The weekend of October 8/9 saw a veritable feast of ballooning in Britain starting with the launch of The Queen’s Cup Balloon Race in Taunton, Somerset. The BBAC were invited to lay on an event where pilots would compete for the Queen’s Cup, the oldest and most prestigious sporting trophy in the UK, dating back to 1719 and entrusted to the Royal Aero Club by Her Majesty The Queen for which different disciplines of aviation would compete .
Nine balloons launched and Dom Bareford managed to fly for 8½ hours and landed at Manston Airfield on the Kent coast. Richard Penney in the event sponsor’s AUDI balloon landed further back in Kent after 9 hours. All flying with AVANTI’s bioLPG based on advanced bioethanol produced from waste.
Race teams then drove to various sites around UK to add to their total distance on sunday morning. Dom started from Preston and scored a winning total distance of 442 km. We hope to bring you the story in the next TRAILROPE. ( Video of launch)
To coincide with this race the BBAC invited all the regions to encourage pilots to fly in The Great British Balloon Launch and the response was wonderful with balloons flying from their home patches far and wide. (See map.)
Up in Shropshire there were 29 balloons attending the annual One Man Meet where sunday’s winds gave easy launches and ‘lively’ landings.
Across the pond the annual Gordon Bennett Balloon Race was hosted in Albuquerque where the French winners reached the east coast after flying 2661 km. The British team of John Rose and Debbie Scholes landed after 1000 km with unreliable battery power.