Oldest long distance gas balloon championship – 61th FAI Gordon Bennett Cup 2017

Courtesy of quattro media

France takes the gold at the Coupe Aéronautique Gordon Bennett 2017 – winners ceremony in Fribourg (SUI)

The history of the Gordon Bennett Aeronautical Cup Is full of incredible flights, legendary stories and prestigious records. The rules are easy. The team with the furthest distance wins. The championship was created in 1906 by the adventurer James Gordon Bennett Jr, an American press baron and sponsor of motor racing and air sports. The Gordon Bennett Cup is the most prestigious event in the world of ballooning. This year the 61th edition was held in Fribourg (SUI).

This year 21 gas balloons from 13 nations competed: LEŸS and HOUVER travelled 1,834.72km to take the win. 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.

French pilots Vincent Leys and Christophe Houver won the famous gas-balloon race over the weekend of 8-10 September 2017, and had made the long journey back to Fribourg to accept their medals. Leys said: “Winning the Gordon Bennett Cup 2017 is a dream come true.” Leys and Houver travelled 1,834.72km to take the win. 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 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.

 

Results Top 3   

 

1.       FRA 1  (Vincent Leys + Christope Houver)

2.       SUI 1 (Kurt Frieden+ Pascal Witprächtiger)

3.       ESP 1 (Anulfo Gonzalez Redondo + Angel Aguirre Rial)

Gordon Bennett Cup 2017 – The most prestigious gas balloon race in the world from World of Freesports on Vimeo.

 

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