by David Meacham
Just days away on October 13-16 at Tianmen Mountain, China, 16 of the world’s most influential wingsuit pilots will compete at the 2016 WWL China Grand Prix. This event is the most demanding competition for professional wingsuit athletes, where racers are judged not only for fastest times and head-to-head competition but also for accuracy in aerial navigation and overall flying proficiency.
The WWL China Grand Prix is the only contest of its kind in competitive wingsuit flying. Competitors B.A.S.E. jump from a platform at 2,780 meters, flying down a 2-kilometer course while descending more than 1,000 meters in less than 30 seconds. Pilots must complete a minimum 30-second parachute flight before touching down at the landing zone next to the opera house at the base of Tianmen Mountain.
“We have a mix of WWL veterans and some new people who haven’t raced in China before but are literally the most cutting-edge pilots in the world today,” said WWL president Iiro Seppanen. “This year’s expanded race format will give them a way to really showcase their talent against the very best of their contemporaries.”
Create38, based out of Alaska, has four ultra-fast, ultra-fit athletes Rex Pemberton, Scotty Bob Morgan, Carson Klein and Graham Dickinson attending the event. These skilled pilots race head-to-head, simultaneously jumping off the starting platform. They free-fall into three seconds of dead air space until their wings inflate, allowing gravity to power them at speeds of up to 150 miles per hour from the top of Tianmen Mountain into its deepest valley,
Carson Klein and Rex Pemberton shined in past China Grand Prix performances. Klein set the course record in 2014 but was disqualified for not enough canopy time. Although he only missed the 30-second minimum parachute window by one second, his low pull illustrated his ever-competitive approach to wingsuit racing and his relentless passion for pushing status quo boundaries. Just a few reasons we are proud to have Carson as a Create38 team member.
Pemberton also excelled in 2014, finishing as an event quarterfinalist.
Rounding out the Create38 athlete pool in China this year, Scotty Bob Morgan and Graham Dickinson are fired up for their first showing.
All of the Create38 athletes will be flying for Squirrel this year, racing the newest version of their C-Race suit.
This year, all eyes are on Create38’s Klein and Dickinson as event favorites.
Although the WWL China Grand Prix is not a team event, big brands are being represented by their sponsored teams. Red Bull Air Force team pilots Mike Swanson and Jokke Sommer will represent Red Bull.
From the GoPro Bomb Squad, Jesse Hall and MarshallMiller, both out of Salt Lake City, UT, will represent GoPro, capturing their incredible Tianmen bombs frame-by-frame with those little cameras that are practically a household name across the globe.
Representing X Dubai, reigning WWL champions Noah Bahnson and Julian Boulle were first and second on the podium last year. Bahnson won the title, and his teammate Boulle was right on his heels, claiming silver. Both are serious competitors and will not relinquish their titles easily. Expect the rest of the pilots to be hungry to claim the 2016 title of the world’s fastest man.
We would like to take a moment to give a special thanks to one of the most well-known express mail providers in the U.S., FedEx, for messing up and not delivering the Create38 Infusion fuel to our athletes on time, before they left to compete in China. Now they will have to rely on the patented encapsulated formula instead of the infusion fuel bars, sure to do their very best, trying to maintain their stamina and energy during this daunting event.
To stay up-to-date event news and info on where to watch the live-stream, visit the WWL Facebook page.
Check out more about Create38 athletes and Create38 products.