Streaking through an airborne slalom course above Northern California this weekend, Andy Farrington fought off a fierce challenge from an international field of 40 men and women from 18 countries to claim his second consecutive Red Bull Aces championship.
Noah Bahnson earned a repeat second place in the championship that takes the concept of ski cross to the skies, while a newcomer to the Red Bull Aces podium, Matt Gerdes, completed the American sweep in third.
See highlights from the finals in the video below:
Wingsuit racing isn’t new, but the Red Bull Aces format is definitely revolutionary. It is the world’s first-ever wingsuit four-cross competition, with athletes racing four at a time through a one-mile-long [1.61km] slalom course made of five 34m-long gates suspended thousands of feet in the air.
Athletes jumped in heats of four from a civilian Bell Huey helicopter at an altitude of 8,000ft [2,438m] above sea level, and weaved between the five gates positioned at descending levels between 6,500ft [1981.2m] and 3,500ft [914m].
All the gates were equipped with GPS positioning, and the competitors each wore a GPS transmitter to determine whether they passed through the gates properly (within a pre-determined area of the gate). The winner was determined not only on how quickly the finish line was crossed, but also on how many gates the pilot correctly passed through.
Combining speed, precision and agility, Red Bull Aces was developed to determine the world’s best all-around wingsuit pilot in a competitive environment. The format has inspired new training methods for the athletes, as well as visionary designs for the suits, which enable swift and agile flight thanks to their innovative construction.
Final top-eight ranking, Red Bull Aces 2015
1. Andy Farrington, USA
2. Noah Bahnson, USA
3. Matt Gerdes, USA
4. Scott Palmer, USA
5. Espen Fadnes, Norway
6. Petter Mazzetta, Sweden
7. Rex Pemberton, Australia
8. Scotty Bob, USA