WATCH | Crazy people strap lawnmower engines to their backs and call it a race

26 July 2018 - 07:00 By Graeme Hosken

What does an intensive care unit nurse, part-time anti-poaching agent, orthopaedic surgeon and a chemical engineer on a two-ear gardening sabbatical have in common?

Nothing, until they lined up at sunrise on Wednesday morning on a dusty field north-west of Pretoria with lawnmower engines and parachutes strapped to their backs.

This motley bunch of adventurers, who come from South Africa, Mexico, the US, UK, New Zealand, the Middle East and Eastern Europe, have set out on a world first: attempting to fly their paramotors (paragliders with a two-stroke engine attached to a harness) from Hartbeespoort Dam in North West to Victoria Falls in Zimbabwe.

The 27 participants will, if successful, be the first in the world to fly 1,200km, across three countries, in what is described as the smallest flying machine known to man.