Icarus X RSA Race Preview
May 9, 2019
Next weekend the skies over the Eastern Free State will be buzzing with South Africa’s elite paramotorists. Here’s a reminder of where they’re flying and a look at who might win the Race Division trophy.
The route starts 17th May at Bethlehem Aerodrome and ends 350 kilometers later at Claren’s Golf Estate after compulsory checkpoints at Aldam, Ladybrand and Ficksburgh. Along the way it skims the Lesotho border and passes over the Golden Gate National Park.
The Adventure Division pilots will launch in the smooth air about an hour after sunrise at 0700, with Race division giving chase at 1400. The racecourse closes on the 18th May at 1815hrs.
Who’s going to win?
The big news is that reigning Icarus Trophy and Icarus X 2018 champion Alard Hufner isn’t able to defend his crown. This will no doubt cause a sigh of relief from the other Race Division pilots. But who’s going to take that crown?
The obvious benefactor of Alard’s absence is Eugene Cussons, Eugene came second in both the Icarus X and Icarus Trophy. Eugene has been flying PPG for the last 7 years and was a fixed wing pilot for 15 years before that. He’s also a test pilot and in the XC race team for Nirvana paramotors.
Also in contention is Les Johnston. Les has close to 400 hours of paramotoring under his belt and his kit and experience favours cross country flying. Les has also come from fixed wing and mircrolight flying and has moved to PPG because “it is the closest you can get to total freedom in the air”.
The last pilot we tip for success is Nic Petropoulos. Not only a veteran of the Icarus X and Icarus Trophy last year, Nic also designed the course for this year’s race. Will this inside knowledge coupled with 10 years of experience give him the edge?
In addition to the Race Division pilots there will be a number of pilots, not looking to be the first to finish, but instead aiming to complete the whole course seeing and experiencing as much as the race offers them. While their task might look easier, their stories by the end will be no less impressive.
You can see the current list of pilots on the Icarus website, the tracking will be live on @icarustrophy twitter and the live tracking map. If you’re anywhere near South Africa and you think you’ve got what it takes there’s still time to signup. If you’re in the UK fear not, the X series is coming to our shores on the 21st & 22nd June, signup for that here.