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Sunday 15 December 2019

Ron beats 'birdman' distance record

Ron Freeman glides from Worthing Pier in West Sussex
Ron Freeman glides from Worthing Pier in West Sussex
Ron Freeman glides into the sea from Worthing Pier

An adventurer has beaten the record for the furthest distance unassisted flight during a "birdman" competition.

Ron Freeman soared 159.8 metres in the Worthing International Birdman competition today, passing his 141.5 metre record set at the event last year, organisers said.

Freeman, the reigning champion, could now land the £10,000 top prize at the event which sees people throw themselves off the Sussex seaside town's pier in machines and costumes of varying airworthiness.

A spokesman for the event confirmed Mr Freeman's distance, adding that his adapted hang glider the Geordie Flyer had a large wingspan.

He added: "He overlapped the edge of the platform that the competitors jump off."

On its official Twitter the competition said: "Ron Freeman got a official score of 159.8m well done another new record for Worthing Birdman".

To win the prize Mr Freeman from Newbiggin-by-the-Sea, Northumberland, needs another good run tomorrow. Competitors in his Condor Class for serious attempts have their final scores based on flights on both days of the event.

Last year he missed out on the money after strong winds forced him to take a sideways rather than a forwards route off the pier.

Mr Freeman was not the only flier today to pass the 100 metre mark that competitors have to pass to be eligible for the £10,000 prize. Tony Hughes sits in second after soaring 117.1 metres in X Plane VIII, down on the 132.5 metre best he posted last year.

They were amongst 25 competitors taking part today, ranging from the serious to the wacky, including one who jumped off dressed as a Minion from the cartoon film Despicable Me.

PA Media

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