Report from E. Demuyter

So far the report from Ernest Demuyter. His first victory in a Gordon Bennett Coupe was of course celebrated with triumph in Belgium, but the rest of the world did not take much notice of this. Gordon Bennett, well, a reminiscence to the pre-war time, but over soon. The race 1920 was taken so unimportant, that the competitors ranking 8 to 11 can’t be discovered in any list of results and the flown distances from rank 3 upwards were not measured or calculated but roughly estimated. Look back, dear reader, 1911 the results were exactly calculated down to ten meters, now rounded up or down to ten kilometres was sufficient. But the high regard of this race should soon change again, the air of a Gordon Bennett Race must not be underestimated.

Not only because the first victory of Ernest Demuyter the race 1920 owns a special place in history. Also, with this race, the internal American competition between the balloons of army and navy on one side and those of the Goodyear Tire and Rubber Company on the other side began. These institutions will use the races in the following years for testing the best and lightest material. Goodyear had created an extra research-department, dealing with the development of the new fabrics. By the way, a victory in a Gordon Bennett Race would have been a good public-relation for all the other products. Also the name of Ward T. van Orman shows up in the list of results for the first time. Aged 26 in 1920, this engineer of the Goodyear company will fly in totally 10 Gordon Bennett Races, finishing four of them as the winner.

Poor Harry E. Honeywell, sent to the race as favourite by the Americans, one has to feel sorry for him. 1912 he became third, 1913 and now 1920 it was “only” enough for the second place. But he had set up a new American record for duration (48:26 h). Demuyter had been much faster in the higher altitude. Flight-duration eight hours less, 16 hours earlier over Detroit, than Medori, Upson and Thompson, who landed there.

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