Sports Listings: This Weekend / Ballooning - Jorvik Viking Festival, York

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The Independent Online
As part of York's annual Viking festival, 38 hot-air balloons have registered for an airborne contest over the city this weekend. Competition consists of a hare and hounds race, in which a lead balloon sets off and is pursued by the remainder after an interval. The varying air currents make the pursuit difficult, bringing skill and judgment into play as the field heads off downwind. As the balloons could land anywhere in the surrounding countryside, the start of the race offers the best vantage point for the spectator. Rob Bayly has entered his own balloon. He took part with Don Cameron representing Britain in the first balloon race over the Atlantic from Bangor, Maine to Europe last September. They landed in Portugal, finishing third. Pilots and crews have been encouraged to wear appropriate dress for the morning flights and will be judged on their interpretation of what the well-dressed Viking should wear.

How to get there: Racecourse, Knavesmire, Tadcaster Road, York, off A64. Street parking but not on Knavesmire. Ascent times, depending on weather: tomorrow: 8-8.30am and 2-3pm; Sunday: 8-8.30am. Racing concludes at noon, but there will be flying in afternoon.

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