Thursday, July 14, 2011

A Viewers Guide to the 2011 Red Bull X-Alps

"It's a funny thing. From the outside the X-Alps looks like a hiking and flying race. When you look closer, you realise that really it's a flying race. And when you look closer still, you realise that really, at the heart of it all, it's a mental game. The very concept of risk for someone who is capable of being a serious contender in the X-Alps is very different from anything any recreational, XC or competition pilot would normally understand from the word. This is only something I learned from competing in the race myself. Maurer, Hofer and Muller had the appropriate mentality before they started the race for the first time, I certainly didn't."
Tom Payne 2009 X-Alps Athlete
click for larger image
The 2011 X-Alps Adventure Race begins at 1PM on July 17th.  This race allows paragliding and hiking along 8 turnpoints between Salzburg, Austria and Monaco.  Total distance is 864 Kilometers but the 30 athletes will cover considerably more than that as they navigate among the peaks and valleys of the Alps.   This is the 5th X-Alps and only two 2011 athletes have competed in all 4 of the preceding races - Andy Frötscher(ITA) and Toma Coconea (ROM)

The 2009 Top Three Athletes were Christian Maurer, Alex Hofer, and Honza Rejmanek from the U.S. Alex Hofer placed 2nd in 2009 and first in 2005 and 2007. Unfortunately he had a crash last month and is out of the race this year. Christian Maurer won the race in his first attempt and has been training hard to defend his title in this year's race. USA's Honza Rejmanek, and his assistant Dave Hanning, will be in their third X-Alps, placing 9th in 2007 and 3rd in 2009. He had extreme food poisoning in 2007 and still persevered to cover a lot of ground as he recovered. In 2009 he had some knee issues that slowed him a bit and required him to descend mountain roads walking backwards.  Honza is one to watch this year.

The rules include some new features.   A new mandatory rest period will be imposed every night between 23:00 and 0400.  This has potential to keep the racers a bit closer together.  Last race there were many short nights as the leaders tried to get away from their closest rivals.

Beginning on July 20th at 0700 hours the last team in the Red Bull X-Alps ranking will be eliminated. Thereafter every 48 hours the last team will be cut from the race unless the Athlete has passed the turning point Mt. Blanc.

This race is an amazing combination of flying skill, physical stamina, and mental toughness.   In addition,  a good assistant and a good strategy is important to success.  

Live Tracking will be available at
Keep an eye on the latest news at 
Keep an eye on things - the race begins July 17th at 10PM PDT.

Tom Payne put this great table of the 2011 Athletes together:

Country Flag Athlete Age Supporter Glider Blog/website 2003 2005 2007 2009

ARG Martin Romero 36 Diego E. Romero MacPara Magus XC

AUS Lloyd Pennicuik 45 Paul Underwood Axis Venus link

17 X
AUT1 Helmut Eichholzer 36 Wolfgang Ehgarter Ozone Delta link
AUT2 Christian Amon 41 Mario Schmaranzer Swing Stratus

AUT3 Mike Küng 42 Thomas Arzberger Paratech P8 Proto

BEL Thomas de Dorlodot 26 Gatien de Dorlodot Gradient Avax XC3 link

X 10
BRA Richard Pethigal 42 tba. Swing Stratus

CAN Max Fanderl 46 Penny Powers tba. link

X 13
CZE Jan Skrabálek 41 Karel Vrbensky tba. link

11 15
ESP Ramón Morillas 44 Juan Morillas Advance Proto link

7 9
FIN Jouni Makkonen 40 Toni Leskelä Gradient Avax XC

FRA1 Vincent Sprüngli 46 Jerome Maupoint Gin Boomerang

FRA2 Philippe Barnier 36 Hervé Garcia Niviuk Icepeak

FRA3 Clément Latour 28 Gil Thomas Skywalk Poison 3

GBR1 Jon Chambers 36 Richard Chambers Ozone M4 link

GBR2 Steve Nash 48 Richard Bungay Nova

GER Michael Gebert 31 Florian Schellheimer Gradient Avax XC3 link
5 X 6
ITA Andy Frötscher 42 Martin Klotz Skywalk Poison 3 link X X 14 12
JPN1 Kaoru Ogisawa 51 Masaru Saso Gin Boomerang

5 13
JPN2 Masayuki Matsubara 40 Tetsuo Kogai tba.

NED Ferdinand van Schelven 27 Anton Brous tba.

NOR Ivar Sandstå 44 Inge Haustveit Niviuk Peak 2

POL Pavel Faron 37 Piotr Goc Swing Stratus

POR Nuno Virgilio 31 Samuel Lopes Axis Mercury

ROM Toma Coconea 36 Daniel Pisica UP link X X 2 X
RSA Pierre Carter 44 James Braid Gradient XC3

RUS Evgeny Gryaznov 39 tba. tba.

SUI1 Christian Maurer 28 Thomas Theurillat Advance Omega link

SUI2 Alex Hofer 34 Roland Moltinger tba. link
1 1 2
SUI3 Martin Müller 45 Yannick Flugi Gin Boomerang 7 light link

3 X
USA Honza Rejmanek 36 Dave Hanning Axis Mercury link



source: X-Alps website, Wikipedia, own research || Age at Race launch 17th. Jul 2011 || blogs tbc. || X means participated, but injured or disqualified/eliminated

Fly Safe everyone!


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