Leys and Rolland win the 53rd Coupe Aéronautique Gordon Bennett

At 12:00 today the 53rd Coupe Aéronautique Gordon Bennett, the famous international FAI aeronautical gas balloon race named after the US Media tycoon James Gordon Bennett, came to a fantastic close with the final landing of the 16th competitor in Portelas / Portugal, barely 20 km from the most western tip of the European Continent, and only about 4 km from the Atlantic ocean.

The French team of Sébastien ROLLAND and Vincent LEYS, onboard their French registered gas balloon (F-PPSE), took off from Geneva last Saturday (September 6) at 22:42 and flew 1.587km in 85h12min to the final victory in the race. 16 gas-balloon teams from 8 nations took off from Geneva during a dramatic night-launch in perfect weather conditions.

Of the 16 balloons

  • 2 landed in France,
  • 1 landed in Italy / Sardegna,
  • 2 landed in Spain / on the Balearic Island of Menorca,
  • 3 landed in Algeria,
  • 5 landed in Spain / Mainland,
  • and 3 landed in Portugal

after long and dramatic overwater flights over the Mediterranean sea in which several World Records were broken. The three balloons which landed in Algeria also made the first ever intercontinental gas balloon flight between Europe and Africa. Full results can be downloaded from the official race websites at

http://www.ballon.eu/2009_coupe_eboard.html and http://www.satpro.org/gordon2009/

After more than 4 days on the watch, the competition director Markus Haggeney and his team are pleased to see this race come to a happy and perfect close. Competitors are expected back in Geneva for the official Prize giving Ceremony at the Ramada “encore” Hotel on Saturday September 12 at noon.

Markus Haggeney (+41 76 727 9457)

General and historical information about the Coupe Gordon Bennett can also be obtained on the official website of the competition at www.coupegordonbennett.org