Unfortunately, the last two days of the gliding Grand Prix were literally a washout. Continuous heavy rain put a stop to any flying activity from the beginning. The Grand Prix organization team, therefore, had to declare finished the competition with three qualifying race flights. The award ceremony was advanced to Saturday noon to allow pilots, some of whom had traveled from far away, to leave a bit earlier than the original plan.

Nevertheless, all participants in the closing ceremony were full of praise and enthusiasm, both for the flying performances and for the organization of the Elchinger team. The pilots in particular praised the perfect organization of the Luftsportring (LSR) in addition to the really good and relaxed atmosphere. The observer Benjamin Neglais, appointed by the FAI (FÉDÉRATION AÉRONAUTIQUE INTERNATIONALE), was impressed by the media reach of the Grand Prix. „The live stream, which was produced daily by the LSR Aalen, has overshadowed many things that have come before. Live images from the starting field, images from the tow planes, live tracking, commented on by a German-English presenter, reached viewers from the USA, Portugal, Madeira, all of Europe and even New Zealand”!

In a live chat, the more than 1000 daily followers were able to ask the Elchingen crew questions. Plus, the large number of visitors who came to the airfield in Elchingen in the morning on the competition days were also proof that gliding is a sport that has a public appeal beyond the insider scenes. „We are pleased to see that the locals have shown us with their visits how deeply rooted the airfield in Elchingen is with the people of the region” said the chairman of the Luftsportring, Helmut Albrecht. In the aircraft hangar, the live stream with the second-by-second tracking of all the aircrafts was shown on a large screen.

The President of the Baden-Württemberg Aviation Association, Eberhard Laur, experienced the Grand Prix from a dual perspective, as a participant in the 20-meter double-seater class and as an official. „What the Elchingers achieved here deserves great praise. With the Grand Prix, which was organized, communicated and ultimately carried out in English and in German from the very beginning, the LSR Aalen has proven that it is capable of hosting a world championship.” Luftsportring chairman Albrecht adds, „The dress rehearsal, which the Grand Prix was intended to be for us, gave us a good feeling. We now know that with this team, we as a club are capable of hosting a world championship.

Many young club members did a great job in the competition team. But the older generation in the club also participated actively. Even 84-year-old Alfred Rainer was part of the team. „Gliding also connects generations!“ says Albrecht.

The placements of the competition were as follows:

Björn Gintzel has won the Grand Prix in the 15-meter class. Two daily victories took him to the top. He is now safely qualified for the final in France in September 2025. Behind Björn Gintzel from FG Dahlemer Binz (Eifel), Steffen Göttler from LSC Bad Homburg came in second. He will also travel to France next year. The reigning English world champion Tom Arscott from Lasham Gliding Society came in third.

The two pilots from LSR Aalen: Steffen Schwarzer came in seventh and Paul Schwarz came in ninth.

Having the 20-meter double-seater class fly at a Grand Prix was the idea of ​​the LSR Aalen. All participants were enthusiastic about it after this week. Even the long-standing national team pilots Robert Schröder and Charly Bauder dared to predict that in 10 years at the latest a double-seater class will be standard at Grand Prix events all over the world. The double-seater class was won by the Austrian team Wolfgang Janowitsch and Andi Lutz. The multiple world champion Janowitsch was particularly impressed by the Elchingen airfield. „Such a site, with this infrastructure, owned and run voluntarily by a club, is unique in the world”.

The Aalen Arcus with the two-time European champion Erwin Ziegler and pilot Alexander Schmid came in second. Bernd Schmid was of course particularly proud that his son was on the winner’s podium.

The team of Eberhard „Ebo“ Laur, came third. He flew in the Arcus alternately with Robert Österle and Kevin Schmidt. Eberhard Laur and his partner Kevin Schmidt from Laichingen showed a brilliant flying performance, especially on the third day of competition.

On Saturday evening, the Grand Prix ended with a party which was also attended by aviation enthusiasts from many clubs in Bavaria and Baden-Württemberg. Manfred Streicher and Helmut Albrecht agreed in conclusion, „It was certainly not the last Grand Prix flown in Elchingen. That type of competition with the chance for spectators to experience our beautiful sport first hand, the sporting togetherness are all factors that speak in its favour.