Balloon lands record in Bonnie Rock

27 Jul, 2016 02:00 AM

BONNIE Rock became part of world record history on Saturday afternoon when Russian adventurer Fedor Konyukhov landed his hot air balloon there about 4.30pm.

Mr Konyukhov's landing in one of Justin and Christine Bowron's paddocks broke the record for the fastest circumnavigation of the earth in a hot air balloon.

The 65-year-old completed the journey in just over 11 days, eclipsing the previous record of 13 days and eight hours, set by the late Steve Fossett 14 years ago.

Mr Konyukhov started the journey from Northam on July 12 and floated over the Avon Valley on Saturday morning before continuing his trek across the Wheatbelt.

Farmers in the Bonnie Rock and Mukinbudin area tracked his journey on the internet before following the large structure to its eventual landing site.

One of those farmers was John Hobbs.

"We were sitting there watching the Eagles play football on the television and we got a phone call to say the balloon was heading our way," John said.

As it drew closer John and his wife Jackie spotted the balloon when they went for a drive.

"It was really exciting and all these people were turning up - it was unbelievable," John said.

Local farmers pitched in by securing the balloon's anchor ropes to their utes and before long John estimated it was surrounded by about 100 people, along with a media contingent and iconic Australian adventure Dick Smith.

"There were kids jumping around and playing with the balloon when it was on the ground," John said.

"It was a great experience for everyone and something we will all remember."

Locals were encouraged to take parts of the balloon, with some opting for small pieces and others claiming bigger sections.

Fedor was accommodating with his time with the locals before returning in a helicopter to the team's base in Northam.

John said it was amazing experience and everyone was impressed at the balloon's size.



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