Mercedes ML races a gas balloon
TG embarks on the world’s most graceful car chase
Posted: 15 Dec 2011
At 8.30pm, the British balloon spears violently into the cloggy soil of a giant field just over a mile south of the US/Canadian border. In its final moments aloft, it has dodged lakes, power lines and giant wind-turbine blades. In other words, drowning, electrical combustion and being cleaved into pieces were off the menu.
The impact is considerable, and the envelope drags the basket along the ground for over half a mile before coming to a rest in a heap of canvas, wicker and two dehydrated, dishevelled pilots. The flight time of 71 hours and 32 minutes
is a new record; the distance of 974 miles, extraordinary; the victory, sweet. And, yes, it was victory: the Americans had indeed landed two hours earlier, 46 miles short.