Today Australia's own Matthew Scaife and Nicola Scaife won the 2016 Japanese Hot Air Ballooning Grand Prix.
Tomorrow Matthew and Nicola along with Australia's Peter Wright will begin competing in the 22nd FAI World Hot Air Balloon Championships, where the Australians hope to win for the first time since 1983.
Please refer to the Media Release below for Immediate Release.
30 October 2016 – Australia’s power couple of hot air ballooning, Matthew and Nicola Scaife, have won the 2016 Japanese Hot Air Balloon Grand Prix. The Grand Prix consisted of 5 events, run throughout the year across Japan. Today, the final leg concluded in Saga, during which Matthew was able to secure the win for Team Scaife.
Nicola (current Women’s World Champion) flew one of the 5 events earlier this year and Matthew (current Australian Champion) flew the other 4. Between them, the husband and wife team, were able to remain in the top 5 for the entire Grand Prix. They were sitting in 2nd place coming into the final leg in Saga, just a few points behind the current World Champion, Yudai Fujita. Matthew was able to out fly Yudai in the skies of Saga to move them into the top spot.
“We couldn’t be happier with the result.” said Matthew, “Not only is it great to win, it has also given us both a great amount of confidence going into the World Championships”.
The 22nd FAI World Hot Air Balloon Championships begins tomorrow (also in Saga) and will run between 30 October and 7 November 2016. This year we have a strong team who will represent Australia and it is Australia’s best chance to win the championship since we won back in 1983.
The Australian balloon team will be represented by 3 pilots; Matthew Scaife, Nicola Scaife and Peter Wright. They will be travelling with our biggest and best team yet. All up there will be 16 team members, complete with independent wind-reading team, a photographer, a social media/tech support guru, a team manager and crew members for each balloon.
The team will be pushing the boundaries of what can be done with existing technology. In the hands of our pilots and ground crew will be a Microsoft Surface Pro with OziTarget navigational software. Will this be Hot Air Ballooning’s equivalent of the winged keel on Australia II that won us an America’s cup in 1983?
Our team have previous experience competing in Saga, Matthew (3 times), Nicola (2 times), Peter (1 time), Sean Kavanagh, Team Manger (9 times), our ground crew also has many years of experience. Saga is Australia’s second home when it comes to competition ballooning.