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.
Team 6 (Swiss team Tièche/Sciboz) and Team 1 (USA’s Fricke/Cuneo) have been trading the lead through the last 20 hours and at this writing, Team 6 is slightly ahead. Barbara Fricke and Peter Cuneo began to transit Lake Michigan around 10:15 AM MDT (1615Z). It’s their second time crossing Lake Michigan in an America’s Challenge race; they also did it in 2010 enroute to victory and a landing in Windsor, Ontario. Meanwhile, Nicolas Tièche and Laurent Sciboz are approaching Lake Superior and have passed the 1,200-mile (1,931 km) mark in their journey across North America.
While Teams 6 and 1 have so far dominated the lead, it remains anyone’s race. Five other teams are poised to overtake the leaders should either of them falter.
Follow your favorite teams via live tracking on the Balloon Fiesta website, http://www.balloonfiesta.com/gas-balloons/gas-tracking, or on the Balloon Fiesta free apps for Android and iPhone.