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Red Bull Flugtag in Auckland: All Black Beauden Barrett sets distance for teams to beat


Those competing in Auckland’s Red Bull Flugtag event have an opportunity to make history – not merely by achieving the furthest flight, but also by beating a target set by a sporting legend.

All Black Beauden Barrett has set a distance objective for contestants of the famous flying competition, by punting a rugby ball across the course.

Kicking the ball 55 metres from the launch site, Barrett set a target just shy of the 78.5 metre Flugtag world record – and 19 metres short of the world’s longest rugby conversion, which sits at 74 metres.

“There’s some pretty epic Flugtag crafts taking shape, so I’m excited to see if any have what it takes to go further than my kick,” said Barrett.

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“Kiwis aren’t famous for flying, but I reckon we have the ingenuity to set some pretty decent distances and maybe even take out the Flugtag world record.”

All Black Beauden Barrett has set a distance for teams to beat at the Red Bull Flugtag flying competition.

Supplied/Red Bull

All Black Beauden Barrett has set a distance for teams to beat at the Red Bull Flugtag flying competition.

The current titleholders, five aerospace and mechanical engineers from San Francisco who competed under the ‘Chicken Whisperers’ moniker, have held the crown since 2013.

Renowned for their sporting feat and their inventive theme – the quintet donned poultry-themed costumes – they took their homemade glider and soared 78.5 metres at the Long Beach competition in California.

The Chicken Whisperers’ impressive feat and Barrett’s rugby skills mean the bar for making an impression at this year’s event is set high, providing all the more motivation for the brave aeronauts due to take part.

The Chicken Whisperers set a new distance record with their flying machine at the Flugtag competition in California, in 2013.

Nate Herse/Supplied

The Chicken Whisperers set a new distance record with their flying machine at the Flugtag competition in California, in 2013.

The event, set to take place at Auckland’s Wynyard Quarter on March 5, will see 38 teams build flying crafts before launching them from the 6-metre flight deck, to see which can go the furthest.

The teams comprise a memorable array of inventions, from a colossal moustache to a supersized Kiwi, courtesy of Stuff-backed team Flying Laser Kiwi.

‘Mad Mike’ Whiddett, a Red Bull sponsored drifting racer and guest judge for the event, said he couldn’t be “more stoked” to judge Flugtag and see the teams take on Barrett’s challenge.

'Mad Mike' Whiddett will be guest judging the Flugtag competition.

Supplied/Red Bull

‘Mad Mike’ Whiddett will be guest judging the Flugtag competition.

“Beauden’s set a pretty crazy target for teams to beat, so I can’t wait to see if anyone can do it,” he said.

“Beyond just flying distance, I’m pumped to see how innovative the contestant crafts are.”

If blowing a sporting legend out of the water wasn’t enough of a gratifying prize, any team which manages to surpass Barrett’s target will win a year’s supply of Red Bull energy drink.



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