The last weekend of June sees the launch of the 3rd UK Icarus X series. This sellout cross-country paramotoring adventure is the biggest Icarus X yet, with a knee-quivering 30 confirmed pilots.
There is one gigantic question on everyone's lips however...who's going to win? Is the unfaltering Mark Morgan going to carry the X Trophy home again, or will someone finally manage to steal his crown?
Let's meet some of the pilots.
Wing: Dudek Nucleon XX 22 (Water - Yellow, Blue, Green)
Paramotor: Bulldog Polini Thor 110
Andy has been flying Paramotors for 7 years with +/- 300 flights logged. Last year he took part in his first Icarus X in which he snagged the Adventure Class Trophy. He says taking part gave him more confidence flying long distance. You can read about it here.
This year Andy has been getting advance sorted with a better solution to the camping kit than last year. He's hoping he might get some sleep this time around.
You can find Andy's social links and the like over on his website
Wing: Sky Zorro, black and orange
Paramotor: Vittorazi Moster 185 Factory mounted in a Flattop frame
Class: Race Class
Flying Experience: Flying since August 2010. Initial CSE with Paul Axbey - AXB Sports. 250+ hrs in the UK, Lake districted, Dartmoor, ETC
100% in it to win after last year's terrible start. In 2017 Terry crashed after hitting rotor, sinking and using to much power trying to climb out of the problem. He broke the propeller, punctured the fuel tank and damaged some of the ancillaries for the race, he then had to withdraw. Terrance hopes to give two-time champion Mark a good run for his money "Inshallah".
Wing: Dudek Nucleon xx, blue with purple flash
Paramotor: Air Conception Nitro 200
Flying experience: Wayne has been paragliding for 12 years and paramotoring for 2 years
Wing: Ozone, Roadster 2, Red,White and Orange
Paramotor: Pollini Thor 190 (currently in bits) on a red zenith frame
Flying experience: 2 years but very low number of flights (bugger all basically)
Richard is a serial adventurist, having completed not just the 2016 UK Icarus X, but also the Mongol Rally, Rickshaw Run and Ice Run.
Wing: Mk1 Speedster 28m, Blue & green
Paramotor: Parajet V2 with a Bailey V5S motor
"I found paramotoring after seeing some random fly from his local park to a McDonalds, and thought ‘Oh, I’m definitely going to do that’. This was August 2017, and by October I had started training with CM Paramotors in Market Harborough. A shitty winter followed, with my instructor and I grabbing two-hour windows here and there for damp and foggy ground-handling. It ended up taking 6 months to get to the point where I was ready to fly, and I documented everything on my YouTube channel. A Parajet V2/Bailey V5S and an Ozone Speedster soon followed and now I’m flying every chance I can get.
I became aware of The Adventurists and the Icarus Trophy when Tucker Gott entered the 2017 race in the western US. That was when I put the UK Icarus X on my calendar despite only having 2 soggy hours training at that point.
Cross-country was always the side of paramotoring that appealed most, so having someone else pick a 160 mile route and provide a BBQ party at the finish line is a dream come true.
I have a good engine for cross country, a wing build for comfort not speed, some cool tunes, and Trey German’s great tips on peeing inflight. I can’t fail."
You can follow Paul's video progress here: https://www.youtube.com/c/PARANOOB
Wing: Dudek Universal 1.1 (Air colours) Blue, White & yellow
Paramotor: Parajet Maveric
Steve has been flying years, starting out in paragliding then moving onto speedflying. He's had the chance to fly some of the most outrageous lines in the Alps with some of the world's best canopy handlers.
He's now been paramotoring for coming on 2 year and in that time has flown over some of the highest mountains in the UK and Ireland and is just back this summer from a flight border to border around the Northern Irish coastline.
Wing: Ozone Speedster 2 24m red/black/white/Yellow
Paramotor: Mac Fly with a Polini Thor 250
Flight experience: 10+ years, probably around 7-800 hours
Mark won the first UK Icarus X. He then went on to win the 2nd the second UK Icarus X. Can anyone stand in his way of doing the triple? Has he even got any space left on his mantlepiece?
Wing: BGD Luna 27
Paramotor: Maverick with Moster
Flight experience: As a child, Stefan was dreaming of flying, his first 'flight’ was when he was 10 years old when he build some plastic wings and tried to jump down from his grandfather’s shed roof. In hindsight he realises this was good practice for hard landings
In 2014 he had his first flight on a course with Airwork’s and after a year of free flight he made the step up to PPG.
Stefan has flown cross country in India over the Himalayan Mountains at Bir Billing.
Wing: Ozone Roader 2
Paramotor: Parajet Maverick, moster plus 185 engine
Class: Race Class
Flight experience: Icarus Trophy X UK 2016 and 2017, Icarus Trophy Africa Recce. Total flight experience about 100 hours
Simon is a long term supporter of The Adventurists who's more at home racing round the world yachts, than paramotors. He's swapped the waves for the skies and has just taken the step from Adventure Class to Race Class.
The 2018 Icarus X UK launches 29th June. You can follow all the action and updates over on the tracking page.