The world's toughest air race-the Icarus Trophy

The world's toughest air race just got even tougher. The 2018 Icarus Trophy will cross the skies of Africa. The Icarus Trophy is a whole new breed of air race. Its man and machine vs the skies. We set it up to be the toughest thing you could do with a paramotor and by the gods does it deliver.

This is a near 1000 mile adventure air race where pilots fly across some of the most challenging terrain on the planet.

The 2018 Course - Africa-More of a Un-Course

The Icarus Trophy is not like any other air race. We don't want to give you a carefully marked GPS line. That stops being tough or an adventure and starts to be just a little bit boring. So on the Icarus we define a huge area for you to plan your routes and get lost in.

In 2018 we are upping the adventure stakes as the Icarus Trophy is beginning its epic wander around the globe.

We're heading to Southern Africa. It will be a near 1000 mile aerial gauntlet. Beginning just north of Johannesburg at Hartbeespoort. The adventure will thunder north to near Victoria Falls in Zambia.

We are, of course, introducing international borders into the mix. So you will have to land and walk across the border with your motor on your back. To complete the course you will need a minimum number of passport stamps in your passport by the time you hit the finish line.

This is the Icarus Trophy on steroids, adventure on a baobab stick.


2018 looks a little like this. 22nd July - Launch Party. 23rd and 24th July - Pre-race Training. 25th July - Launch. 1st August - Finish. 2nd August - Contingency Flying Day. 3rd August - Finish Party

An adventure of 2 divisions

The Icarus Trophy is designed to be the toughest air race on the planet, but it's also designed to be the greatest aerial adventure on the planet. Through our different race divisions it's as accessible and challenging for pro-pilots as it is for a total novice ready to spend some time training.

Flying all the hours of daylight is not inside everyone's brown-pants limit or to everyone's taste. The Race Division pilots cover up to 400 miles a day but some know that coming first might just get in the way of a good adventure. With this in mind, we've created two main pilot divisions.

Adventure division

Beacons of madcappery, Adventure Division Pilots make it to the finish line under their own (or borrowed) steam.

Pilots can accept outside support and travel forward using transport other than flying.

Within Adventure Class, there are two further categories. Pilots can self-select into the Pure Adventure or Adventure First Class.

Adventure Division, pilots must fly with all their own equipment but can accept outside help if it's not pre-arranged. If you stream across the finish line on a fan-powered bicycle having lost your wing in an ill-conceived bet at an illegal gambling joint with only one shoe as clothing and covered head to foot in mud, you have probably embraced the spirit.

Adventure pilots will be placed by the time spent flying the course to the finish line.

In Adventure First Class, pilots can bring their own race support: friends, instructors or pets.

Adventure First Class pilots will be no less legends, and will be classed as 'finished' on the leaderboard without classification.

Race division

The cream of an outstanding crop, Race Division pilots must fly unsupported and get there first to win.

Pilots must remain unsupported for the entire event - they can only progress by flying or walking. If they walk, they must carry their equipment.

They can use 'open access' support- anything that the average person can access. Should they manage to charm total strangers into lending their assistance, that's kosher. They cannot use help offered by friends, distant relatives, other pilots or the race team to further their progress.

Pilots must launch from 200m of their landing point. If they can't, they must travel back (in the direction of the start line) on foot until a good launch site is found.

More detailed rules will be given to all pilots.

A good number of pilots start in Race Division and then choose to drop down to Adventure. This is a great choice if you're not sure if you want to go full race as it's harder to go from Adventure to Race during the event.

Unsupported (well, almost)

Probably the key part of any adventure is the adventurous bits. And that means setting out into the world and fending for yourself. Anything else becomes a bit less exciting. It starts to remove all the fun bits, like "where in the world will I sleep?" or "what the hell do I do now I've run out of fuel here?" And it starts to become a bit of a guided tour. So you have to carry all you need on you. Food, clothes, a way to sleep and some of the bits to fix up your aerial stead.

However...Live race tracking

You'll be issued with a satellite tracker which can send and receive messages from anywhere on earth and send an SOS message if the cavalry needs to come and scoop you up. This way the whole world can tune in to follow the chaos.

Specialised race weather

You'll get expert daily weather updates piped direct to your tracking device and emails made just for the race pilots.

Spares truck

Paramotors are perhaps not what you would call reliable. So while you can carry some essentials on you, there are some parts that would make leaving the ground rather a challenge. Spare propellers or heavy engine parts for instance. With this in mind, we have a spares truck that can carry some of the parts you think you might need. Space is limited to a set size and the truck may take a while to reach you depending on where you've broken down, so don't forget to pack some sandwiches.

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