Red Bull Air Race: Pilot Comments on Transnational Racing

Sheiban ShakeriSenior Analyst IJune 1, 2008

The Ambassador Bridge between Windsor, Ontario and Detroit, Michigan over the Detroit River is the best indicator of the economic and cultural ties that bind Canada and the US together. There is even a Transit Windsor bus link between the two cities.

For the Red Bull Air Race, 12 of the best pilots in the world will take to the skies between these two great nations, and I had the opportunity to ask some of them what they thought of racing in two countries simultaneously:


Nicolas Ivanoff (FRA - Extra 300SR)

“It is the same race when you are in a plane, but it is a great idea to be racing between US and Canada”


Hannes Arch (AUT - Edge 540)

“It’s definitely different because it is (the) first time I race between two countries across the border. In terms of my personal view, it’s special for me because there is a lot of pressure. In the first race, I was second and in the second race, I was fourth, which I have improved since last year so I have a lot of pressure to deal with and I hope I can deal with it.”


Paul Bonhomme (GBR - Edge 540)

“I think it’s good (to be racing between two countries) and I look forward to crossing in and out of the states without showing my passport!”


Mike Mangold (USA - Edge 540)

“It’s great, and I’m hoping that someday we’re able to do a race somewhere in Canada, whether it’s Toronto, Montreal and we have talked about it over the years and I hope we get a deal up there. Again, Canada’s another great aviation nation; I mean they have a good air force, great airlines, and quite good airplanes themselves.”


Michael Goulian (USA - Edge 540)

“Its fun for us to be sitting here and looking across the river (to) Canada, but truthfully, all the racers see are 15 air gates out there and a timed clock that’s having us go as fast as we can.”


Steve Jones (GBR - Edge 540)

“It’s a pretty standard Red Bull Air Race for us, but it’s going to be very tight, very close.”


Glen Dell (RSA - Edge 540)

“I haven’t got a Canadian Visa, so I want to spend as little time on that side of the track as possible! Obviously, it’s interesting and it’ll be great, I’m sure.”


Kirby Chambliss (USA - Edge 540)

“For everybody else it might be a big deal (points out towards the other pilots), but for me, there’s no line that goes down the water that has me saying ‘oh I’m in Canada, oh I’m in the US’, because at 260 mph and a few feet above water, I don’t have much time to do a lot of sightseeing!”


Nigel Lamb (GBR - MXS)

“It’s the immigration control that when you go in and out of Canada, because it’s when you go into Canada, you show your passport! To be really honest with you, when we come out of the holding and are diving into the track, we are so focused on the strategy, the tactics and anything else that you don’t realize that you’re between two countries.”