53rd Gordon Bennett Race 2009

The Doctors did it.

Dr Janet Folkes and Dr Ann Rich broke two records and landed in sixth place in the 2009 Gordon Bennett Race which was launched from Geneva.

The France I team won the “53e Coupe Aéronautique Gordon Bennett”, after 4 days flying, landing near the airport of Lagos, in the extreme south-west of Portugal. Sébastien ROLLAND and Vincent LEYS flew 1587 km, overtaking the Swiss 1 team of 17 km!

However Dr Janet Folkes and Dr Ann Rich in GBR2, the only all female team, broke records before they had even landed. They came 6th overall, but broke the women’s distance, and duration records for gas balloons. As they broke the duration record the Spanish Airforce sent up an F18 to give them a ‘well done’ flypast.

Janet and Ann eventually landed in a field of bulls just South of Madrid.

The whole team were present at the BBM&L’s Annual luncheon on 25th October. But it was not only Janet and Ann, but their Flight Director Dr Colin Butter and their Balloon Meister Jonathan Harris. Ann’s husband Glen and their two children, Caitlin and Adam were also there, as were Gill Butter and their daughter Emilie. Jonathan’s son Piers completed a real family Gordon Bennett debriefing.

The British Balloon Museum & Library were hugely proud to have them all at the luncheon, and to have Janet Folkes giving a stirring and animated talk about the flight, with a slide show after the lunch.