Courtesy of FAI Air Sports Channel
French pilots Vincent Leys and Christophe Houver won the famous gas-balloon race over the weekend of 8-10 September 2017.
The Gordon Bennett Cup is the oldest and most prestigious gas-balloon race in the world. Taking place each year it attracts the best gas-balloon pilots in the world, who take off and fly as far as they can. Flying through the night and across international borders, whoever goes the furthest wins.
This year 21 gas balloons took off on Friday evening, 8 September 2017, from Gruyères, Switzerland.
Leys and Houver travelled 1,834.72km to take the win. They landed at 8.35am CEST on Sunday 10 September.
They were the only team that managed to navigate through a thin corridor of airspace between Kaliningrad and Belarus, which allowed them to fly northeast across Lithuania and Latvia. They landed in Estonia before the Russian border.
Some 500km behind them, many pilots had to land in Poland because of airspace around the city of Kaliningrad and the country of Belarus.
Switzerland’s Kurt Frieden and Pascal Wutprächtiger (SUI-1) landed just short of the border with Lithuania to come second, winning silver. They had flown a tactical but slower race, landing at 7pm CEST on Sunday after covering 1,366km.
Close behind them in third place, Spain’s Anulfo Gonzales Redondo and Angel Aguirre Rial also landed close to the Lithuanian border. They covered 1,334km.