American Noah Bahnson got a monkey off his back, and it happened while screaming through the Arizona skies at 160 mph. Twice the bridesmaid, Bahnson clinched his first-ever win in the Red Bull Aces wingsuit four-cross championship.
Red Bull Aces features wingsuit pilots wearing special jumpsuits that shape the human body into an airfoil, creating lift and with it, "human flight." Somewhere outside of Phoenix, 40 athletes from 18 countries jumped in four-person heats from a helicopter 8,000 feet above the Arizona desert, slaloming head-to-head through four race gates suspended in mid-air. Ultimately, the event crowned the world’s best overall wingsuit pilot.
After finishing runner-up two years in a row, a determined Bahnson took the lead early and wouldn’t let go, passing the finish gate more than half a second ahead of fellow American Will Kitto. Two-time Red Bull Aces champion Farrington has edged out Bahnson in the previous editions of the race, but this time Farrington settled for third, completing an American sweep of the podium. Chile’s Sebastian Alvarez was fourth.
"I thought I had a chance, but I didn’t expect this," Bahnson said. "After losing twice to Andy, I thought it might happen again. So I’m super happy with the results. The quality of the competition here overall — not just in the final round — was very high. I hope this event just keeps growing because it’s a beautiful sport full of beautiful people."
Watch Provenzano's GoPro POV video below:
Wearing cutting-edge wingsuits specially developed for the blinding speed, aggressive turns and steep dives of the unique format, the pilots pushed limits with some of the tightest heats in history, delivering frequent lead changes and photo finishes. Advanced technology GPS enabled the ground-based judging panel to determine results in real time. Pilots from countries such as Austria, Denmark, Germany, Great Britain, Italy, Mexico, the Netherlands, Norway, South Africa, Sweden and Venezuela raced at speeds upward of 125 mph in the world's fastest non-motorized aerial sport.
Watch Farrington's GoPro POV video below:
Red Bull Aces 2016 top finalists
1. Noah Bahnson, USA
2. Will Kitto, USA
3. Andy Farrington, USA
4. Sebastian Alvarez, CHI
5. Matt Gerdes, USA
6. Chris Geiler, Australia
7. Todd Davis, USA
8. Mike Steen, USA