After the huge success of the recent Cannonball Run event, I received multiple requests both publicly and privately from several members of the community to either run a repeat of the Cannonball or organize another similar race. Many different people remarked to me how much they enjoyed the friendship, camaraderie, and community-building they experienced during the Cannonball Run and the immense sense of accomplishment they felt from completing that very challenging flight, so I want to keep the positive momentum from that great event going.
I don’t want to saturate the calendar with too much of a good thing, though. I decided to limit the number of large community events I’m organizing in 2021 to one per season. Each of these races is inspired by an epic real-world motoring, cycling, or running event. Here is the schedule for the inaugural year of the MSFS Endurance Race Series (dates are tentative and subject to change, all races will start in the morning of the local time zone of the departure airport):
Spring: Indian Pacific Wing Race
April 3-4, 2021
Perth (YPPH) to Sydney (YSSY), Australia
1,773 nautical miles
Estimated flying time: ~15-16 hours at an average ground speed of 120 knots
Charity to support: Royal Flying Doctor Service
“…a solo, single-stage, unsupported, road cycling race ocean-to-ocean across Australia. The race starts in Fremantle, Western Australia and finishes at the Sydney Opera House whenever you get there. The clock does not stop. There is no prize money. Nothing is at stake except honour.” Thus reads the description of the Indian Pacific Wheel Race (affectionately known as the “IndyPac”), said to be cycling’s most grueling long-distance challenge. We will be re-creating this incredible overland journey by air, flying an eastbound course across the entire length of Australia from Perth (the closest airport to Fremantle) to Sydney.
Summer: Paris-Dakar Rally
Paris, France (LFPG) to Dakar, Senegal (GOOY)
July 3, 2021
2,277 nautical miles
Estimated flying time: ~19-20 hours at an average ground speed of 120 knots
Charity to support: Médecins Sans Frontières / Doctors Without Borders
For over 40 years, the Dakar Rally has been the premiere annual off-road motorsport event. In recent years the race has shifted locations to various places around the world from South America to Saudi Arabia, but we will be using the classic route of Paris to Dakar. This epic flight will take our pilots over picturesque France and Spain then through the harsh conditions of the Sahara Desert in Morocco and Mauritania before finally reaching our destination in Senegal.
Fall: The Terry Fox Marathon of Hope
Stage 1: St. John’s (CYYT) to Thunder Bay (CYQT), Canada
Stage 2: Thunder Bay (CYQT) to Victoria (CYYJ), Canada
September 4, 2021 (Stage 1), September 11, 2021 (Stage 2)
1,460 nautical miles (Stage 1), 1,349 nautical miles (Stage 2)
Estimated flying time: ~12-13 hours (Stage 1) plus ~11-12 hours (Stage 2) at an average ground speed of 120 knots
Charity to Support: The Terry Fox Foundation
Terry Fox is a household name in Canada, but to anyone not familiar with his story, he was a talented young distance runner until he was diagnosed with cancer. Doctors treated his illness by amputating his right leg and replacing it with a prosthetic. In Newfoundland on April 12, 1980, the 21-year old ceremonially dipped his artificial leg into the Atlantic Ocean as he embarked on a cross-Canada run to raise money for cancer research, with the goal of eventually dipping his leg into the Pacific when he reached his home province of British Columbia. To put the magnitude of his athleticism into perspective, extremely fit individuals train for months to run a single marathon. Terry ran 143 consecutive marathons on one good leg. Tragically, he had to stop his journey on September 1 in Thunder Bay, Ontario when his cancer returned. He didn’t survive to finish the race, but his perseverance in the face of adversity made him a national hero in Canada. To date, over $750 million has been raised in Terry’s memory for cancer research.
It is too long to complete an entire coast-to-coast flight across Canada in a single day, so we will divide this event into two stages on consecutive weekends. The first stage will be a re-creation of Terry’s actual run, from St. John’s to Thunder Bay. The second stage will be from Thunder Bay to Victoria, the remaining portion of Terry’s Marathon of Hope if he had survived to finish it.
Winter: Cannonball Run 2
New York (KJFK) to Los Angeles (KLAX), USA
December 26, 2021
2,150 nautical miles
Estimated flying time: ~18-19 hours at an average ground speed of 120 knots
Charity to support: The American Foundation for Suicide Prevention
IT’S BACK! The original event that started this madness is making a triumphant return for 2021. You know it, you love it. JFK to LAX. Get hyyyyypppe!
MSFS pilots should feel free to participate in as many or as few of the events as they wish. We will award glory and bragging rights to the winners of each individual race and then crown a grand champion at the end of the year to the pilot who completed all four events in the fastest combined time.
As with the 2020 Cannonball Run, all races must be flown using a single-engine GA plane. I will start individual threads for each race about a month or so before the start date with the rules for that specific race. If you have any suggestions for anything I can do to make these events truly special, please post your ideas in this thread. Good luck, pilots, and happy racing! <3
2021 MSFS Endurance Race Series Rules
- Each race in the series will have an individual winner.
- The Grand Champion of the 2021 MSFS Endurance Race Series will be the pilot with the fastest total time across all four events combined.
- You must fly a unique aircraft type in each event to qualify for the Grand Champion. You may not fly the same plane in more than one race.
3a. Additionally, you may only fly one (1) of the following three planes across all four races: Cirrus SR22, Extra 330LT, Pitts Special S2S. For example, if you fly the Cirrus in the Australia event, you may not fly ANY of the Cirrus, Extra, or Pitts in any of the subsequent three races.