WORTHING Birdman entrants hoping their handmade gliders could fly them to the elusive 100m mark should think again – this year there is no £30,000 jackpot prize because of soaring insurance premiums.
The top prize of £30,000 would have been paid to anyone who flew unaided off the pier for 100 metres.
But after competitor Steve Elkins came within 14cm of reaching the target during 2009’s Worthing Birdman, insurers drastically raised their premiums to more than £10,000.
Town centre manager Sharon Clark, who organises the popular spectacle with the Town Centre Initiative, said: “It became uneconomical in our view to pay the insurers who were demanding more money to insure the 100m distance.”
Sharon said more than £20,000 had been spent on insurance for the top prize since the event started in 2008.
“This is money which we feel can be much better spent elsewhere.”
Sharon added: “This year we’ve decided to keep the £10,000 we would have paid the insurers and will instead be awarding it as the jackpot prize if any flier does manage to reach the 100m mark – this makes much more sense and if no-one wins then it will roll-over to next year.”
This year, organisers have also increased the guaranteed cash prizes for other categories, for example the first place winner of the Condor and Leonardo classes will get £1,000 – double what was awarded previously.
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