The Balloon and Airship Federation of South Africa (BAFSA) hosted the Afrox South African Hot Air Balloon Championships 2018 from 24 to 28 June. This prestigious event was held at the Bill Harrop’s “Original” Balloon Safaris Clubhouse Pavilion in Skeerpoort, Northwest. The event saw the pilots taking to the sky for seven flights and completing nineteen tasks set by international event director, Mathijs De Bruijn and his task team. Prior to each flight the pilots were briefed on the tasks for that flight. These tasks were only considered after carefully reviewing the weather conditions. The pilots and their very skilled crew had to evaluate the weather readings and the local map to develop their strategy for each flight. A whole lot of skill and precision is required for this type of competition and often the results will come down millimetres.
After five days of competitive flying, the scorecard showed the skill by our balloon pilots in South Africa is of a high standard. The scores were close, but the winner and the title holder of the Afrox South African Hot Air Balloon Champion 2018 was awarded to Danie Minnar, a mielie farmer from Bothaville. Danie has represented South Africa twice in the World Championships and now stands the chance to do so again in 2020. Second place was awarded to Marc Nuthall, a truly passionate balloonist and third place went to BAFSA Chairman and avid balloonist, Richard Bovell