Icarus race takes off from Gloucester

Paramotoring pilot taking off from Gloucester airfield
Paramotoring pilot taking off from Gloucester airfield

The Australian Icarus X Series took off from the Gloucester Aeroclub on Friday, November 10 for a two day return race.

Around 12 pilots braved the wind and put their para-gliders in the air just after 4pm, as they headed north toward Walcha.

The race is a cross-country para-motoring challenge which involves a para-glider and a large motorised fan, allowing the pilots to launch from flat ground.

Some of the competitors were well seasoned pilots having taken on a race like this before, while many were new and competing for the first time.

Chris Sinclair from Sydney was one of the new pilots, having only started para-motoring 18 months ago. 

The race was started late in the day to ensure the pilots have to use the two days to complete the circuit. The first section was a 120 kilometre flight to the Walcha airport, before turning to the coast and flying another 120 kms to Wauchope, with a remaining 100 kms back to Gloucester.

The winner gets a free spot in the 1000km Icarus Trophy race in the United States.

Event organiser, Dan Wedgwood said this is a good event for pilots to get a taste of cross country endurance para-motoring.

“This race is an adventure in itself,” he said.

Pilots typically travel around 50 to 60 kms per hour with the motor on a calm day, but with wind like there was on Friday, that would be much faster, meaning pilots could have reached Walcha in around an hour according to paramotoring instructor, Dave Wainwright. 

There were two classes competing in the event; Race Class which does the journey unsupported, meaning the pilots has to carry everything they need for two days, and Adventure Class which is allowed support vehicle.