Greg Hamerton

ON DETAIL: GREG HAMERTON / JAMES HOPE-LANG

"Once I'd visited the Pyrenees I wanted to come back!"

Pilot: Greg Hamerton
Nationality: British
Birth Date: 20.09.1973
City: Crawley
Country: UK
Job: Marketing Manager
Web: www.flybubble.com
Glider: ADVANCE Omega X-Alps
Harness: SKYWALK Range X-Alps
Helmet: ICARO Fly
Sponsors:  Flybubble Paragliding
Assistant: James Hope-Lang
Nationality: British
Birth Date: 17.04.1968
City: Warninglid
Country:  UK

INTERVIEW

What is your greatest sporting success?
Flying 213km through the Western Cape mountains in South Africa this January. It was a day with unusually light wind and high climbs which allowed for some exploring. This flight had it all - I was on my own with my bivi gear, I got away early, made some tricky transitions, got up from down low, took some long blazing lines and had a safe landing at sunset.

When and why did you start paragliding?
1992, because studying to be an accountant made me want to jump off something high. I tried a taster day, and thought it was rather boring ... we just went down all the time. Then I saw one advanced pilot launch from where I'd started, and just climb up and fly off. I was hooked.

What is your mountaineering experience?
I love hiking through mountains and am comfortable with scrambling up rocky terrain, but I don't enjoy technical climbing.

What does your typical training week consist of?
A short walk or jog (with race kit) at dawn. 20 minutes of Freeletics (bodyweight exercises) before lunch. I try to get that done every day. Flying on weekends, or longer walks.

What are your best and worst sporting memories?
Everything else pales in comparison to flying. Best: a summer at the end of '95, the flying was full time and full on fun. Although I'm technically a stronger pilot now, the flying is not as rich and spiritual unless I push myself into new environments and really challenge myself: it's why I do bivi flying.
Worst: getting heat exhaustion on a bivi this January and being unable to ascend the 400m I needed to, launching from too low and ending frying up in the desert scrub. It was a cracking flying day but I spent it hiding under the road, too hot to move a muscle.

Why did you choose X-Pyr?
Once I'd visited the Pyrenees I wanted to come back! The race has such an epic setting, and such a poetic line, going coast to coast.

Have you participated on X-Pyr before?
No.

Have you flown in the Pyrenees before?
Yes.

What will your strategy be during the race?
Calm. Look after my feet. Watch live tracking after the race.

What excites you most about X-Pyr?
The chance to move fast and light through a wonderful landscape.

What scares you the most about the event?
The increasing opportunity to become a stupid pilot.

Why will he make a good assistant?
James is a self-sufficient pilot with experience of ultra marathons.

Anything else you like to comment?
Some sneaky race preparation https://youtu.be/gWviKf6sFsE