News Releases 1998
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CorporateJapanApril 2, 1998
Honda Sponsors Two Hot Air Balloon Grand Prix Events:
Hot Air Balloon Honda Grand Prix and Hot Air Balloon World Honda Grand Prix

Tokyo, April 2, 1998 --- Since 1993, Honda Motor Co., Ltd. has sponsored the Hot Air Balloon Japan Grand Prix. This year the company is sponsoring a special 5-stage event, the Hot Air Balloon Honda Grand Prix. In addition, Honda is also sponsoring an international event, the Hot Air Balloon World Honda Grand Prix, which will take place across America, Europe and Asia. Both events are being managed under the auspices of the Japan Grand Prix Organization of Hot Air Ballooning (JGO).

The Hot Air Balloon Honda Grand Prix series will take place over five stages up and down Japan. The opening stage will lift off on April 3 from Honda's Twin Ring Motegi circuit in Motegi-cho, Tochigi Prefecture, which opened in the summer of 1997. The second, third and fourth stages will be held in Saku, Nagano Prefecture, the Suzuka circuit in Mie Prefecture, and around the outskirts of Sendai City in Miyagi Prefecture, respectively. The final stage will be held on a site near the Kasegawa River in Saga City. The team with the most points from all five stages will be declared the Honda Grand Prix Champion. The final stage in Saga will also be the setting for the Saga International Balloon Fiesta, making it one of the biggest hot air ballooning events of the year in Japan.

The Hot Air Balloon World Honda Grand Prix, which will be a three-stage competition, is in its first year. The first stage (America) will be held in Monroe, Wisconsin. The second stage (Europe) will be held in Buurscheid, Luxembourg. The third and final stage (Asia) will be held in Japan, around the outskirts of Sendai City in Miyagi Prefecture, and is being promoted as the Sendai International Championship '98. The team with the most points from all three stages will be declared the World Honda Grand Prix Champion.

A hot air balloon team from Honda Motor will be competing in each of the above events.

Race schedule

1998 Hot Air Balloon Honda Grand Prix

Stage 1
Friday April 3 ~ Sunday April 5
Motegi Balloon Rally '98

Twin Ring Motegi facility, Motegi-cho, Haga County, Tochigi Prefecture (Grand Prix contest to take place from the 4th to the 5th)

Stage 2
Saturday May 2 ~ Tuesday May 5 (holiday)
Saku Balloon Festival '98

Chikumagawa Sports Field, Saku City, Nagano Prefecture (Grand Prix contest to take place from the 2nd to the 4th)

Stage 3
Friday October 9 ~ Sunday October 11
Suzuka Balloon Festival '98

Suzuka Circuit, Suzuka City, Mie Prefecture
(Grand Prix contest to take place from the 10th to the 11th)

Stage 4
Wednesday October 21 ~ Sunday October 25
Sendai International Balloon Championship '98

Sendai City, Miyagi Prefecture and Yamato-cho, Kurokawa County, Miyagi Prefecture
(Asia stage of the 1998 Hot Air Balloon World Honda Grand Prix)
(Japanese Grand Prix contest to take place from the 23rd to the 25th)

Final stage
Thursday November 19 ~ Monday November 23
1998 Saga International Balloon Fiesta

Kasegawa River, Saga City, Saga Prefecture
(Grand Prix contest to take place from the 19th to the 23rd)

1998 Hot Air Balloon World Honda Grand Prix

Stage 1: America
Wednesday July 22 ~ Sunday July 26
1998 Monroe Balloon Rally

Monroe, Wisconsin, U.S.A.

Stage 2: Europe
Friday August 28 ~ Sunday August 30
Mobilux Trophy '98

Bourscheid, Luxembourg

Stage 3: Asia
Wednesday October 21 ~ Sunday October 25
Sendai International Balloon Championship '98

Sendai City, Miyagi Prefecture and Yamato-cho, Kurokawa County, Miyagi Prefecture

For more details, please contact:
Japan Grand Prix Organization of Hot Air Ballooning
Address: 4-20-3, Noguchi-cho, Higashi-Murayama City, Tokyo 189-0022

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