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04 October 2003

Pilots and officials are still optomistic

Pilots and officials with the Eighth America's Challenge Gas Balloon Race are still optomistic the race may begin Saturday evening as scheduled. At the pilot briefing this afternoon, Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta weather forecaster John Ground expressed optomism that the weather system currently dropping rain in New Mexico will move out of the area in time for the launch to proceed as scheduled.

The weather team continues to monitor forecast models for this storm system as well as weather downrange that could affect the race as much as 24 hours after launch. A pilot meeting has been scheduled for midafternoon Saturday, at which time officials will re-evaluate the weather and make a decision about proceeding with a Saturday evening launch.

At this afternoon's briefing, the team numbers and launch order was determined by random drawing:

Team #1 Johnny Petrehn and Richard Sabin, USA
Team #2 Wilhelm Eimers, Germany, and Greg Winker, USA
Team #3 Tom Donnelly and Simon Forse, Great Britain
Team #4 Richard Abruzzo and Carol Davis, USA
Team #5 John Kugler and "Red" Sheeshe, USA
Team #6 Barbara Fricke and Peter Cuneo, USA
Team #7 Bruce Hale and Mark Devaney, USA
Team #8 David Levin and Alan Levin, USA
Team #9 Sam Parks and Andy Cayton, USA
Team #10 Astrid Gerhardt and Stephan Muller, Germany
Team #11 Shane Robinson and Ron Martin, USA
Team #12 Thomas Boylan and Bob McCluskey, USA
Team #13 Mark Sullivan and Cheri White, USA
Team #14 Phil McNutt and Brian Critelli, USA

Continue to monitor www.balloonfiesta.com and your Gondola Club alerts for updates as more news becomes available. Once the race begins, live tracking will be available on the Balloon Fiesta site.

Posted by Luc at 10:08 AM

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