A really close call this week as the first real scare of 2009 occurred on Tuesday as Peter Besenyei's MXS fell out of the sky.
According to Nigel Lamb's blog, when cruising at around 2000 feet (approx. 600 metres) with himself and Matthias Dolderer on their way to Niagara Falls for a photoshoot, the Hungarian began to lose power due to a drop in oil pressure and tried to make a landing at nearby St. Thomas Airport (IATA: YQS) which was about seven miles (11.2 km) away. He came short over a wheat field, ended up flipping and severely damaging his MXS.
Lucky for Besenyei, he was able to get out within one minute with minimal injury to his person.
Unlucky however is that the MXS is too damaged to fly for this weekend's race so Besenyei's chance of his first world championship title has been dashed.
"Seeing Peter’s MXS flip over was horrendous. The immediate impulse is to try and see a better landing spot at a sprintable distance and opt for a controlled landing to get assistance to the downed pilot as soon as possible" writes Lamb.
In an official statement carried out by the Red Bull Air Race, Besenyei said "I lost oil pressure, which in the end caused the engine to fail, and I had to make a forced landing outside the field. The plane is damaged but I can repair it. The most important thing is that there was no injury. I’m 100 percent okay and that’s the most important thing."
Indeed, a scary moment had by all in the Red Bull Air Race, but luckily it had a happy ending. Besenyei will return for his home race in two month's time in Budapest.
Chambliss on Form on Friday
Kirby Chambliss has not had a good start but after Friday's compensation training - a result of bad weather on Thursday - the American was able to put a record 1:09.91 on the board in a track similar to the one that he won last year when the race was held on the other side of the Detroit River.
The American was almost a second and a half faster than Briton Paul Bonhomme while Frenchman Nicolas Ivanoff and 2008 world champion Hannes Arch were 2.30 and 3.02 seconds behind respectively.
A brand new Lycoming engine is the reason for this amazing comeback but in the end, it's the final race result that matters, not the practice times.
Hometown hero Pete McLeod had his best practice so far by fetching a tenth place. Could points be on the horizon for the Canadian at his home race?
Saturday will be the qualifying day, and with Chambliss adding himself to the championship fight, expect anything this weekend!