$20,000.00 prize money up for grabs this coming weekend but to be in with a chance you have got to be able to cover the three-quarters of a mile course length at man-power only speeds of up to 160 km/h, oh and at the start of the race you need to jump off a 900-foot cliff at the summit of Tianmen Mountain (Heavans Gate), Zhangjiajie, in northwestern Hunan Province, China.
Wingsuit racing of course!
Wingsuits are nothing new – with origins as far back as the 1930s. But it was really the 21st century before things started happening. In 1999, Fin Jari Kuosma, and Croatian Robert Pečnik, created the first wingsuit that was safe enough to offer to the public. Bird-Man International Ltd was born. Matter already established around skydiving was the next player who got up to speed by 2002. Since then Phoenix Fly brought suits to market from 2004 and JiiWings from 2005, a raft has been filling since.
As to saying when and where the first wingsuit races took place may require some digging – nothing immediately apparent springs up when Googling. But as to where the sport is going; the World Wingsuit League WWL was founded this year and aims to bring together the best pilots in a contest to find the fastest man on the planet – well above it anyway.
It begins this coming weekend, 13th and play at online casinos 14th of October, with 16 pilots and a venue somewhere above Zhangjiajie, and unless there have been any changes, that I am not aware of, those taking part will be:
- James Boole (UK)
- Julian Boulle (South Africa)
- Jeb Corliss (USA)
- Jon Devore (USA)
- Livia Dickie (New Zealand)
- Espen Fadnes (Norway)
- Jhonathan Florez (Colombia)
- Roberta Mancino (Italy)
- Chris “Douggs” McDougall (Australia)
- Jeff Nebelkopf (USA)
- Joby Ogwyn (USA)
- Robert Pecnik (Croatia)
- Jokke Sommer (Norway)
- Michael Swanson (USA)
- Tony Uragallo (UK)
- Ludovic Woerth (France)
Here is an appertizer:
So who are the contenders: in an interview on the WWL site Jeb Corliss had this tip:
Espen has the best shot as far as I am concerned. He has the most experience with racing wing-suits and he is just super talented .He will be the man to beat.
World Wingsuit League Rider Profile: Espen Fadnes
Watching espen’s video you might have heard him mention the French man: Ludovic Woerth
World Wingsuit League Rider Profile: Ludovic Woertz
Ludovic is another preaching for Espen.
This sport is just to macho; what about the glamour? – O.K. check her out!
World Wingsuit League Rider Profile: Roberta Mancino
Roberta’s money is on Tony Uragallo
World Wingsuit League Rider Profile: Joby Ogwyn
World Wingsuit League Rider Profile: Jokke Sommer
For more about the Athletes and the rules
Now watch these vidz again.
If it’s the technical stuff you want to know I would just be the blind over-excited guy leading the blind – so just watch the vidz again and again.
Actually if you do want to know something more technical but without to much jargon or depth you could do worse than starting on Wikipedia. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wingsuit_flying
Want to take part next year – forget it – its definitely not amateur week. These guys have amassed huge jump counts and they are the Olympians of this extreme event.
Want to take it up with realistic ambition – yes sure that can be done – but still you need to be a competent skydiver first.
Just don’t wait to long though or life will just shoot on by.