Marcus King reports on the start of this 289km adventure race through the French Alps
Bleary eyed competitors gathered on the north launch at St Hilaire this morning, 21 June, for the start of the 2011 St Hil’Airtour.
With cameras clicking and even a helicopter buzzing the takeoff filming the race started at 8.15 am with a Le Mans style start. The racers had to run from the side of the launch mat round a flag and up to their waiting assistants who handed them their sacks. They then raced off up the hill.
The forecast for today is for strengthening southwest winds so it looks like most people will head north first. It is a beautiful sunny day here in St Hilaire but we have had reports that winds on the Dents de Crolles, the large cliffs above town, are already too strong to launch.
Some pilots have still decided to walk up there in the hope of launching high. Others are walking up the slope to just below the cliffs to launch while another group including Charlie King are walking along the plateau to another takeoff further north to make use of some of the day. Still more pilots are waiting at launch for conditions to improve while some have flown to the valley floor and are walking north.
You can follow all the pilots live at www.airtour.fr
Report by Marcus King
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