Fast Wings: Red Bull Air Race World Championship

This past weekend, in an Austrian town accustomed to the rumble of Formula One racers, the fastest pilots in the world convened for the final round of the Red Bull Air Race World Championship.  The victor: Nigel Lamb, a Breitling sponsored British pilot who placed second in the race, but took home the championship.

The winner of the race in Spielberg, Austria, was the French pilot Nicholas Ivanoff.  This accomplished ace won with a final round time of 57.468 seconds, which bumped his total series score to 42.  Though he flew well, the points awarded to first place were not enough to overtake Lamb’s ultimate score of 62.

Lamb’s main competitor was Hannes Arch, who was racing in his home country of Austria. Arch preformed spectacularly in the opening rounds of the race, but he received a 2 second penalty in the final round and lost to Lamb by a little less than a second.  The times: Lamb with 58.052 seconds and Arch with 59.839 seconds.

The Air Race has made a grand tour all over the world in eight different cities finally ending up in Austria, where the sport made its debut in 2005.  This past race was described by the Red Bull as, “the most challenging one yet,

The pilots were especially enjoying the challenges of getting used to the narrow 19 metre runway for their landings and takeoffs – a thin strip of tarmac between the grandstands and the pit lane that is normally used as the start-finish line straight for Formula One and other motorsport racing.

For Lamb, this is his first World Championship after a long and quite incredible career of flying.  According to his bio on the Red Bull site, Lamb applied to join the Rhodesian Air Force at the ambitious age of 11.  At age 18, he was finally accepted and got his wings.  He has won the British National Unlimited Aerobatic Championship eight times in a row.

Here is a video of Lamb trying out the track before the actual races.

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