Walgett was the last place local girl, Eliza Woods, thought she would be this year when she took on some holiday employment as a pickup driver for Australian hang gliders Len Paton, Bill Schroder, Guy Hubbard and Neil Halshall.
However Woods picked up her crew from Tullibigeal, Lake Cargelligo, Budda Budah, Molong and Walgett, which was a recordbreaking day. She amassed more than 900km of driving and over 10 hours of travel in her journeys.
Pickup destinations were unknown to her until the briefing was held each morning of the eight day competition, highlighting her incredible commitment to the team. Members of her team did very well across the competition, with Len Paton coming in at second place on the last day, but it was Jon Durand, from the Gold Coast, who was the overall winner.
On the first and last day of the competition hang gliders completed a diamond and a triangular course that began and finished at the Forbes Aerodrome, even though the course was in excess of 100km in distance. Daily destinations were announced each morning after natural factors such as wind direction and weather conditions were considered, with a couple of days cancelled due to rain.
The hang gliders receive points each day based on their results with the aim to go the furthest distance in the shortest amount of time. Briefing each day commenced at 10am with start times ranging from 11.45am to 12.30pm.
Hang gliders had a staggered start and many caught up to and even overtook each other as the race progressed.
This is the second year Eliza has been a pickup driver for the championships and has thoroughly enjoyed the experience both times and is keen to sign up again next year if study commitments allow.