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.
Red Bull Air Racing has returned for 2014, with Paul Bonhomme, twice a world champion of past years’ competitions, claiming a victory.
Pilots are invited to compete in two cross-country racing events coming up in May in Oklahoma.
Industry leaders at the U.S. Light Sport Expo in Sebring, Florida, in January were asked to grade the success of the Light Sport Aircraft (LSA).
AOPA thanks our members for their continued support in protecting the freedom to fly.