Of the 45 teams that signed up for this year’s 376-mile X-Pyr paragliding race, only four stuck the final landing. Here’s what happened.
For all intents and purposes, X-Pyr is as steeped in adventure as a race can get. The multiday hike-and-fly rally charts pilots and their ground operators over 370-plus miles of Spain’s stunning Pyrenees range.
A brutal new route, cloud cover, turbulence, hidden canyons, and malfunctioning equipment all made X-Pyr 2022 into quite a show.
On Sunday, June 26, 45 pilots and their ground operators departed from Hondarribia on the west coast. They’d have 6 days to navigate and “tag” each of the route’s nine waypoints in the specified order. The first pilot to tag all waypoints and arrive on the eastern beaches of El Porta de la Selva by July 2 would win.
Only four paragliders made it to the final waypoint before time ran out.
X-Pyr 2022 Results
This year, the Swiss team of Chrigel Maurer (pilot) and Ramon Krebs (assistant) took gold. He flew an uncatchable race, finishing some 13 hours ahead of the silver medalist.
“Every edition is a win on experience and exploring new areas, also this one brings us deep into the Pyrenees,” he said after the win. “Somehow it will work, and often it comes better than expected!”
Maurer’s victory is hardly surprising — he is perhaps the single most decorated paraglider in the sport, and 2022 marks his fourth X-Pyr win. He’s also reigned supreme at seven Red Bull X-Alps events, three Paragliding World Cup Association (PWCA) events, and 11 World Cups.
The Swiss flyer was but one of several highly regarded pros on the 2022 lineup, and the podium favored expertise. Fellow professionals Maxime Pinot and Pierre Rémy (both of France) swooped into second and third place, respectively. Jéremie Lager provided ground assistance to Pinot. Nicolas Frio assisted Remy.
Notably, Pinot won the Bornes to Fly race in 2018 and PWCA Superfinal in 2014. He came in second to Maurer at both X-Pyr 2018 and Red Bull X-Alps 2019.
As for Remy, the Frenchman was the paragliding world champion for 2017, the winner of the PWCA Superfinals in 2018 and 2019, and that’s just naming a few.
Only one amateur team, Simon Oberrauner (pilot) and Simon Volker (assistant) of Austria, made it to Porta de la Selva before the cutoff time.
Finishing Teams & Times to Goal
- Chrigel Maurer/Ramon Krebs (SUI) – 130:15:35
- Maxime Pinot/Jéremie Lager (FRA) – 143:18:33
- Pierre Rémy/Nicolas Frio (FRA) – 147:42:58
- Simon Oberrauner/Simon Volker (AUT) – 149:49:34
Twenty-eight teams, including that of American climber/filmmaker Cedar Wright and Mike Lester, were still en route by the race’s close. Thirteen teams dropped out of the race altogether, stymied by equipment issues, maladies, or game-ending collisions.
Wright, who’s a seasoned pilot, lost nearly a day of progress to high barometric pressure. “I’m not sure if you’re familiar with the term ‘yeeted,’ but I got yeeted over the canyon,” he explained, giggling. Time ran out just after he’d tagged the fifth waypoint.
Ultimately, relief, humor, and joy seemed to dominate this X-Pyr 2022 — the sky-high sufferfest unlike any other. Catch the awards and beachside afterparty from day seven below.