Florian Bergér is currently sitting in joint top in the Challenger Cup standings, on 12 points, equal with Luke Czepiela. So far in his career, Bergér has picked up two championships and five career wins. He's only beaten by Daniel Ryfa, who has six, but he has been in the competition for one less season than the Swede.
Bergér's first race was Abu Dhabi in 2015 and he instantly left his mark on the series by missing out on a podium finish by under half a second. The same thing happened at race two in Chiba that year as well. The German pilot then collected his first career podium at the penultimate round set in Fort Worth. This was enough to see him go to the winner-takes-all final in Las Vegas where he finished fifth overall.
Since his podium, Bergér has never looked back - he was on a roll. At the season opener in 2016 he finished third behind Ryfa and Kevin Coleman. He followed that up by collecting his first race win in Spielberg. After this race win, he finished fourth and then collected a second and another win. He was leading the standings as the pilots went into the final. However, due to high winds in the Las Vegas desert, the race was cancelled. This gave Bergér his first title. He was happy being crowned the Challenger Cup Champion, but said he would've preferred to win by: "flying the actual race."
When Bergér returned in 2017 he was on fire for the entire season. The rules had been changed for the new season. It wasn't to be a winner-takes-all final. In 2017, all pilots were due to fly five races, with their top four scores counting towards their standings. After the seventh round, the top six were invited to the season final to get the last points added to their season.
Bergér had a season he'll never forget. In his five races he finished second in three and first in two. Going into the season final he was sitting at the top of the standings with 36 points, Ryfa was in second on 34 points, and Czepiela was third on 30. It was anyone's championship as they went to Indianapolis. Once again, due to weather conditions, the race had to be cancelled and the Qualifying times counted, giving Melanie Astles the first win of her career. Bergér finished fourth and only collected two points. However, Ryfa had a two second penalty and finished last, meaning that he handed the championship to Bergér.
So we come to 2018 and it's another learning curve for the Challengers. This year they're flying the Edge 540, and they're setting times close to that of the Master Class pilots, but they're also becoming even more competitive with each other.
At the season opener, it looked like Daniel Ryfa was going to take the win. He was 0.653s ahead going into the last turn when he clipped a pylon adding three seconds to his time and gifting the win to Bergér.
At Bergér's second race, which was in Budapest last month, he was beaten by Czepiela by an impressive 1.4s. So at this moment in time, Bergér sits joint top with Czepiela, both on 12 points.
Bergér is on course for his third title, but he's not going to find it easy. He's got eight other Challengers chasing him, and they're closing in!
The next race is in Kazan on 25-26 August. You can be there to see how he gets on, get your tickets HERE.