Chrigel Maurer has won the Red Bull X-Alps for a record seventh time.
The 38-year-old Swiss pilot reached the raft in the lake at Zell am See, Austria, in a time of 8 days, 6 hours and 30 minutes, touching down at exactly 6pm local time on 28 June 2021. He was 130km ahead of the next pilot.
Chrigel started the morning near Bolzano in Italy with a 160km lead over his closest competitor and with another 160km to go until Zell am See. He was in the air by 9.45am and flew practically the whole day. He landed at Turnpoint 11 Kronplatz to check the turnpoint and sign the signboard, but quickly took to the sky again.
From there he experienced great conditions which allowed him to fly through he Austrian Alps above 3,000m. He flew over the Hohe Tauern national park and crossed the main Alpine ridge at the Felbertauern pass between the Grossglockner (3,798m and Austria’s highest peak) and Grossvenediger (3,666m).
From there it was an easy cross country flight to the final turnpoint above Zell am See. He touched down to a welcoming crowd, signed in and re-launched to fly down and execute a pinpoint landing on the raft.
The day’s flying almost had the relaxed air of a victory lap – the pressure was off, the real race having been won with his huge flight the day before.
However, nothing was guaranteed and Chrigel flew perfectly all the way to the end. His race stats for the day showed he had spent two-and-a-half hours hiking and seven hours flying.
Behind him, the race was also on again in the air. After their frustration on Day 8 the chasing group of pilots had excellent conditions as they flew the southern route. Simon Oberrauner, Maxime Pinot and Patrick von Känel all spent eight hours in the air and made the final turnpoint. Simon Oberrauner made the point they had flown the 160km leg in just four hours – a nod to what could have happened if the weather had been on the day before.
In Zell am See Red Bull X-Alps race organiser Ulrich Grill said the Chrigel legend had been “reinvented” yet again. “Again, Chrigel Maurer puts his stamp on Red Bull X-Alps 2021. For a moment we thought that the French may have finally cracked the hero’s winning series, until he struck back with one of his famous moves. Absolutely astonishing.”
He added: “We bow to the seven-time champion Chrigel the Eagle.”
The race should see more finishers later today. Pilots have until Friday to complete the course and establish their position on the results ladder.