Icarus X Florida January 2018 - The Report

The first Icarus X Series race of the year is done. The winner nabbed themselves a spot on the Icarus Trophy proper later on in the year in Africa, and bucketloads of glory. Here's how it all panned out. 

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Day 3

And thusly, all that begins must come to an end. Today, the Icarus X Florida 2018 did precisely that.

Kind of.

For Jon. Not finishing was not an option.

Jon: Fought north and made it to the town of Archbold before the winds forced me to land next to a truck stop – in one word: raunchy.  That flight was draining and got scary just before I landed.

The winds look like shit for the rest of the day, so I’m having a van come pick me up so I can see your ugly faces at the awards ceremony...but I’m coming back here tomorrow to close this bitch out.

That right there, is what's known as a badass with the right attitude.

Johnson Qu was having a very minor radio issue.

Justin though, was there to offer kind words support and friendship to Johnson and the rest of the gang...

Nice level Johnson. So glad to meet all you fuckers and I really did enjoy my first Icarus X race even though I didn’t even get off the ground! See you guys next time
— Justin Booher

The final closing statement from Mr Shane said this:

Hey guys! Well the awards wrapped up at noon and everyone was in. good spirits and seemed happy. Such a great group of guys. Bryan Richards won the Race Trophy, and Joshua Gantt won the Spirit of Adventure Trophy. He’s actually the first person that I know of to complete any Icarus event unsupported in a trike so quite an accomplishment. It was a pleasure, and the team and I look forward to the next one. 

Thanks to you Mr Shane. Great work yet again. 

Our champs...

Congratulations once again Bryan, Joshua and all the other pilots.

Until next time folks.

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Day 2

A day of trials, tribulations, high winds and lots of sarcasm. Oh, and we had ourselves a winner of course... 

Paramotoring is a game of ups and downs. Literally speaking of course, but also metaphorically. It looked very much like Jon was going to romp home and snatch victory, but then on his fist take off of the day, fate struck a cruel blow, right to the nuts.

Blew a quarter-sized hole in my exhaust where my smoke line connects, headed to an auto parts store to find some wrap. Happened immediately after takeoff. Glad I decided to land and investigate instead of ignore the funny noise and press on
— Jon Eisele
 Ouch. Yes, you did Jon.

Ouch. Yes, you did Jon.

Being the caring supportive crew that they are, Justin came to the rescue. Or at least pretended to. It all began with a Justin posting this pic...

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Justin: Anyone need one of these? 

Jon: I know a guy

Justin: I’ll bring it to you but first I got to stop and see the ocean I’ve never seen it before

Not content with simply seeing the ocean, he then did some sightseeing, stopped for some beer and pizza and generally arsed about. We're pretty sure it was all in good-humoured jest. Either that, or he's a real bastard.

Thankfully Jon managed to get some tape and fix it. Albeit badly at first.

Twas a day of mechanical issues all around. Not content with Jon taking all the glory of shit royally hitting the fan, Joshua had issues of his own.

I have lost the seal where my fuel bladder connects, this is not good! Making a new O-ring
— Joshua Gantt

In true gentlemanly fashion, his fellow pilots were there for him.

Joshua, use your x-small condom. It will fit perfectly.
— Kirk Souder

In fact Kirk, upon witnessing all the carnage that his fellow pilots were battling against gave his own game plan a looking at.

Mmmm...I may go back to my first landing zone and get back in this game.
— Kirk Souder

Brave words from someone who initially dropped out as it was a bit chilly.

For poor old Jon, things went from bad to worse as he then struggled with throttle issues when his linkage broke. It didn't look like it was going to be his day after all.

At one point Justin got excited, thinking that Jon and Joshua had gotten moving again, but it just tuned out that Jon had gone to the shops and had forgotten to turn off his GPS.

Joshua did get back in the air, and squealed like a little girl at one point.

I just flew with an eagle!
— Joshua Gannt

Nice.

 Joshua flying overhead. We don't see any eagles. Maybe he's been on the gin.

Joshua flying overhead. We don't see any eagles. Maybe he's been on the gin.

All the mechanical failures took their toll. They were dropping like flies. Nothing catastrophic, but all time consuming stuff. One chap, however, had a clear run, and battled the fierce winds that had grounded many to reach the finish line and become Icarus X Series Florida January 2018 champion. Please doff your hats to Mr Bryan Richards.

Well played sir, well played indeed.

His fellow pilots found themselves accommodation for the night, tinkered with their engines and hunted for beer and warm food.

The final slap to the chops for Jon came when he landed in a place with a high concentration of pubs - win. Though it came to light he'd left his wallet in Justin's truck earlier whilst out shopping for parts - fail.

Tomorrow will hopefully see good weather and the rest of the pilots making it to the finish so they can all party together and share their tales. Spinning them wildly no doubt so that eagles turn to dragons, holes in exhausts morph into falling from 10,000ft and Bryan finishing the course in just under 8 minutes.

We tried to get some stories out of Mr Shane, but got this response...

Sorry we were stuffing down the pylons. Now we’re stuffing down margaritas

That is extremely fair enough. 

Until tomorrow then...

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Day 1

They had their kit. They had the guts. They had their best steely glares. They sadly weren't wearing their woolly vests their nans knitted them though. The cold it seems was one of the largest obstacles during the first day of flying.

First though, they had pre-race tracker training, a route briefing and, of course, they had to get into the air.

Annoyingly for Jeremy (Jay) Langegans, getting in the air wasn't quite enough as he took off from the start line and went in completely the wrong direction. Showing great disregard for the waypoints and common sense. Oops-a-daisy. He eventually realised his mistake, and turned around to head back to base to refuel and give it another crack. Good man.

The thing with being up so high, is that it's rather chilly.

I landed just short of the turnpike due to icicles on my testicles. My kneecaps are playing a drum solo. Mad respect to you cold weather flyers!
— Kirk Souder

Florida native Kirk struggled with the temperatures the most it seems. So much so that he sadly had to throw in the towel. He was okay, but frozen.

Not everyone seemed to be struggling as much as Kirk though.

This is a tropical paradise compared to Nebraska. Should’ve brought my shorts
— Bryan Richards

Joshua Gantt didn't have the best of luck either. After making a strong start and smashing through around 70 miles, he hit an issue. He put 2.9 gal of petrol in his tank, added oil, but didn’t mix it well enough before attempting to take off. Oil got sucked into the carb starving the motor. He worked on it, cleared the fuel line and got it running again in true Icarus spirit. 

Will give it some more love in a bit, and leave out of here in the AM!
— Joshua Gantt

Jon Eisele and Bryan Richards are our current frontrunners as everyone stopped for the night. they were neck and neck for a long time, though Jon took a lead later in the day and is in a good position for a win as long as he doesn't bugger it up. Bryan still has a chance, but he'll need to fly hard and not make any mistakes.

Due to the nature of the event, pilots very often have to sleep where they land. This caused all sorts of fun. Particularly for Jon who found a lovely place to sleep, plus a tasty midnight snack.

I think I can hear an alligator outside my tent. Might have to cut it open and sleep inside of it like in Star Wars. I hope it’s racoons... but I’m too scared to look.
— Bryan Richards
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More of an actual pilot than an armchair pilot? Jolly good. You can sign up for future Icarus X events by hitting this button.

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