The America's Challenge Gas Balloon Race was founded by the Balloon Fiesta in 1995 due to the vision and efforts of Mark Sullivan, former Balloon Fiesta President and recipient of the Montgolfier Diplome (one of ballooning's highest honors), who saw the need for America to be identified with the world's most prestigious ballooning sport.
The America’s Challenge Gas Balloon Race is modeled after the Coupe Aeronautique Gordon Bennett, but it differs from the older event in allowing balloons from all countries, without limits on the number of entries from each. The team that travels the longest distance wins.
Update 7:25 AM MDT (1325Z) Tuesday, October 10
The America’s Challenge Command Center has received word that Team 1, Albuquerque’s Peter Cuneo and Barbara Fricke, has landed safely near Brighton, VT.
Update 5:45 AM MDT (1145Z) Tuesday, October 10 (1145Z)
It’s breakfast time on the U.S. and Canadian East Coast, and the old America’s Challenge distance record is toast.
Update 7:00 PM MDT Monday, October 9 (0100Z Tuesday, October 10)
The Command Center has received word from Team 5, Wilhelm Eimers and Sebastian Eimers, that they made a safe landing south of Wausau, WI shortly before 6 PM MDT (0000Z) after a flight of 1,094 miles (1761 km).
Update 5:45 PM MDT (2345Z) Monday, October 9, 2017
The America’s Challenge leaders are approaching the 1,500-mile (2,414 km) mark, and having transited Lake Superior are over a remote area of southeastern Ontario and streaking towards Quebec at 58 mph (93 kph). Team 6 (Nicolas Tièche and Laurent Sciboz of Switzerland) has opened up about a 90-mile lead on their closest pursuers, Americans Peter Cuneo and Barbara Fricke of Albuquerque (Team 1).
Update 11:00 AM MDT (1700Z) Monday, October 9, 2017
The lead two America’s Challenge gas balloon teams have reached a major milestone -- the Great Lakes in their quest to win one of the greatest races in ballooning by traveling the greatest distance from the launch point in Albuquerque.