Bristol balloonist Clive Bailey's international competition is over
Bristol balloonist Clive Bailey's international competition is over after he had to land last night.
Mr Bailey had been competing in a GB team in the America's Challenge Balloon Race, with last year's winner Jon Mason.
At 10.11pm last night they had to land their gas balloon Lady Britannia just south of Evansville in Kentucky, due to rain coming in over night.
Their team say they have had an "amazing flight" over from Albuquerque right across New Mexico, Texas, Oklahoma, Kansas and finally Kentucky.
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The pair had been flying in the balloon since 1.31am on Sunday night, launching from the biggest balloon fiesta in the world at Albuquerque.
They flew a distance of 1,054 miles - which is often a distance that could have won the race.
It currently looks like they will take fourth place if the other three balloons continue flying.
The two men have survived temperatures of minus 20C and yesterday were on oxygen for most of the day as they flew at over 12,000 ft.
David Hempleman-Adams, who has been in flight control for Clive Bailey, has spoken to the British team at regular intervals throughout the flight from the HQ just outside Bath.
He said: “We are especially proud of Clive and Jon given the competition they faced.
"They have had an exciting and stunning flight but it was a flight that was hard work and importantly ended with a good and safe landing. What an achievement for Clive as it’s his first Gas Balloon Race.”
Speaking on a phone from the landing site Mr Bailey said: “We had to land before dark and this seemed a good place to land.
"We had a truly spectacular flight with amazing views over different states of the USA - incredible.
"Mike and Ron, the retrieve crew turned up shortly after landing and we all are sorting out the balloon. At least I know I was taught well as my gas balloon instructor Willi Eimers who is still flying in balloon number 2, but there’s always next time!”