59, and the Fastest Flyer

 

Was it me or was it the way it was written?

 

Was it me or was it the way it was written?

 

In one of London's free newspapers on 11th July I read a report about a man, Tony Uragallo, who at 59 had taken first place in World Base Race, a base jumping competition involving wingsuit flying that had just taken place in Hellesyt, Norway. Given his age, we thought it well worth a mention in the Pinboard. After all, there can't be many base-jumpers in their fifties.

With little background information in the article, I somehow formed the impression that Tony Uragallo was being portrayed as an adrenalin junkie who goes around wildly throwing himself off the edge of things in the hope that he'll get his 'chute to open before hitting the ground - with the obvious consequences if it doesn't! Some of that may be true, but when I did a bit of Googling, I found that, in fact, Tony Uragallo is a successful wingsuit designer and manufacturer, perhaps the world's leading, who has been doing this since the 1970's. He has also himself been, during that time, skydiving and wingsuit flying (I don't know if that's what they call it!). In fact this win at World BASE Race is only his most recent; a previous victory, among many, came at Gransee in 2010. His company Tonysuits makes wingsuits with which many of the freefall distance and time competitions - their website says "all … in recent years" - have been won. And they are in the forefront of research and development in the field.

Does this fit into our site. Well, let's see … over 50 years old? Check. Extreme Sport? Check - or rather, checkcheckcheckcheck!

We don't know what it takes to be a freefall skydiver in your 50's and compete with the best in the world, but we imagine you have to in the best possible shape. We'll try and contact him and see if he'll give us a comment. As they used to say, "Watch this space".