09 Sep 2014

Eimers and Zenge Steal Gold at the 58th Coupe Aéronautique Gordon Bennett

The suspense was kept right up to the very end of the 58th Coupe Aéronautique Gordon Bennett, as three gas balloons were still flying on Monday 1 September after the take-off from Vichy, France, and three nights in the air.

Wilhelm Eimers and Matthias Zenge (GER-1), Vincent Leÿs and Christophe Houver (FRA-1 ) and Heinz-Otto Lausch and Marion Lausch (GER-2), flew neck and neck above Sicily, Italy, making it impossible – and all the more exciting for the people following the race live on the internet - to guess who the winners of the race would be.

In the end the German team made up of Eimers and Zenge landed the last and, more importantly, the furthest (1410.64 km), thus beating the eight-time champion Leÿs and his team mate Houver (1406.15 km), as well as the Lauschs who finished third (1383.77 km). For Eimers this is his fourth victory in 25 participations in the Coupe.

At the start of the race 17 gas balloons from 10 nations were launched from the racecourse of Vichy, France, in the small hours of Saturday morning 30 August. Winds carried the gas balloons to the South, some landing in France, some others in Corsica, Italy, Croatia and Sardinia, while the three last reached Sicily.

The goal of the Coupe Aéronautique Gordon Bennett, which is one of the oldest and most prestigious air sport competitions, is simple: to fly the furthest possible distance from the launch site.

This year’s race was a clear success with thousands users following the race from all around the world thanks to live tracking.

Building on the rules of the race, Germany will organise the race in 2016, two years after the victory of their compatriots. Following the victory of Leÿs and Houver in 2013, the 59thCoupe Aéronautique Gordon Bennett will take place in France next year.

The launch of the 58thCoupe Aéronautique Gordon Bennett was followed by the 2nd FAI Junior World Hot Air Balloon Championship which took place at the same location in Vichy. Dominic Bareford from UK won the competition, Rokas Kostiuškevičius from Lithuania finishing second and Clément Seigeot from France third.

 The prize-giving ceremony of both events took place on Saturday at the Vichy racecourse.