The Queen’s Cup hot air balloon race frontrunners are in the skies over Thanet

The Bareford balloon over Minster Photo Amanda Sutton

A hot air balloon seen over Minster today (October 7) is taking the lead in a race that dates back to the 18th century.

The hot air balloon crew are participants in The Queen’s Cup, the oldest and most prestigious sporting trophy in the UK dating back to 1719 and entrusted to the Royal Aero Club by the Royal Family.

For 2023, the Royal Aero Club selected the British Balloon and Airship Club (BBAC) to host a Queen’s Cup event.

Today’s Queen’s Cup hot air balloon race is the first to be held in 10 years and has attracted entries from some of the most adventurous and characterful pilots and crew in the country.

Photo Amanda Sutton

The main sponsor for the Queen’s Cup 2023 is Audi and the theme of this year’s event is sustainability.

The race began at sunrise in Somerset, and ends before sunset with the winning crew travelling the furthest straight line distance from the starting point.

Photo Evie Martin

The leaders presently are the Bareford balloon crew above Thanet. Pilots are Jess Daly and Dominic Bareford who have travelled 322.30 KM.

Photo Evie Martin

UPDATE:  Bareford team take first place.

Track the competitors here