Balloon duo end epic trip
LABRADOR CITY, N.L. — A Swiss gas balloon team rescued from woods near the Quebec-Labrador border after a record-shattering balloon odyssey have started a new journey back to New Mexico — this time in a motor home with a trailer in tow.
Nicolas Tieche and Laurent Sciboz landed in a remote area near Labrador City Tuesday after an epic 3,666-km transcontinental flight from Albuquerque, earning them top spot in the America’s Challenge distance balloon race.
To claim their prize, the high-flying duo carefully retrieved their massive white balloon and basket from atop an isolated ridge Thursday and embarked on a 48-hour road trip back to Albuquerque.
The pilots are expected to be greeted with accolades for smashing the previous record of 3,215 km by more than 400 km.
“You get a trophy, bragging rights, a lot of atta-boys and some great memories,” said Kim Vesely, a spokesman for the Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta.
Eight teams took part in the race, with the top three travelling more than 3,000 km.
Nicolas Tieche, left, and Laurent Sciboz look up from their gas balloon ride.