is not a quitter and when he got the chance to come back this year and do it all over again, he didn´t miss it. From the getgo Viktor was on his mark and started out with a bang. All through the qualifying rounds he was ahead and he never even got close to the minimum safety margin of 25 seconds under canopy. His hundreds of training jumps and having recently competed in a skydiving race had put him in position.
Close behind the usual suspects, Ludovic Woerth from France, fast and ready, Espen Fadnes from Norway, the man who had won this race in 2010, however on a shorter track, as well as brits Gary Crisp and Alistair McCartney were spot on. And then there were the outside favorites, like Alex Polli, Tony Urugallo or Michi Schwery. All 37 racers had prepared, had trained and were ready to give it their all.
After 3 rounds of qualification the field had narrowed down to 16 racers and there were quite a few surprises in the mix. The fact that some of the big name pilots had a hard time getting into the groove proves once again that racing is different from just flying wingsuits. Special skills and a very special mindset are necessary to be a top-end competitor in this sport.
Dominik Wicki from Switzerland made the semis in his first race, as well as brazilian Yuri Cordeiro, both in the running for newcomer of the year.
In the semis a lot of the pilots started with their tactics, since it is the most important round of the race. The semi final time is the one that gets you that finals spot, which triggered more then one pilot to go for broke. Alex Polli, by many handled as a podium finisher, went too hard on his semi run and despite a magnificent time, got disqualified for having a too short canopy ride. Tony Urugallo, the winner of the BASE Race in Norway this year did the same as did Ivo Ninov from Bulgaria.
This left Marco Waltenspiel, Gio Silvestri, Michi Schwery, Donald Zarda, Dominick Wicki, Ludo Woerth, Espen Fadnes and Vik Kovats to go up for one final run. Austrian Marco Waltenspiel had to give up his final slot due to health reasons and Swiss Oliver Furrer took his spot. In the race for third Ludo just beat Dominik by a hair, and now it was down to the gold race. 20 seconds lay between the racers and absolut glory as they pushed off the ramp at 700 meters above the valley. The slow motion footage shows the absolut pairity of the racers as they leave the ramp, even their leg wings stop flapping at the exact same moment as their suits reach full pressurization and start to move forward.
As they get closer to the finish line it seems that Espen has a slight adavantage, however Viktor is right next to him and as they cross the judges are split in their opinion. Video review of the goal line camera however clearly shows Viktor crossing the line just a body length ahead of Espen and claiming victory.
His revenge is perfect, after the deception of last year, he is back to take home the bell, and a Shark Wingsuit sponsored by Intrudair Wingsuit factories.
With his second place Espen claims the overall World Cup title and crowns himself BASE Jump World Champion 2012, sweetened up by a $5000.- cheque sponsored by APEX BASE.
Another race was completed injury free, which is probably the biggest achievement and down to everyone. Emotional words at the awards ceremony also commemorated ProBASE cofounder Mirko Schmidt and his achievement to help make the series into what it has become today. Everyone is looking forward to a new and extended wingsuit racing season in 2013.