August 20, 2009
By Alton K. Marsh
How would you feel if you had worked four years to win an air race made difficult because it requires low-level aerobatics and altitudes as low as 20 feet? You’d feel like Mike Goulian.
Selected earlier this year as the top airshow pilot in the United States, Goulian on Aug. 20 won the latest in a series of Red Bull pylon races conducted throughout the world, this one barely above the Danube River in front of 650,000 people.
American Kirby Chambliss took third while fellow countryman Mike Mangold took sixth place.
“It feels amazing,” Goulian said after clocking a winning speed of 224 mph on the 3.5 nm course on a scorching hot day with temperatures more than 86 degrees F. It was his first career victory and moved him up to eighth place in the overall championship with 18 points. “This has been four years in the making. It’s been so hard to get the right machine, to get the engine working the right way. After four years of hard work this is amazing. I knew we had an airplane that could do it. It’s a great win.”
The final races of the season occur in Porto, Portugal, on Sept. 12 and 13, and Barcelona, Spain, on Oct. 3 and 4.
AOPA Pilot Senior Editor Alton Marsh has been a pilot since 1970 and has an airline transport pilot certificate and instrument and multiengine flight instructor certificates, aerobatic training, and a commercial seaplane certificate.
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