Icarus X UK 2019 Race Preview
June 7, 2019
After the weather won the Icarus X 3 times last year, the weekend version of the world’s toughest air race is back in Blighty. With a new course and some familiar faces at the start line, here’s the race preview.
The start and finish are open to the public, which is the perfect chance for armchair fans and aspiring pilots to get a piece of the action and meet the pilots over a beer at the finish line.
Friday 21st June 2019
14:00 – Pilot Briefing
16:00 – Race Launch
21:30 – Course closure (sunset)
Saturday 22nd June
05:00 – Course opens (sunrise)
18:30 – Dinner & drinks
19:30 – Prizewinning & party
Sunday 23rd June
Contingency day/ Informal fly in
Start: Orchard Park Farm 51.090930,-2.592101
Checkpoint 1: Exmoor 51.216532, -3.827236 (Land and collect stamp)
Checkpoint 2: Prawle Point, South Devon 50.203460, -3.721646 (Aerial turn point take a photo)
Checkpoint 3: East Knoyle 51.089237, -2.170727 (Land and collect stamp)
Finish: Orchard Park Farm 51.090930,-2.592101
Approx 230 miles
This course is a cracker, taking in National Parks, Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty, and the World Heritage Jurassic Coast.
The race begins at Orchard Park Farm, just outside Shepton Mallet, Somerset. From there it goes west to the hilly moorland of Exmoor National Park, Devon. Pilots land here, get their race card stamped before heading south the length of Devon, over the high ground of Dartmoor to Prawle Point, where they take a photo as they turn. Our eager dot watchers at HQ will also be watching closely to spot any sneaky short cut taking.
After this, they skirt the Jurassic Coast, enjoying (hopefully) smooth sea air before heading north-east to Checkpoint three, East Knoyle in Wiltshire. They land again for a second stamp, before the final leg west to the finish line, back at Orchard Park Farm, to a heroes welcome.
The eagle eyed amongst you may have noticed that a significant portion of the third leg goes over the Channel.
Fear not we’re not asking the pilots to risk an unpleasant engine out over water so this leg is strictly overland only, skirting the sea all the way round. Any pilots taking the direct route will be disqualified with our dot watchers paying special attention during this section.
So who will win the third UK Icarus X?
The bookies choice would be Mark Morgan sealing a 3rd consecutive win. Of course there are no certainties in paramotoring, especially after champion Alard Hufner only came third in the Icarus X South Africa last month.
Possibly the most experienced pilot after Mark is Icarus X newcomer Robert Ferraro of Spain. Robert has clocked over 900 hours of paramotoring, having been in the sport for a staggering 20 years. In this time Mr Ferraro has not only taught people all over Europe and South America but has also launched his own paramotoring brand Wasp PPG.
Another contender for the 2019 title is professional pilot Blaise Brogan. Blaise flies for FlySpain, UK Airsports and ParamotorStuff and has about 750 hours of paramotoring in his 10 year career including an 800km XC trip through Oman. Flying is definitely in his blood with a father formerly in the SAS and a mother who was a Flying Doctor. Blaise is sponsored by Miniplane.
Other pilots to look out for are: Local boy Terry Brennan, who has unsuccessfully chased Mark Morgan on the first two Icarus X UK races. Dark horse Andy Place, who only learnt to fly last year but is the only pilot here who has taken on the Icarus Trophy. ‘Paranoob‘ Paul Mockford, who recently raised over £2,000 by flying over 40 RAF bases in a 263 mile, 2 day marathon for the RAF association.
How to follow?
The best way to follow the action is down at Orchard Park Farm, there is camping in the field next to the start line and you’ll be in the perfect place to cheer the pilots across the finish line. If you’re unable to come down you can get all the race updates on the Live Tracking Map, Icarus Trophy Twitter Page and the Icarus Trophy Facebook Page.
If you’d rather participate, than spectate, there’s still time to sign up. Head over to the Icarus X website to get your chance for glory.
In case you were wondering if you should throw your hat in the ring, here are the photo highlights of the 2017 Icarus X.
2017 Icarus X photos by Sophie Bolesworth