Icarus Trophy Race Report Day 2

Day Two has been eventful. As the Adventure Class continue to find their feet, the front two pilots look set to finish tomorrow. We've also had our first drop-out and a near-miss with a plane.

Here's the best of another day of dotwatching.

This was the shape of the race at 13.17PST


After a rough weekend and a 'turd of a day' yesterday, Cayle Royce finally managed to get in the air with a fully functioning engine. Although all that time on the ground meant he was raring to go and left Alex Ledger taking photos of a horizon:

ByRy, in Race Class, have had an excellent day. After getting caught in a weather front yesterday they made some real headway first thing, belting past Portland, Eugene and breaking the 500k mark just before the race closed. 

Avoided a collision with a Delta 747 plane but saw some of the most beautiful scenery through Washington and Oregon.
— Ryan Southwell

Yup. Definitely the moment to skip to the view. According to Byron, the near-miss happened when they were in legal airspace and radio contact with the tower, but still almost ended in "trading paint." Nailbiting. "Had we not turned, there would've definitely been a collision and I would've woken up on an island with 287 other people pissed at me." For those of you who get his reference, enjoy. 

Here are some of their shots from today:

Byron and Ryan moved into 2nd place today with the withdrawal of Bryan West. After his throttle cable broke beyond repair and cost him his chance of the trophy he decided to pull out:

"I could've ordered one and continued on from being a full day or more behind the leaders, but I decided not to. I'm not in contention for the win. I only did 5 hours yesterday and my arms were noodles. Launching a 20m wing in no wind with 5 gallons of fuel, 3 liters of oil, 1 liter of water, food, reserve, winter clothing, extra batteries, and electronics was very tough and hard on my back. Anyone that completes this race is a total beast!"

With Bryan out of the race, that leaves the two Aussies far and away in the lead; a lead they managed to hold on to all day. 

The state of the race at the close of Day 2

At this stage, it looks like the whole damn thing is between two pilots: Kristan Fischer and David Wainwright.  They are both representing Australia. That's where the similarities end.


David Wainwright

Paramotor Instructor and Owner of High Adventure Paragliding, David Wainwright. 

  • A paramotoring instructor he was introduced to the sport by his paragliding uncle and trained in Bali. 
  • Loves XC flights back home.
  • He flew parts of the route when travelling a few years ago. 
  • A member of Race Class, David is flying unsupported. 


Kristan Fischer

 Adventure man Fisch is a helicopter pilot, diving instructor and a skydiver.  

Adventure man Fisch is a helicopter pilot, diving instructor and a skydiver.  

  • Veteran of the Ice Run and Mototaxi Junket and seasoned adventurer.
  • He's been trained by Paradrenalin's Ryan Shaw.
  • He's been in Arizona for a month to log some flying hours and recce'd parts of the route in an RV before the race. 
  • Has his own support car.
Fisch’s putting a lot of faith in that motor. Where he’s flying, he’s got very few choices for a land out.
— Shane Denherder

Fisch has consistently taken the risky route throughout the Trophy. Going for an almost straight line heading south he picked the route involving three major crossings instead of David's choice of one. Luck was on his side as he caught "some really good upper level winds." 

If Fisch has chosen to take the riskier path, David's consistently showing off his exceptional skills and has clocked more kilometers in the same time. 

It's pretty tough not to root for the guy who can pull off this spectacular launch in the afternoon:

This guy just stopped at the premier Fueling station a quick snack and off he went like a Boss!!

Posted by Ellsworth Lang on Tuesday, October 13, 2015

We asked Shane for his analysis:

Dave really threaded the needle.
I know maybe three people who could pull that launch off like that.

The air’s thinner, he has to run 5mph faster just to get off the ground, his climb angle was not steep enough to climb out straight so he foot-dragged the entire truck stop because he had to. It was the only way it could be done.

He’s carrying 50pounds worth of shit, at that altitude, with that size wing.
That is really, really good.
— Shane Denherder, Race Referee


The crucial difference between the two is their race category. As a member of Race Class, David has to fly unsupported and carry everything he needs on his person. Fisch self-selected into Adventure class and has his own support van which can provide him with spares, food and fuel en-route. That's if support driver and girlfriend, Teddi, can get to him:

She actually got a speeding ticket today trying to keep up with me.
— Fisch

It's the end of the day, and our two frontrunners are enjoying some pizza.

Meanwhile, in the rest of the Adventure Class, Hans finally clocked some time in the air as did Ky whose kit finally arrived and he breezed through his qualifying flight. At the end of the day he had landed out somewhere quite random after a lengthy detour to avoid some restricted airspace and been taken in by a local family. He also met their cow when he landed, and didn't hit her. 

Don also landed in a field and made some new friends in Bob and Barbara: "I was in a big fog bank, I saw a field so I spiraled down and really lucked out. When I left they called after me 'Drop in again.'"

Mr Tom? He’s awesome. It’s adorable he hasn’t planned anything at all. But he follows all the rules and he’s doing everything right.
— Shane


Tune in tomorrow after sunrise PST. We reckon someone's going to finish this thing. 

My plan? Get in the air. I’m gassed up ready to go
— David

It's going to be a corker. 

If you think you could be a contender for the crown next year, or want to join the flying hobos in Adventure Class, applications are open for the 2016 Icarus Trophy.

The first 10 pilots to sign up will get in for the 2015 entry fee.

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