February 3, 2014
By Jim Moore
Red Bull Air Race pilots can look forward to gusty winds and high Gs in Croatia, where the series will make a stop during its 2014 revival. Rovinj, a town with history and old-world charm perched on the Mediterranean Sea, will add the attraction of high-speed action April 12 and 13, just added to the schedule that now includes eight stops in seven countries spanning three continents.
The race series, returning after a three-year hiatus, will be a marketing showcase for energy drinks and high-energy motorsports alike—and it may also reclaim the attention of a younger generation, drawing youth to aviation as it was known to do when the sleek, high-powered piston singles dueled in years past. The 2014 schedule includes two U.S. stops: Fort Worth, Texas, Sept. 6 and 7, and Las Vegas, Oct. 11 and 12.
The field of 12 pilots vying for championship points will negotiate a low-level course that twists through inflatable pylons. In Croatia, race organizers including Sergio Pla, head of aviation at Red Bull Air Race, will be watching the anemometers with a keen eye, well aware of the katabatic winds known as the Bura (or Bora), which can exceed 100 knots.
“The track is going to be tight with high G turns and the big challenge could be the Bura winds," said Pla, in a news release. "If the winds show up, the race conditions will become marginal.”
Race fans can expect picturesque views of the race itself, set against the Mediterranean Sea, and a town known as a tourist destination, described in Red Bull’s news release as “a charming town of artists, fishermen with stone streets and pretty facades with a rich Mediterranean culture full of joie de vivre in its streets, galleries, taverns and restaurants.”
Tickets to the Croatia event will be on sale soon; tickets to the Fort Worth and Las Vegas races are already on sale, starting at $39 for general admission, $59 including hangar access, and $350 for the Red Bull Air Race Club.
AOPA Online Associate Editor Jim Moore joined AOPA in 2011 and is an instrument-rated private pilot who enjoys competition aerobatics.
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