Mildura Weekly : Friday July 11 Vol 8 No 36
Mildura Weekly – 11/07/14 19 www.milduraphonebook.com.au BAD weather has marred the running of this week’s Balloons Over Mildura event, with pilots unable to take to the skies for the past three days due to strong winds. Event director Kerry Frankel said wind gusts ranging from 18km/h to 30km/h had seen the ‘black flag’ raised on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday morning, with competitors hopeful of returning to the skies today. “At the moment the weather is looking perfect for Friday,” he said. “Unfortunately conditions just haven’t been right to safely get these balloons in the air. “10 knots (18km/h) wind gusts is the limit, and for most of this week recorded winds have been above that. “We’re as frustrated as anyone that we haven’t been able to get bal- loons in the air, but unfortunately the weather plays such a key role at these events. “You really are reliant on Mother Nature producing perfect conditions – and that hasn’t been the case this week.” Kerry said Balloons Over Mildura competitors – all 22 of them – did manage to take to the skies on Mon- day morning, with Sydney’s Sean Ka- vanagh leading the official competi- tion from Mildura pair Claire O’Brien and Aaron Arnold. “Claire is competing for the first time, and I think quietly she’s hoping we don’t get another competition day so she can hang on to second spot,” he said. “Sean is a very experienced pilot, with the competition obviously very tight considering competitors have only had one chance to get in the air.” Kerry said competitors had accept- ed the interrupted start to the compe- tition with good grace, saying it was a common occurrence in the sport. “Ballooning is such a small family, andasSeansaid‘ifweflywefly,ifnot we do something else,’” he said. “Most of the visitors to our region have spent their downtime visiting lo- cal attractions and seeing the sights, and it’s always great to get together with like-minded people and share a laugh regardless of what the weather is doing.” Kerry said the highlight of the week had been last Sunday’s ‘Night Glow’ event, with an estimated crowd of 4500 people witnessing a host of balloons light up Irymple’s Henshil- wood Oval. Held in honour of the ‘Give Me Five for Kids’ charity – which aims to improve facilities and services in children’s wards in hospitals across regional Australia – Kerry said a “sig- nificant amount” had been raised. “Donations are still coming in from the night, and it’s fantastic that a significant amount has been raised,” he said. “I think the plan is to purchase new equipment that will reduce the need for Sunraysia kids to travel out- side of the district for treatment.” Kerry said that the public would have one more chance to see the skill of hot air balloon pilots up close and personal tomorrow morning, with a ‘Key Grab’ competition to be held at Sunitafe’s Benetook Avenue field from 7.30am. “The Sunraysia Farmers Market will also relocate to Sunitafe’s field for the day, with breakfast to be avail- able,” he said. “The weather is looking good for Saturday, so we’re confident our pilots can put on a show for those in atten- dance.” Mother Nature unkind to balloonists BAD weather has marred the running day morning, with Sydney’s Sean Ka- balloons light up Irymple’s Henshil- • FIRED UP!: Last Sunday’s Night Glow at Irymple’s Henshilwood Oval was a big hit with the public. LEFT. Dawn breaks but Mother Nature is not cooperating, and these baloons didn’t get off the ground. RIGHT: A packed SuniTAFE auditorium for a pilot briefing during this week. Story by VINNIE RODI Photographs: PAUL MENSCH Head Office 424 San Mateo Avenue Mildura, Victoria, 3500 T (03) 5021 1777 F (03) 5021 1733 E firstname.lastname@example.org W www.milduraweekly.com.au Riverland Office 20 Kay Avenue, Berri, South Australia 5343 Available for just $20 at both Mildura & Riverland offices of the Mildura Weekly. Please note: Correct money needed at Riverland office.
Friday July 4 Vol 8 No 35
Friday July 18 Vol 8 No 37