Aldridge disentangles her way to the final

- South-westerly breeze started light but became stronger during the afternoon
- Four more Gold Fleet races and the top 10 move through to Sunday’s Medal Series
- Ellie Aldridge overtakes Poema Newland in the women’s standings
- Italians dominate the men’s competition
- Livestreaming of the Medal Series on Sunday

Ellie Aldridge sailed a blindingly good day to launch herself into pole position at the 2023 Formula Kite European Championships in Portsmouth, England. The British rider overtook previous leader, France’s Poema Newland, and will wear the coveted yellow bib in Sunday’s four-rider decider in front of a home crowd on Eastney Beach.

132977000001010366 zc v1 1695492292369 230923 kiteeuros lloyd 076© IKA media / Mark Lloyd: The breeze built throughout the afternoon on the sunny Solent

Even a tangle in her bridle lines couldn’t hold back Aldridge. In the second race of the session after a frantic few minutes of trying to untie an unwanted knot in her lines, she was last of the beach and 50 seconds late crossing the start line, seemingly in a hopeless game of catch-up outside the top 20. However, such was her speed, determination and tactical risk-taking that the British rider managed to salvage a third place by the end of the 12-minute, two-lap race. Winning the next two races sealed off an amazing day and Aldridge will be going into the final day with her confidence flying high.

132977000001010366 zc v1 1695492471222 230923 kiteeuros lloyd 050© IKA media / Mark Lloyd: All in a row out of the women's Gold Fleet start

Newland was downbeat about her performance although it was hardly disastrous. The French rider finished only two points behind Aldridge and will wear the blue bib in the four-rider final. As for third-placed Lily Young from Great Britain, she will have to fight her way through her semi-final, as will Annelous Lammerts from the Netherlands who came fourth in the Gold Fleet racing.

Further back in the top 10, a battle is raging for the one Olympic qualifying spot up for grabs in Portsmouth. Julia Damasiewicz of Poland will go into the semi-finals with a margin advantage over Spain’s Gisela Pulido and Alina Kornelli of Austria. Someone will finish Sunday in a state of elation, knowing they have secured their country’s place at Paris 2024, the others will be disappointed to have missed their chance.


132977000001010366 zc v1 1695492531997 230923 kiteeuros lloyd 135© IKA media / Mark Lloyd: Boschetti chasing his Italian teammate Pianosi

In the men’s competition the two Italians Riccardo Pianosi and Lorenzo Boschetti are proving the power of the squad with a dominant performance on the race course. The last of today’s four Gold Fleet races was a classic, a hard fought match race between the two Italians with barely a board’s length between them for much of the two laps. In the end the 18-year-old Pianosi sealed victory, making it three wins from four today and securing the yellow bib which has already been his for the past couple of days.

Britain’s Connor Bainbridge had a day of mixed fortunes, failing to complete the first race but taking a solid win in the third heat to sit in third overall at the end of a mentally exhausting afternoon. Just behind him in fourth place is Jannis Maus from Germany who will go into the other semi-final. If the Briton and German can progress from their respective semi-finals to join the Italians in the four-ride showdown, it will set up a tense duel for the one Olympic qualifying spot: Britain versus Germany.


132977000001010366 zc v1 1695492582050 230923 kiteeuros lloyd 025© IKA media / Mark Lloyd: Pianosi celebrates another day in the leader's yellow bib

Max Zakowski could yet come in to spoil the party, however, as the Polish rider qualifies for the final day in seventh place and shows the potential to beat the riders ahead of him. Tiger Tyson in ninth place can’t secure an Olympic berth in Portsmouth as he’s from outside Europe, but the Antiguan rider’s performance bodes well for his chances at the Panam Games later this year.


132977000001010366 zc v1 1695492626619 230923 kiteeuros lloyd 015© IKA media / Mark Lloyd: Noah Runciman of the USA, making waves in Gold Fleet

On Sunday the Medal Series sees the top 10 men and women contest a different style of small-fleet competition which places all the emphasis on race victories. Watch the drama play out live from midday onwards as the races are livestreamed on YouTube and Facebook.




Riccardo Pianosi




Lorenzo Boschetti




Connor Bainbridge





Ellie Aldridge




Poema Newland




Lily Young