Day 3 as seen through the eyes of Katy Willings, Icarus Trophy Event Manager. She's the centre for logistics and updates during the race. Here's her expert take on the third day with the Race Division:
We are at Salmon, Idaho, where Dave, Miro and Byron spent the night Monday. Miro landed a couple of minutes before Dave, which would technically make him the leader overnight. All three pilots made it out to a bar in town and we stopped in to say hi. The barmaid was regaling us with excellent banter and macaroni cheese. Apparently there is one paramotor pilot in the town who likes to drop sweets over the school playing fields for the kids, so they all assume that everyone who flies is an Easter Bunny type figure. Naturally, they were bitterly disappointed with the showing from our Icarus pilots. Expect the next pilots to fly through here to get stoned with jolly ranchers from ground level Candy Flak.
Anyway. This morning, true to form, Byron was up and away with apparently little effort in the half light of dawn. After a Herculean sprint down the runway Dave followed him.
Good God - quite how is he going to launch at 6000 feet is unclear. That high pitched prop he has elected for just doesn't give him any lift. Dave is planning to race on, as far and fast as he can in relatively benign conditions today. He's keenly aware that Scotty Duncan, languishing way north in Evaro after that unfortunate piston blow-up shenanigans, will be back under wing shortly and chasing hard to take the Race Division Trophy.
Byron, meanwhile, is flying from hot spring to hot spring on some kind of death-defying spa break odyssey. He has already landed at the suspiciously leisurely sounding "Challis Hot Springs Road"...expect more hot tub selfies imminently.
The real story of today is from Miro: he blew a couple of launches in the moments after Dave launched. The wing didn't seem to come up over his head with much zip. He took a breather and then set up again, in a different direction following the shifts of the wind. Then he tried to fan his wing into life using the prop. This is a neat little trick apparently, but it does carry the risk of sucking the lines and the canopy into the propeller and mashing it all. Normally you'd want to warm up your engine facing your wing. Tragically, that's exactly what he did. We watched in horror as the centre of his canopy got chewed through his propeller. There's a fat tear right in the centre, on the leading edge, exactly where you'd want maximum tension on the wing, if flying were your thing. He slumped on the tarmac and examined his equipment. There is no way he can repair the wing with duct tape, it's damaged in too critical a position.
He was amazingly stoical about what looks like the end of his race. He even offered me some grape brandy as he dolefully got his hipflask out. The only way he can fly out of here is to take another wing. We can carry his spare parts and access to them is free within the rules of the Icarus Trophy (click here for more details on the Race vs Adventure Division) but sadly he has not brought a spare wing.
A silver lining - Nick, our videographer's roadie, has volunteered his. Amusingly Nick's Viper 2, 24m (a larger and older version of Miro's, but he should be able to fly it) is emblazoned with Parajet. Miroslav is a designer and distributor for rival manufacturer Scout. So it would be a bit like sleeping with the enemy, but this would allow him to carry on.
Should he take this offer, he's no longer be eligible to win the Race Division trophy, but he will join his comrades in Adventure Division and be eligible for that trophy. In true Adventurist spirit that's what he's intending to do, and he's out on the tarmac setting up Nick's wing as I write this. God Speed.