Eastern Region Balloons Stage Queen’s Cup launch from Stonham Barns Park

Stonham Barns Park is hosting a tandem launch for Eastern Region Balloon Club members at the same time as other competitors who are racing in a prestigious and historic UK-wide hot air balloon competition.

The Queen’s Cup will challenge competitors from the UK to see how far they can fly in a unique sporting trophy that is held in October (the weather will determine the date).  The national race will be ‘officially’ launched from Gloucestershire with balloons participating in tandem launches at the same time across the country. The winner of this UK-wide event will be the pilot and crew that touches down furthest away on the evening from their take off point.

The tandem balloon launch will see the Eastern Region balloon pilots and their crews take off from Stonham Barns Park on the same weekend date in October (weather permitting) and head wherever the winds steer them.  Our Eastern Region pilots will be flying in support of the main Queen’s Cup competition, as part of the “Great British Balloon launch”.

Eastern Region Balloons recruit members from Suffolk, Norfolk, Cambridgeshire and Essex.  The club is affiliated to the British Balloon and Airship Club (BBAC) and members attend a busy calendar of ballooning events around the country each year.

Speaking about The Queen’s Cup, Jo Scott from Eastern Region Balloons said: ‘This is one of the most important dates in the club’s calendar to date – one which significantly elevates our profile – and we are delighted to be able to use the parklands at Stonham Barns Park for our tandem launch this year.  We have used the venue in the past as a launch site and it has everything we need including exceptional viewing opportunities for spotters and photographers.’

‘The Queen’s Cup balloon race will test pilot’s skill, stamina, and team tactics.  The competition rules can be found on their webpage for all those who are interested.  Pilots and their crews have to quickly consider and calculate a number of things – including meteorological data for the whole of the UK, the likely tactics of the other teams and refuelling and landing plans.  It’s all very exciting.  We look forward to every flight but this competition – the oldest and most prestigious sporting trophy in the UK – is hugely special.’

‘While we love nothing more than a serene balloon flight across our beautiful counties, this is an exhilarating challenge that we are very proud to be a part of!’

The Queen’s Cup – usually stored at the Royal Air Force Museum, was entrusted to the Royal Aero Club by its patron, the late Queen Elizabeth II, who originally received the trophy as a wedding gift in 1947.

The weather is impossible to predict more than around 24 hours ahead which is why the date of the event is fluid.  It cannot be fixed in advance.  The official “go-ahead” of the event will be given on social media during the week, as close to the date as possible.

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