Chi-Kyong Ha from South Korea has withdrawn from the Red Bull X-Alps before it has even started, citing financial reasons.
The 42 year old pilot, known as Hachi in competition circles, had completed the X-Alps before – coming 14th in 2015.
A Gin Gliders test pilot, he recently came first in the South Korean Nationals, again earning himself a place on the national team. In competition he flies a Gin Boomerang 11.
Organisers announced his withdrawal from the Red Bull X-Alps on Monday 26 June, just four days before the one-day warm-up race, the Prologue, in Fuschl am See. No reason was given for his withdrawal.
However, Hachi said it was down to finances. Taking part in the X-Alps is an expensive business – some teams have quoted $30,000 for a six week campaign involving international air fares, training, vehicle hire, team expenses and the competition itself.
Hachi said: “It’s down to sponsorship problems. It’s not easy for pilots from Asia [to take part] because of the money.”
He added: “I am really sorry for my fans. But if I have the chance I will try again. I am sad I can’t join everyone this time, and I wish all pilots success, and safe flights in the competition.”
With Hachi gone, there are now 31 pilots in the race which starts on 2 July 2017 in the centre of Salzburg.
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