The Red Bull Air Race is a sport in change all the time, but one thing that never changes is the fact that Budapest hosts a round.
Budapest has often been equated to the Monaco Grand Prix of the Red Bull Air Race. Like the uniqueness of Monaco in Formula One, Budapest does have a unique feature that no other Air Race has: the start/finish gate, which is not a pair of pylons but instead the Chain Bridge in which the pilot has to fly from underneath to enter the track.
Of course, water level is an issue and if it is deemed too high, then Gate One will be the start/finish gate.
To recap, the Red Bull Air Race made its Canadian debut by returning to the border but this time on the Windsor side as opposed to Detroit.
Paul Bonhomme won the race in style, taking it back from Kirby Chambliss who had squeaked by last year against the Briton; the American was only good for third place after a two-second penalty in the final round but he did take one point in qualifying and the track record.
Defending World Champion Hannes Arch took second spot completing his tour of the podium!
The race in Windsor was full of thrills and spills with pylon hits galore, and was witness to Australian rookie sensation Matt Hall making two rare mistakes—hitting the start/finish gate and slamming into a quadro, which required him to perform a Safety Climb Out (SCO).
Windsor was also the home race of Canadian rookie Pete McLeod and the crowds were out in full force to meet the youngest ever pilot to take part in the Red Bull Air Race. While the Canuck has had some terrible luck in his first season, he was able to put the jitters aside and took his first point of the season.
Most notably absent from the race were Japanese rookie Yoshi Muroya and Hungarian ace Peter Besenyei. Muroya was not allowed to race because of a safety issue on his Edge 540 after hitting a pylon in compensation training while Besenyei had to withdraw from the race before it even began because of a forced-landing in a wheat field near London, Ontario put too much damage on his MXS earlier that week. Besenyei walked away and will be ready to race in Budapest.
Budapest Track Information
The track in Budapest is another technical track and, as mentioned earlier, an element of danger is added with the entry to the track achieved from passing underneath the Chain Bridge.
A very scenic location on the Danube River, pilots will be flying in front of the Hungarian parliament building and Budapest receives the largest crowds of any Red Bull Air Race.
It has no quadros because of the tight space on the Danube but instead will have three vertical turning manoeuvres at either end of the track.
The pilot will have to fly from underneath the Chain Bridge, water levels permitting, and go through the first blue gate directly ahead. From there, he has to make a slight left turn going through another blue gate, and then a hard right to enter the first knife-edge gate closest to the Parliament.
Two more blue gates up ahead of him where he'll have to make a vertical turning manoeuvre and enter the track through a pair of blue gates again. The last few gates in the first lap are a set of red gates and blue gates which are closest to the race control tower and the final set of blue gates where the pilot has to execute a second vertical turning manoeuvre and do the track once more!
View Red Bull Air Race Budapest in a larger map
Will Hannes Arch make it two in a row in Budapest? Will Peter Besenyei finally hit the top step at his home race or will Paul Bonhomme finally win it here? We shall find out this week!