In 1906 the American newspaper editor James Gordon Bennett established the gas balloon race that came to be named after him. The conquest of the skies and magnificent views from a bird’s eye perspective, the thrill of adventure and the excitement of competition – the fascination of the traditional air race remains unbroken even 110 years on. The Gordon Bennett Cup has the honour of being not only the oldest but also the most challenging international ballooning event in existence. This year, 23 teams from 12 nations will rise to the challenge of using knowledge, experience and skill to win the title. They will take off from the town of Gladbeck. As to where they will end up – the answer is blowing in the wind.
I am very pleased that Germany is hosting the 60th Gordon Bennett Cup. I am therefore delighted to be the patron of the Cup in this anniversary year. I would like to greet all participants – the pilots and co pilots as well as the helpful balloon fans who work on the ground to ensure that this world championship is a success. And last but not least, I would like to welcome all those who simply take delight in witnessing an impressive display. All that remains is for us to hope that the weather will also be in winning mood. Happy landings!
Dr. Angela Merkel
Chancellor Federal Republic of Germany