Gossard’s award winning hot air balloon has controversially been banned from the FAI World Balloon Championships, which take place later this month in the United States.
The ban has been imposed by competition organisers due to its decorative 40ft images of Gossard’s Elle Liberachi modelling the best-selling ‘Egoboost’ bra.
Just two weeks before the World Championships were due to get underway, regulators decided that the Gossard creation was ‘simply too sexy’ to compete.
The banned Gossard balloon will still be exhibited at the Bristol Balloon Fiesta, from 9-12 August 2012.
Gossard managing director Tony Jarvis said: “We are disappointed by the decision not to let us compete at the World Championships. Of course we expect the balloon to cause a bit of a stir as it travels the world, but we hoped organisers would welcome our glamorous addition to their line-up, as the Bristol Balloon Fiesta has.
“There’s no doubt the Gossard balloon is attention-grabbing, so perhaps its potential to distract other balloon pilots went against us. Although, the decision could be as much about what the balloon is capable of – after all, it is the only one of its kind in the UK, and Team Gossard is the new kid on the block. We’re just thrilled Bristol crowds will get the chance to see what America is missing out on.”
The unique racing balloon – dubbed the ‘Formula 1 of hot air balloons’ by its makers Exclusive Ballooning – has reportedly been a huge hit across Europe since its launch, raising a smile among thousands of spectators.
Andrew Holly, managing director of Exclusive Ballooning and pilot of the 90ft craft, said: “It is a huge shame that we have to go to the States without this balloon. It’s a fantastic sight to behold and would have thrilled audiences at the Championships – not only because it is visually stunning but also because of the incredible speeds it reaches in the air.
“We won’t be deterred though – we’ve got our sights firmly set on upcoming events, including Bristol, which we hope will be a bit more welcoming of Elle and Team Gossard.”
The official hot air balloon race squad – called Team Gossard – has already reaped success, taking gold at its inaugural competition, last month, by scooping the Monregalese Trophy in Italy. The win made history for Bristol-born Andrew Holly, as the first person to ever win all three of Italy’s major ballooning championships.
Team Gossard also took a coveted silver medal in last week’s Coupe D’Europe competition in France. A total of 35 balloons competed, with Gossard as the sole British entrant, only narrowly missing the top spot.
The Gossard balloon, registration G-SSRD, will be on show at the Bristol Balloon Fiesta, after which it embarks on a schedule of UK and international events throughout the season, including the week-long British National Championships in Cambridgeshire.