Andy Farrington flew down the slalom course fastest Sunday (25 October) to win the Red Bull Aces wingsuit competition in California. Red Bull Aces competitors leap from a helicopter hovering at 8,000ft while wearing wingsuits and race through several long pylons hanging from helicopters to see who can be first across the finish line. Four flyers compete at a time in heats and can reach speeds of up to 150mph.
All the gates and competitors have GPS positioning, so that judges can determine whether they passed through the gates properly. The winner was determined not only on how quickly the finish line was crossed, but also on how many gates the pilot correctly passed through.
The athletes fought hard for position on race-day, sometimes even resulting in mid-air contact. While this contact was never serious, the competitive nature was apparent, with athletes holding and defending their lines around gates and putting blocks on their opponents.
For American Farrington the win was his second Red Bull Aces win in California. Noah Bahnson grabbed second place for the second time, while a newcomer to the Red Bull Aces podium, Matt Gerdes, completed the American sweep in third.
"This is such a unique event, and a previous win doesn't guarantee you anything against the talent here," said Farrington, who has logged 24,000 jumps in his 33 years. "I raced Noah three times today, and if the slightest thing had changed, he could have been at the top of the podium in a heartbeat. We're going up against the top calibre of competitors in the world and the field is only getting stronger."