Gordon Bennett 2010

GB2010The UK Gordon Bennett Gas Balloon Race Committee is proud to announce that Bristol has been selected for the start of the race in September 2010 from a short list of four.

The Coupe Aeronautique Gordon Bennett is the oldest aeronautical event in the world, first held in Paris in 1906. Traditional gas balloons make flights lasting several days and the rules are simple – the balloon landing furthest from the take-off site is the winner.

It is the tradition that the winning country hosts the subsequent race, but the United Kingdom has never won it in over 100 years. That changed in 2008 with the victory of David Hempleman-Adams and Jonathan Mason and so the race will start in the UK for the first time in 2010.

The event will confirm Bristol’s claim as a world capital of ballooning. It already hosts Europe’s largest annual balloon meeting, The Bristol International Balloon Fiesta, and has the world’s largest manufacturer of balloons, Cameron Balloons Ltd. This Bristol company is building a new design of balloon to take part in the race.

Don Cameron, Chairman of the UK Gordon Bennett Committee, confirmed, “Bristol City Council, the city and its residents have been tremendously supportive over the nearly 40 years of Bristol ballooning and we are delighted to bring them and indeed the nation this great event”.

The balloons used in the Coupe Aeronautique Gordon Bennett are traditional gas balloons, using hydrogen and sand bags, whose design has changed little in over 225 years. But modern technology will be used in meteorology, navigation and communication systems.

Most importantly, everyone can follow the excitement of the race, because each balloon carries a tracker device which relays the position back to base where it is put on the web site in real time. It can be quite addictive watching how the race unfolds over three or four days until the final landing is made.

Don Cameron said, “I am very pleased that Bristol has been chosen. The site is excellent, and its ballooning traditions are second to none. We look forward to making this a great event for Bristol during its special year of the Celebration of Flight and for the UK.”

The event is organised under the auspices of the Federation Aeronautique Internationale, the Royal Aero Club of the United Kingdom and the British Balloon and Airship Club and under the patronage of His Royal Highness The Duke of Edinburgh and Sir Richard Branson. It is supported by Bristol City Council and Destination Bristol. Expressions of support have also come from the Civil Aviation Authority and National Air Traffic Services.

For further information, see www.gordonbennett2010.com