The Exclusive Cup 2021
After a year hiatus due to Covid-19, the world famous Exclusive Cup made a return to the skies for the 9th and 10th July 2021.
The flying element of the event was moved for 2021 from it’s usual home at Longleat to the North Somerset Area.
With the support of North Somerset Council, the event was able to take place across numerous sites in the North Somerset area, all of which were kept secret to avoid public gatherings. Pilots and their teams were only informed of the launch site a few hours before and the element of surprise was well received and gave the event a very fun atmosphere.
The first launch took place on the morning of Friday 9th July from Runway 27 at Bristol International Airport. 31 balloons took off from the runway at 5am and set a new record for number of balloons taking off from an international airport. This flight incorporate a hare and hounds competition where a nominated balloon becomes the moving target and all other balloons have to try and drop their markers as close to the “hare” balloon as they can once it has landed. The top three winners were Thomas Lee, Dan Gregory and Bradley Lewis.
The second launch took place at North Somerset Showground for a fun, no pressure pleasure flight without competition element. Approximately 35 balloons took off and flew out towards Bristol.
The final launch of the event took place on Saturday evening thanks to the hospitality of Mendip Moments for allowing us to use their field and bringing their ice cream van along to keep all the balloonists fed! The second and final competition flight of the weekend saw another hare and hounds challenge with the top three winners being Richard Parry, Crispin Williams and Jeff Lawton.
The final top three from the overall standings for the 2021 Exclusive Cup were:
- Thomas Lee
- Dan Gregory
- Bradley Lewis
Current world champion Dominic Bareford finished in fourth position.
The event is planned to return in full force for 2022 at Longleat and we look forward to welcoming all balloonists and public back to enjoy the event!