The Red Bull Air Race is making its second stop of the year at the home of the world's largest Naval Reserve, San Diego. It is amongst the aircraft carriers and battleships that we will be watching the competitors try to make it to the top step of the podium.
Among those in the hunt for the championship is Paul Bonhomme, who won in style in Abu Dhabi. He is cautiously optimistic when it comes to this venue.
"The track is similar to last year's, but the other guys are gonna be quicker no doubt because they've made improvements on this but I'm looking forward to this," Bonhomme said.
Hannes Arch, who was the surprise contender for first in Abu Dhabi but lost out to Bonhomme by nine seconds due to penalties, will be looking for victory here in San Diego.
"After my success in Abu Dhabi, I'm really motivated for San Diego and definitely give my best," Arch said.
Nigel Lamb has some new wings in the form of an MXS. After a disappointing eighth place in Abu Dhabi with his old MX2, Lamb is hoping to improve on his greatest triumph—a third place finish last season in San Diego.
"I'm really looking forward to San Diego," Lamb said. "The pressure will be on me there as there are huge expectations for the MXS," he added.
The South African rookie, Glen Dell, is also excited for his second race in the series. After being disqualified in the first round in Abu Dhabi for flying too high and too low in his runs, he's hoping to get out of that funk and show his true skills as a pilot.
Hometown hero Mike Mangold is just glad to be back in the United States. The defending champion came third behind Bonhomme and Arch.
"It's close to my home and I don't have to travel 23 hours to get to the next race so good for us, we're back in the States for two races and we look forward to that."
Overall, it looks like we're in for some world-class flying at the Naval capital of the world. Bonhomme will try to go two for two, while Arch will show himself to be the surprise contender. Mangold will do his best to stay within reach of Bonhomme and Lamb will hope that his new set of wings will bring him into contention.
Photography Credit: Balazs Gardi, 2007