All 18 America's Challenge competitors are still in the air as sunrise approaches in New Mexico.
The first two balloons to make the swing to the east last night are the current leaders. The German team of Gerd Strasmann and Rainer Herkenhoff (Team 8) crossed the Texas border about 50 miles north of Clovis within the last hour. Last year's winner Richard Abruzzo, flying with Gary Johnson (Team 18), is not too far behind.
The balloons have more or less split into three groups. The second group, including most of the competitors, flew north through much of the night and is now beginning to head east. The remaining two balloons -- Team 5, Willie Eimers and Greg Winker, and Team 16, Bruce Hale and Bob McGimpsey, have continued north and slightly west throughout the night.
We're looking forward to a great competition, and the action should get even more interesting as the sun rises over New Mexico