Ecoracing.ie has been specifically designed to be easy to use. If you have any queries, then your first point of reference should be the Race Guide. Here you will find how to decorate your balloon, track its’ progress and do everything to help you win and have some fun. However, if you have deliberately chosen not to read the instructions in the Race Guide, you may wonder about the following

ABOUT DASHBOARDS AND CODES

I’ve gifted an Activation Code, but I can’t decorate it.

Yes, the key point here is that the activation code has been given to someone else. So, it is now not yours and will appear in someone else’s dashboard for them to decorate.

I’ve gifted an Activation Code, but the recipient has not received them.

The most likely explanation is that you have inserted an incorrect email address.

I can’t get to my dashboard.

Have you created an account? Without an account you don’t have a dashboard. When you sign in, the system takes you directly there.

I’ve gifted an Activation Code, but I don’t think my relative will redeem it. Does the money still go to the charity?

Yes, is the answer. Many people buy balloons purely as a mechanism to donate towards their favourite charity. They are not that bothered about taking part.

I’m having trouble with creating an account.

Sometimes when browsers autocomplete fields they can interject spacing.

Do you limit the number of balloons that can be decorated?

It is probable that you are unable to see beyond 2 balloons due to the lack of scrollbars within the decoration container. If you are on a PC scroll down the balloon.

ABOUT BALLOONS

What makes a balloon burst?

Real balloons made of latex rubber are notoriously vulnerable and your virtual balloon is no different. If you chose thin rubber to make your balloon fly higher and therefore faster, your balloon could just explode if the wind speeds become excessive.

Balloons flying at lower levels are often struck by geese flying at higher altitudes than normal birds. If you balloon is at a very low level and heading for rocky Earth, it could even strike an electricity pylon or church spire. Conversely, flying at the highest altitude possible increases the risk of bursting from excess swelling through intense sunlight or orbital debris, for example.

So, to create a potential winning balloon, it pays to check the prevailing weather patterns before your race starts and chose your balloon parameters accordingly. 

If my balloon bursts can I still win? 

Absolutely you can! The health status of each balloon is calculated every 15 minutes and whether your balloon wins the race is dependent on several factors, some of which can be influenced by yourself, some of which are purely weather based. When a balloon’s health deteriorates below zero per cent, it will burst / pop.

If your popped balloon happens to be in the lead, you may still win, because:
a) Your chasers may pop too. 
b) The wind direction might change completely and the balloon start flying back on themselves. In effect they never catch up with you. Your balloon will only become invisible once other live balloons have passed your position.

Why is my balloon flying in a different direction to the others? 

British weather is dominated by maritime systems and the Jet Stream, so whereas a high-pressure zone can sit stationary over the Azores off Africa for months, British weather changes daily. Similarly, North American air masses are multi-directional

If your balloon hits a sudden windy squall, it can be retracked into another front as per diagram. Your balloon will then start flying in a completely different direction to the other race participants.

Whilst that might seem disconcerting / worrying it’s not the end of the world. And that’s because the winner of the race is the balloon that’s flown the furthest in ANY direction

ABOUT GAMBLING

Are the Ecoracing and Rentaballoonrace systems gambling? 

Gambling is defined by Dictionary.com as the activity or practice of playing at a game of chance for money or other stakes. Chance is defined as an event where there is no predictability of outcome or ability to control it in any way.

Betting money on the result of a professional game of football or horserace is classed as gambling as the outcome is uncertain, and you, the gambler, cannot influence or change the football players or lawfully manipulate the race horse. Similarly, a lottery is gambling as the prize winners are chosen at random, and winning is just pure luck or chance.

In contrast, both Ecoracing and its sister bespoke platform Rentaballoonrace.com are considered games of skill where you, the balloon purchaser, can personally alter the helium content, thickness of rubber and balloon shape in order to gain advantage. This is after studying the prevailing weather patterns to decide what parameters to choose to maximise performance under those conditions. An Extract from the UK Gambling Commission FAQs explains further

Do I need a [gambling] licence?

‘To be a genuine prize competition there must be an element of skill, knowledge or judgement that is reasonably likely to prevent a significant proportion of people who wish to participate from doing so, and prevent a significant proportion of people who participate from receiving a prize.

Genuine prize competitions are free from statutory control under the Gambling Act 2005 and therefore do not require a licence.’

In summary, our virtual balloon race systems are not gambling and needs no special licence. As a ‘belt and braces’ strategy, we now ask questions of the main winner too.

WHAT IS THE ENVIRONMENTAL IMPACT OF REAL BALLOONS?

Companies that manage and organise real latex balloon races completely miss the point when trying to justify why real latex balloons are environmentally acceptable. 

They say, for example, “The acceptable way to run a balloon race is to only release items that are biodegradable. All of our balloon race kits contain these items. Our balloons are made from latex which is a natural product which will break down at the same rate as an oak leaf….Our balloon race tickets are made of thick paper and DO NOT involve string or the use of plastic valves when attaching to the balloons.” 

What they say is possibly true - latex balloon fragments can biodegrade at the same speed as an oak leaf when contaminated with soil, but that statement is misleading. The full question is really ‘how long does it take the balloon fragment or oak leaf to fully disintegrate and what happens if it falls on grass pastures, not a ploughed field’, the answer being years not six weeks. 

However, the biodegradability of the balloon fragments is not the primary issue at all. The real issue is that birds, animals and sea creatures such as turtles try to eat the balloon fragments because they are brightly coloured.

Similarly, those balloons that do not burst i.e. just lose helium but remain intact, also kill when being attempted for eating by birds and animals. When a bird pecks at one of these deflated balloons, the rubber envelops the bird’s beak and asphyxiates it.

The companies are also disingenuous when it comes to how many balloons come back to Earth intact. It’s far more than they would have you believe. They don’t all get to five miles (8km) altitude and burst into bits. There is lots of empirical evidence to suggest that most balloons don’t get above 2000 feet (600m) altitude because of wind and turbulence. So far more come down semi deflated than burst into bits as suggested.