Catching up with... Matt Lajeunesse
Matt Lajeunesse has over 1200 BASE jumps and works tirelessly to help the BASE community in many ways...
An incredible new event is making its premiere at Skydive Chicagoland this weekend, Fri 22- Sun 24 July 2016 – WOWS, the Wide Open Wingsuit Series
The event races wingsuit pilots together in a head-to-head contest, by chasing a ‘rabbit’ of another wingsuit pilot – like the pace car in a NASCAR race. The flyers leave the plane together, follow the rabbit to get set up and, at the rabbit’s ‘GO' signal, give it all they’ve got. The four flyers in that heat will race to the Finish Line. Two separate competitions are run; distance and speed. In speed, the Finish Line is above a visible landmark. In distance it is a pre-determined safe altitude. Once they cross the line, all the pilots will usually know exactly who won and each placing. In the event of a finish too close to be called, the onboard GPS unit of each pilot will give the exact data to determine the winner, much like a photo finish in horse racing.
The skills needed to do well are highly relevant to flying in formation with others, so this fun and über groovy competition will train useful skills of wingsuit flight, especially in groups. The event provides a way of measuring flyers directly against each other, to decide who is fastest and furthest without the potential problems of differing conditions when racing against each other in solo flights. It gives a very exciting race for pilots and spectators, without needing the huge cash sunk into Red Bull’s Aces competition – which sadly is not being run this year. It also provides an exciting competition that any wingsuit pilot can enter, whereas other high profile events are often invite-only.
This week at Skydive CSC there will be two 4-cross race events: Speed and Distance. The weather forecast looks good and the races will be kicking off on Friday morning for Speed. Saturday will be Distance, and Sunday is a weather (or hangover) day. Find out more and watch a video (also below) of this amazing concept-turned-reality at the Wingsuitrace.org website. Wingsuitrace.org will post results on their website as soon as they can, after each event at CSC. May the best pilot win!
(Note, there will be a 'Championship Edition' WOWS event at Skydive Perris in the fall, with no rabbit. Instead, four pilots will exit simultaneously form the large tailgate of the Skyvan, on the 'Go' signal. The Rabbit is a cool idea that gives a fair start from any aircraft, where the pilots cannot exit simultaneously.)