Red Bull X-Alps

Paramotor race across America kicks off

This week sees the launch of the Icarus Trophy, a 1,300km unsupported paramotor flight in the USA

© The Adventurists
 Shane Denherder on the Icarus recce flying over green fields
 Shane Denherder flies over chequered fields on the Icarus recce

They organise some of the craziest adventure races on the planet. From the Mongol Rally, a beat-up car race across Mongolia to the Rickshaw Run, a terrifying 3,500km race across India in glorified three-wheeled lawnmowers, the Adventurists have been “striving to make the world less boring” since 2004 – with some success.

The latest race to launch is a paramotor race from Eatonville near Seattle, to Valley Springs, CA. It starts on October 12. Unlike the Red Bull X-Alps, there is no selection, and the 25-strong field of pilots reflects that. The lineup includes a mix of adventurers, crazy characters, bored office workers and even some who have some paramotoring experience.

The Adventurists take ‘no rules’ to a new limit. Although there are officially two support vehicles following the race, athletes have to be entirely self-supported.  

Says Tom Morgan, founder of the Icarus Trophy and the Adventurists: “It sort of dawned on me that you didn't need a license, and you could kind of take off from anywhere and they run on ordinary petrol.  And then I thought f*** me! That is the best way of flying around places I have ever heard of.  It seemed to me to be unbelievable that no-one had already organised a long distance paramotor adventure like this. So then we had to.”

Race manager and referee Shane Denherder, Owner of Team Fly Halo, says: “One thing we realized a few days into the recce is that the Icarus Trophy will be as much about diplomacy as it is about flying skill.  Being able to charm the pants off of a landowner to talk them into assisting you is going to be the skill that pays the bills. That, and being able to launch your kit in less-than-ideal conditions without breaking it.”

The race is expected to take between seven and ten days. For updates head over to The Adventurists. We look forward to watching from a safe distance.