August 4, 2008
By AOPA ePublishing staff
American Kirby Chambliss stole the glory at the Red Bull Air Race World Series on Aug. 3 in London after the race favorite hit a pylon and failed to make the finals.
With Paul Bonhomme’s fall from grace, the competition is wide open for the overall victory with only four races remaining in the season. London’s final took place before a crowd of 40,000 spectators. The pilots at times flew mere feet off the River Thames on a rainy afternoon as they tumbled their way around the aerobatic race course.
“It felt great out there,” said Chambliss, who is now in second place for the championship, just two points behind Bonhomme. “The conditions had smoothed out a bit, so I was as aggressive as possible.” Chambliss has won two of the last three races after beating Bonhomme in Detroit.
“It was a classic case of trying too hard,” Bonhomme said after a cup of tea. He had an uncharacteristically error-filled run, hitting one of the Air Gates that mark out the course before abandoning his run. “When things aren’t going right you should just stop,” he said.
His arch rival Mike Mangold also hit an Air Gate, destroying the American’s chances of winning for a second consecutive time in London.
The next race takes place in Budapest, Hungary, on Aug. 19 and 20.
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