Gossard is flying high after its official hot air balloon race squad – called Team Gossard – beat off rivals at a major ballooning competition in Italy to bring home the winning trophy.
Team Gossard led the extreme racing balloon – the only one of its kind in the UK – to victory in its first competitive appearance at the Monregalese Trophy, one of Italy’s biggest balloon competitions.
Poor weather in the UK had disrupted the team’s training schedules, meaning the international contest was just the second time the balloon had been in the sky since its June launch at Gossard’s Nottingham HQ.
The balloon, piloted by Bristol-born Andrew Holly, took the lead from the first task and never let it slip during two days of intense ballooning. The contest involved accuracy flying to a target several miles away and tactical flying at height for a maximum distance.
A total of six scoring tasks were achieved, with Team Gossard winning three of them and notching up over 5,000 points, almost 800 points clear of second and third-placed Italian pilots.
Andrew Holly is managing director of Gloucestershire-based Exclusive Ballooning, which made and operates the bespoke Gossard creation. It is adorned with 40ft images of Elle Liberachi, modelling the lingerie-maker’s best-selling Egoboost bra.
He said: "The balloon looks absolutely incredible in the sky and we were reliant on Elle to distract the other competitors for us!
“This was a particularly satisfying coup for Team Gossard because we didn’t have the opportunity to train beforehand. We started well by winning both of the first accuracy tasks, and to then hold on to the lead throughout the event is great.
“Our next big competition is the European Cup, which is in France in two weeks, and with the continued support from Gossard we would love to come back with another medal!”
The Monregalese Trophy success makes history for Andrew Holly, as the first person to ever win all three of Italy’s major ballooning championships.
Gossard managing director Tony Jarvis said: “We’re absolutely thrilled Team Gossard won gold in Italy. It’s a fantastic achievement.
“We’ve now got a number of big events to look forward to, including the Bristol Balloon Fiesta in August, and we’re hopeful the Gossard balloon will cause the same kind of stir and have similar success.”
The Gossard balloon, registration G-SSRD, will embark on a schedule of UK and international events and ballooning festivals throughout the season, including the week-long British National Championships, Cambridgeshire, USA, Poland and France.
To follow its journey, visit Gossard’s Facebook page or Twitter @GossardUK.