The team behind the hot air balloon of lingerie-maker Gossard has secured the top spot in the UK rankings and guaranteed itself a coveted place at the European Championships next September, after scooping its first British win in Cambridge.
Led by Bristol-born pilot Andrew Holly, Team Gossard competed at the week-long Championships in Cambridgeshire. The competition scores a total of 18 different flying tasks over four competitive flights. Despite windy, changeable conditions,
Team Gossard flew to a convincing victory, scoring almost 1,000 more points than the squad who took second place overall.
The Gossard balloon is adorned with 40ft figures of Elle Liberachi modelling the brand’s best-selling Egoboost bra and is the only one of its kind in the UK.
It has reportedly been dubbed the ‘Formula 1 of hot air balloons’ thanks to its extreme racing features, which helped to secure this latest victory against rivals who, between them, hold 11 UK national titles.
The bespoke Gossard balloon was recently banned from appearing at the FAI World Balloon Championships, after being labeled too risqué for American tastes.
Newly-ranked UK number one pilot Andrew Holly said: “We are delighted to be crowned British champions and in turn guarantee our place in the European Championships next year.
“Despite Elle being banned from the US last month, we were welcomed to the British Championships and braved some very windy and tricky flying conditions to secure a great result. We’re sure that Elle was working hard for us too, helping to distract our rival pilots.”
Gossard managing director Tony Jarvis said: “This is fantastic news and demonstrates the over-whelming impact Elle is having on the hot air balloon circuit since her maiden flight just three months ago. We are so proud of Andrew and the team for this – the first of many victories.”
The championships test a number of skills across the 18 scored tasks and the winning balloon is the one which most successfully uses the varying wind at different heights to navigate towards pre-defined targets.
The best result of the week for Team Gossard was a score of just 1m 7cm between the marker and the target, having taken off from over 6km away. To make things more complicated, the target was only valid to score for five minutes, meaning as well as ‘sailing’ the winds to the target, the team had to calculate wind speeds in order to arrive at exactly the right time.
The win follows a recent victory in Team Gossard’s inaugural competitive appearance at the Monregalese Trophy, one of Italy’s biggest balloon competitions.
The Gossard balloon, registration G-SSRD, will now head to Poland for the pre-European Championships.To follow the Gossard balloon’s journey visit Gossard’s Facebook page, or Twitter @GossardUK.