What is the Icarus X?
There will be four Icarus X events in the run-up to the mighty Icarus Trophy this September. All four follow the same basic format; a looped A-B-C-A route of around 200 miles, designed to get the might-be Trophy Pilot dried behind the ears, bloodied of the nose, and ready to take on the main event, or at least knowing what homework he or she has to do. It's too far to complete in a day which means pilots must stay out overnight and consider their survival kit, their refuelling options, their XC strategy, their equipment strategy. The rules will mirror those of the main Icarus, meaning that Adventure Class pilots can freestyle a little and get as much or as little flying and back-up as they like. Meanwhile, in the Race Class, pilots are scrutinised closely and can only advance forward by means of flight, with no pre-arranged support - the fastest pilot home wins their place on the main trophy, and a place in the (soon to be coveted) ITX Hall of Fame. Live tracking means Adventure-Mums and Paramotor-Widows can follow the action along with the race directors, and the pilots can head out into the wilderness knowing that if it all goes tits up they have a line of communications with HQ and we will notice.
All this in a friendly fly-in format, meaning that cautious pilots or newbies can come and watch and fly round the launch field, or learn about the sport, whilst eating salt and fat-laden produce from a mobile catering van, and applaud the winged warriors as they head out, and return, through the pylons of destiny.
The Great British Version
Pilots will launch from picturesque Somerton, Somerset, the ancient capital of Wessex, equidistant between Glastonbury and Yeovil.
Heading north west towards the Devon coast they will fly some 80km, over Exmoor National Park, to the first checkpoint at the Valley of the Rocks, where they'll have to land and collect a stamp at the designated windsock.
Once airborne again they'll head south west towards Bodmin Moor and the second checkpoint at St Breock, Cornwall, a distance of c. 110km taking in the spectacular Cornish coastline.
After a second landing and stamp collection they'll race home to Somerset cutting a path around the restricted airspaces around Exeter and Taunton, and taking in the majestic Dartmoor National Park from the skies. The last leg will be the longest, some 170km, making for a total route of 340kms, or 200 miles. All pilots are expected to be out overnight, and to make multiple fuel stops en route, turning this into a strategic and endurance, as well as a flying and navigation, challenge.
Who's running this thing?
The Race Committee will consist of Mr Katy and Mr Kester - you can find out more about them here. We'll be scrutinising the route, the flying times and the airspace adherence of all of the pilots, and making sure the winner of the race class is truly the first past the post, having flown the whole course, assistance free. We'll be briefing the pilots the evening before, pointing out salient weather, nav and equipment considerations and showing pilots the tracker communication protocols we expect during the race. We'll also gather the best stories from the field to crown the winner of the Adventure Division, since this trophy is awarded for banter rather than speed or even skill.
There will be a proper knees up at the launch and finish location, with camping, catering, bar, a gaggle of Adventurists to entertain plus-ones and interested spectators, and (whisper it) posh toilets. We'll have a proper social on the Thursday night after pilot briefing and registration, and a lively prizegiving and party on Saturday night, assuming a quorum of pilots make it in by then. Our chums from SkySchool will be in residence all weekend offering some taster skill sessions, including ground handling, towing, even tandem flights, to get your nearest and dearest off the ground and addicted to this most eccentric and excellent of pastimes. So bring your mates, your pets (as long as they won't chase sheep) and your tents. The Adventurists Fly-In will be worth coming down for.
Order of play
Friday 7th July - 12 Noon pilot briefing. Compulsory for all signed-up pilots. 2pm launch, conditions permitting. Racing hours are until sunset. During the racing day the race committee will be giving regular updates and commentary, and the live tracking of the event will be available on the Adventurists website. For the more relaxed spectator there will be paramotor skills development with Sky School, tandem flights (£50 cash payable directly to Sky School on the day), a BBQ and a bar.
Saturday 8th July - Sunrise launch, conditions permitting. Racing hours are sunrise to sunset. all pilots expected home. Daytime activities as Friday. Prizegiving, interviews and photos once pilots in and safe.
Sunday 9th July - contingency day in case of poor weather Friday/Saturday. Pilots not back at the start by 3pm Sunday will be grounded, summoned and commiserated. We have to get back to work sadly. So do you probably. Site will close 3pm Sunday.
How to get involved
Whether you're flying or spectating, or just camping in a field for the weekend and not talking to anybody, you need to click this button and sign up.
Pilots for both Adventure and Race class pay £150, and for that they get comprehensive pre-race briefing, live tracking, t-shirt, finish line beers, a shot at a beautiful trophy to keep, and if they win the race class, a free spot on the Icarus Trophy itself, the mother of all aerial gauntlets, from Glacier to Vegas in September 2017. That's a whopping $2,200 worth of prize pot.
Camping fees will be £20 per pitch for the weekend. We reckon a pitch is a car plus a tent, or a camper van. We need you to register so we have a rough idea how many are coming, and how much bacon to order. All pilots and spectators will need to sign a disclaimer from the landlord upon arrival, and all pilots will need to observe certain safety and common sense protocols for the launch field. These will be available to read at the registration tent, and we will go over them at the pilot briefing on Thursday night.