The Icarus trophy paramotor adventure race will take place in southern Africa in 2018.
“This is the Icarus Trophy on steroids, adventure on a baobab stick”.
The race will be around 1,000 miles long, depending on the actual route chosen by participants. Pilots will start at Hartbeespoort near Johannesburg in South Africa on 25 July, and cross Botswana to finish in Zambia a few days later. Pilots have to land and cross borders on foot, and their passports will be checked for the appropriate stamps! More on the 2018 route here.
This year again there will be an Adventure Division (supported, no race element), and a Race Division (no designated supporter, but pilots can use ‘open access’ support- anything that the average person can access.
“Should they manage to charm total strangers into lending their assistance, that’s kosher. They cannot use help offered by friends, distant relatives, other pilots or the race team to further their progress.
“Probably the key part of any adventure is the adventurous bits. And that means setting out into the world and fending for yourself. Anything else becomes a bit less exciting. It starts to remove all the fun bits, like ‘where the hell will I sleep?’ or ‘what do I do now I’ve run out of fuel?’ And it starts to become a bit of a guided tour.”
All competitors must carry their own food, clothes and sleeping equipment (although if you land near a hotel it’s within the rules to use it) and basic paramotor spares. Competitors are tracked, and are sent regular weather reports. There’s also a support truck following just in case, although, “It will probably take a while to reach you if you land in the middle of the desert, so best pack some sandwiches”.
The eighth edition of the X-Berg Challenge will take place from 24-29 March 2020 with Extreme (three-day) and Mini (two-day) versions.
Paraglider pilots race mountain bikers and runners around turnpoints in the Drakensberg mountains of South Africa / Lesotho. The route distance depends which way you go, and typically only 10% of competitors make it to the finish of the Extreme Challenge.
2019’s Extreme winner was mountain biker Jon Kirkman who finished in 24 hours and 43 minutes; second in were biker team Justin Armstrong and Peter Joughin, a day later.
Between Heaven and Earth, who organise the event, are offering complete travel packages from Johannesburg International Airport to the 2020 X-Berg Challenge event, along with return transport, accommodation and add-on travel packages including trips to game reserves, Cape Town and Wilderness retreat.