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Touch down but no glory for balloon race team

John Rose and Clive Bailey celebrate their safe landing in France Credit: Bailey Balloons

Two balloonists from Bristol have landed safely in their bid to fly the furthest in an open basket hot air balloon.

Clive Bailey and John Rose are one of two teams from Great Britain taking part in the Gordon Bennett Gas Balloon Race 2016. The other GB team had to land yesterday with two other balloons because Belgian military warned them they were approaching a military danger zone!

On solid ground Credit: Bailey Balloons

At 8.30 am today, 20 September 2016, the pair landed safely in their gas balloon Lady Britannia in a field near Dijon in France after flying for over 33 hours and a distance of 497.59 km.

Minutes after they had landed the farmer approached them to see if they were all right and brought some cognac with them! The locals were delighted that they had landed in their stubble field and couldn’t believe that they had been in the air for 33 hours!

The open basket balloon at the launch site on Sunday Credit: Bailey Balloons

24 teams took off late on Sunday evening from Gladbeck in Germany. Ten of the balloons had landed last night but half of the balloons are still flying on, several into Italy or heading for Corsica.

The Met Office has been monitoring their progress and updating them on incoming weather.

We had to land before getting caught in the mistral winds in the Rhone Valley. There was thick fog ahead of us. We’ve had a fantastic flight, sadly we did not have enough ballast to attempt flying over the Mediterranean Sea.

The retrieve crew turned up shortly after landing and, after sorting out the balloon, we will be stopping at a nearby bar to savour some local beverages!

– Clive Bailey

The pair were fairly comfortable on board the craft, which was designed by Bristol's Cameron Balloons especially for the race.

They also managed to eat simple meals such as sausages and beans while on board. But they are grateful to be resting up at a hotel before returning to the launch site at Gladbeck tomorrow, 21 September.