Brits dominate Ascot

Red Bull race series tightens

August 18, 2014

British pilot Paul Bonhomme closed to within two points of the Red Bull Air Race World Championship lead with a first-place finish in Ascot, United Kingdom. Joerg Mitter photo courtesy of Red Bull.

Austrian pilot Hannes Arch watched his lead nearly evaporate—or, more aptly, get blown away—on a windy day in Ascot, United Kingdom, Aug. 17, as the Red Bull Air Race World Championship closed in on the final legs of the season.

British pilots Paul Bonhomme and Nigel Lamb took first and second place, respectively, before a crowd of 29,000, leaving Bonhomme just two points behind Arch for the championship with three races to go, including the two U.S. stops.

Paul Bonhomme overcame windy conditions for a crowd-pleasing first place in Ascot, United Kingdom. Samo Vidic photo courtesy of Red Bull.

Bonhomme, in a Red Bull news release, called the victory his “greatest escape yet,” having nearly been eliminated in the first race of the day by a loss to Matthias Dolderer of Germany, who finished fourth overall. While Bonhomme bounced back, Arch was eliminated in the Super 8 round by penalties taken on the windswept course. Americans Kirby Chambliss and Mike Goulian finished at the back of the pack, still with just five championship points between them as the series heads to the Texas Motor Speedway Sept. 6 and 7.

Bonhomme’s victory in Ascot leaves him with 41 championship points to Arch’s 43; Lamb is in third place for the season with 35 points. Nicolas Ivanoff of France finished third in Ascot.

The 2014 season has marked a comeback for Red Bull as well, drawing large crowds for events unmarred by incidents following a long hiatus taken in part to address safety concerns. The series was suspended in 2010, and returned this year following safety enhancements and Red Bull's work to "strengthen development and commercial aspects of the race."

The Dallas-Fort Worth race will be followed by a Las Vegas stop in October, with the series concluding Oct. 25 and 26 in Spielberg, Austria.

Nigel Lamb finished second in the Red Bull race in Ascot, United Kingdom. Joerg Mitter photo courtesy of Red Bull.
Jim Moore

Jim Moore | Online Associate Editor, AOPA

AOPA Online Associate Editor Jim Moore joined AOPA in 2011 and is an instrument-rated private pilot who enjoys competition aerobatics.