Simon Gill of Montreal has clenched the title of World Champion in the Kite Class for a second time! In addition, he is also the winner of the Coupe de Quebec - North America's most advanced snow kite racing venue. This is also Gill’s second time winning the prestigious Coupe de Quebec.
What is interesting about this story is that after his win at Val Brilliant, Quebec in 2008, Gill seemed a shoe in to take the title at WISSA 2009 in Riga Latvia - only I knew better.
Call it schadenfreude, but I was certain that the supremely talented Russian kite sailors would give Gill the competition that had been lacking in his previous victories. The cost of overseas travel prevents keeps some of the best sailors out of competition, and that is why WISSA World Championships alternate between Europe and North America each year. I knew that the talented Gill had not been truly tested going into 2009, and for me, it was fun to watch.
I knew that the Russians were good, but even I was surprised at the final race results. Gill came in 10th place behind - all Russians and one Latvian (Gatis Satiks – 6th place).
Elf kite with Peter Lynn and Concept Air
A less evolved competitor would have behaved badly or tried to rest upon previous achievements, but Gill reached out to those who defeated him and forged a friendship with Roman Lyubmitsev of Elf Kites. It turns out that Roman’s mother is French and Roman and Simon Gill shared the French language in common.
A friendship developed, and shortly before WISSA 2010, Simon took possession of an Elf kite.
Had the winds been different, (i.e. stronger!) this kite would likely not have been a factor. As it turned out, the kite was perfect. The unlikely partnership of Russian kite maker and 10th place ex World Champion turned out to be a winning formula!
It just goes to show - you can’t deny talent. I just want to see what will happen next time North America’s best racer - Simon Gill, goes up against the best Russian, and European racers. With luck that - and many other compelling things will happen at WISSA 2011 to be held at Saimaa Gardens in southeaster Finland.
Better late than never, Will.