Monday, October 6, 2008

Red Bull Air Race 2008 series - London River Thames

Redbull Air Race

Where else can you see single engine propeller planes zipping along the length of a river with relative pin point accuracy? Red Bull Air Race World series promise that and much more. The London leg was held on the first weekend of August this year. This F1 equivalent of air racing saw the world's best pitted against each other for points.

Unlike F1, the format for Red Bull Air Race is more straightforward and its pace more pulsating. There's no pit stops, no wrangling for pole position and a crash in this event is most certainly fatal. Competitors have to fly through a circuit marked by inflatable gates and the fastest time recorded wins. Time penalties are awarded for hitting thus deflating the air gates and pilots are disqualified for dangerous flying.

Redbull Air RaceMike Mangold of US was crowned the champion in 2007 but didn't seem to do too well in the current season. Needless to say, the crowd went ballistic when UK competitor Paul Bonhomme's plane flew past the grandstand. Bonhomme disappointingly didn't complete the circuit when he was penalized for deflating an air gate.

The 3hrs event would probably end after an hour or so if not for the side shows, which in my opinion, makes the ticket price more worthwhile. For one, I've never seen a helicopter flying vertically before much less performing somersaults and righting itself in a matter of seconds. Navy rescue helicopters, which were always the crowd pleaser, also demonstrated search and rescue tactics.

Redbull Air RaceThe finals proved to be quite popular with almost 80% of the tickets sold two weeks before the event itself. At £45 per ticket, they don't come cheap either. I managed to get a decent view over at the south bank and caught quite a bit of the action. Would I attend it in 2009? Probably not. After awhile, the flights seemed somewhat repetitive. But then again, I'm not exactly a fan of F1 either.

Read also...
Redbull - sponsor of Red Bull Air Race series

The Royal Ascot - betting at Horse race

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tahtimbo said...

My color is green:)(with envy) That is just fantastic to be able to get to see the races. The admission price seems pretty steep, but I think it would be well worth the price.

Anonymous said...

This is an interesting race...worth checking out! :)

Meaghan Fitzgerald said...

I'm so bummed I missed it - but the other version I'd love to see is the homemade flying machine events that Red Bull hosts - the ones that don't even make it off the ground and just fall into the river.

Sure, skilled fliers are fun, but watching people fail miserably is always good too ;)

Dutchie said...

We hv a sports channel that covers just abt all the events under the sun (n snow - haha !). It does dulled the senses after a while. However, being on the spot would no doubt bring out the buzz.

I hv read that the creater of the F1 n Redbull Race r paid millions per event, simply bec they thought of it first n market it well. That I do envy ;-/

C K said...

It was not too bad. It's one of those events that you have to attend at least once if you know what I mean. But like what you said, the price is a bit steep.

@my bug life,
Yep! I wonder whether the event will come over to Malaysia or Singapore given that both countries now host F1.

Oh, I would love to attend that. I missed that event (held in Hyde Park) as I was out of London for that weekend. I understand that the tickets go for £15 each. Honestly, I don't think those 'machines' can fly. It's just for the fun of it all I suppose. :)

Compared to F1, the Redbull Air Race certainly looks less glitzy so I wouldn't be surprised if the earnings for the event organizers (and thus the prize money) be much lower as well.

But I didn't know that the same person actually came up with both events!