ALBUQUERQUE – A Swiss team has won the annual America’s Challenge gas balloon race, traveling the farthest and shattering previous distance records for the annual competition.
Based on tracking and landing coordinates provided by the team of Nicolas Tieche and Laurent Sciboz, their balloon covered 2,278 miles while aloft for nearly 60 hours. They landed in a remote area of Canada near the Newfoundland border after taking off Saturday from the Albuquerque International Balloon Festival in New Mexico.
The previous America’s Challenge record of 1,998 miles was set in 2000 by brothers David and Alan Levin. The Swiss team also beat the longest distance flown in the Coupe Aéronautique Gordon Bennett championship of nearly 2,113 miles set in 2005.
Eight teams competed in this year’s challenge.