Johnny Carr

Johnny Carr

Johnny Carr took delivery of his first hang glider in July 1974; it was a curved boom Wasp CB with a 240 square foot sail. A month later he entered his first competition at Cam Long Down near Stroud, Gloucester. To his surprise he won the big glider class and was 3rd overall. He had only entered the competition so he could meet other pilots who were doing this exiting new sport – but now he was hooked on comps as well.

In 1975 Johnny broke the British endurance record for prone flight on a Hiway 260 at Rhossilli and the following year got his first Class 2 glider, a Miles Handley Griffin. He went to Kossen that summer and came 10th in the World Championships. He won the Embassy British Championships at Pickering on another Handley glider, the Gulp. He also, briefly had a biplane hang glider that year but did not get on with in. It was that year a group of pilots, including Johnny, got together under Brian Milton to form the British League. The first league series in 1977 saw Johnny ending up second.

In 1978 he achieved fourth place in the European Championships at Kossen on a Moonraker and later played around with Griffins and the Moyes Maxi. In ’79 he took a Cyclone to the World Championships at Saint Hillarie and finished second behind Josef Guggenmoss of Germany. He also flew it in the US Masters and has a gold medal from the American Cup at Lookout Mountain that year. In 1980 he abandoned Class 1 and flew a Fledge 2 to finish third in the league and win another silver for Britain in the European Championships.

In ‘81 Johnny was persuaded by Rory Carter to fly an Airwave Comet, subsequently renamed the Magic. This Class 1 machine was the break through in performance the hang gliding world had been waiting for. It was also the year Johnny finally became British Champion; he also came 6th in the World Championships in Japan and was the first pilot to fly over 50 miles from Mere. In ’82 he won the British Open on a Magic 2 and in ’83 made 11th place representing Britain at the Tegelberg Worlds;

Johnny won the 1984 World Cross Country Championships and represented Britain in Class 1 for the last time at the ’85 Worlds in Kossen. After that he had a few lean competition years with just a British Out & Return record of 45 miles to his credit. He bought his Swift in ’93 and moved back to Class 2 flying. In 1995 he flew it to 5th place at the Class 2 Worlds in Spain. In ‘99 he made another bid for the Class 2 Gold at the Worlds in Italy but slipped to silver after a camera failure on his 50th birthday. He was gutted.

2000, quarter of a century in the sport, start of his new millennium, first ever UK Class 2 championship and Johnny Carr was flying both Class 1 and Class 2 gliders. The Swift had been re-classified into Class 4 so Johnny bought a Ghostbuster to continue in Class 2. He also generously offered to commission the trophy for the new championship and announced that he would do his best to ensure his name was the first on it. He achieved this in a close contest and shortly after flew his Litespeed to a task victory and second place in the Class 1 league final, his best League result since the 80s.

In his long career in hang gliding Johnny Carr has competed at the highest level – and still does so. He has represented his country many times – and still does so. He has twice met the Queen while representing our sport, been on the Competitions Panel for most of its existence and above all, enjoyed flying. It is a bonus that he is still with us and still competing.

In 2000 it was decided that national Class 2 hang gliding championship should be run. Because of his long association with this class of glider Johnny immediately volunteered to provide a trophy. As was fitting, he went out and won it himself that year.

Past winners have been:

2000 Johnny Carr
2001 Steve Elkins
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