Ipswich glider completes title hat-trick

AFTER six intense days of competition, exciting Ipswich pilot Andrew Maddocks has emerged as the Australian Under 26 Gliding Champion for the third successive year. 

The prestigious event was contested over six rounds at the Lake Keepit Soaring Club and attracted 18 of Australia’s best under 26 glider pilots.

Maddocks started a red-hot favourite but on Day 1 last Monday had to settle for fifth place after being upstaged by his brother Nicholas.

Over the next five days Andrew’s dominance shone through as he recorded three seconds, one third and a win in the last task on Sunday.

Maddocks only took a slender lead into the last task which saw pilots have to negotiate a triangular course from Lake Keepit via Manilla, Rangari and Gunnedah as many times in two hours.

It took officials a couple of hours to download all the GPS information on Sunday afternoon which saw Maddocks finish the championship on 5433 points, 207 clear of South Australia’s Colin Strauss.

Third place overall went to New South Wales pilot Nathan Johnson.

Nicholas  Maddocks’ finished fifth.

Lake Keepit Soaring Club manager Ian Downes said the entire week went off without a hitch.

“The quality of gliding was first class and we could not have hoped for better weather conditions over the six days,” Downes said.

“Everyone praised the facilities and, once again, Lake Keepit lived up to its reputation as one of the best gliding venues in the country,” he said.

Andrew Maddocks (24), who maintains and repairs gliders for a living, has competed in the last nine national under 26 titles and has been climbing into the cockpit since the age of nine.

Two years ago he won his first national crown at Kingaroy and last year made it two in a row at Wakarie, South Australia.

It’s a real family affair for the Maddocks family with parents Mike and Julie and brother Nicholas all heavily involved in the sport.

Maddocks has one more year left in the under 26 class before taking on the best senior pilots in the land.