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08 October 2003

they're neck and neck racing

It's down to the final two, and they're neck and neck racing northeast some 45 hours into the Eighth America's Challenge Gas Balloon Race at the Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta.

The team of Willie Eimers and Greg Winker (Team #2) landed early this evening about 20 miles SW of Waco after a flight of 612 miles (985 km). This handed the lead to the two teams still flying, Team #4 (Abruzzo/Rymer-Davis) and Team #6 (Fricke/Cuneo). The balloons are flying northeastward through eastern Nebraska, and at this writing are only a few miles apart. It is expected that both balloons will fly at least through the night. At this hour Team #4 remains in the lead, but it's very much either team's race.

The team working with the America's Challenge live tracking system at http://tracker.balloonfiesta.com/index.php has in the last few hours made several enhancements to the site. This includes ranking the teams by distance flown, and providing data on the balloons' approximate distance from the launch point in Albuquerque.

Here is a list of the America's Challenge competitors and their approximate, unofficial positions as of 9:00 PM MDT (0300Z):

#4 Abruzzo/Rymer-Davis, 135 mi. SW of Sioux Falls, SD, 661 mi/1064 km
#6 Fricke/Cuneo, 145 mi. SW of Sioux Falls, SD, 650 mi/1046 km
#2 Eimers/Winker, LANDED 22 mi. SW of Waco, TX, 612 mi/985 km
#13 Sullivan/White, LANDED 24 mi. E of Clovis, NM, 243 mi/391 km
#14 MacNutt/Critelli, LANDED 5 mi. SE of Clovis, NM, 215 mi/347 km
#9 Parks/Cayton, LANDED 12 mi. NW of Clovis, NM, 209 mi/336 km
#7 Hale/Devaney, LANDED 18 mi. N of Clovis, NM, 208 mi/334 km
#12 Boylan/McCluskey, LANDED 5 mi. NW of Portales, NM, 204 mi/328 km
#8 Levin/Levin, LANDED 30 mi. N of Clovis, NM, 200 mi/322 km
#5 Kugler/Sheeshe, LANDED 30 mi. SW of Clovis, NM, 184 mi/296 km
#1 Petrhen/Sabin, LANDED 5 mi. SW of Logan, NM, 175 mi/282 km
#10 Gerhardt/Muller, LANDED 15 mi. NE of Roswell, NM, 169 mi/272 km
#11 Robinson/Martin, LANDED 50 miles N of Roswell, NM, 143 mi/230 km
#3 Donnelly/Forse, LANDED 4 mi. S of Santa Rosa, NM, 133 mi/214 km

Posted by Luc at 5:15 AM

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