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Red Bull Air Race World Championship

Thursday, November 26, 2009
Dermott Brereton joined 300,000 spectators on the banks of Perth's Swan River to watch the world's fastest-growing motor sport: the adrenaline-charged Red Bull Air Race World Championship.

The high-energy world championship is like the Formula One of the sky. Spectators get a good look at the race as pilots fly at very low levels.

In just a few years, the Red Bull Air Race has become the world's largest spectator sporting event. It all began with the idea of mixing flying with the most exciting elements of motor racing, and it's been a most successful exercise.

Pilots fly a zigzag course in fast, agile and lightweight racing planes. They navigate a low-level aerial racetrack made up of inflated air gates. They reach amazing speeds withstanding intense forces of up to 12G.

The objective is to navigate in the fastest possible time, incurring as few penalties as possible. Points are won in each race and, of course, the pilot with the most points at the end becomes the Red Bull Air Race World Champion.

Touching down in eight cities across the world, each Red Bull Air Race is unique. Spectacular backdrops and jaw-dropping action guarantee that spectators experience one of the most innovative and exciting new sports competitions around today.

It's broadcast in 115 countries, with a global audience of 500 million viewers expected this year.

Dermott spoke with Hungarian champion, Peter Besenyei, who has been competing since the race began in 2005. He's competed in all cities on the circuit and says Perth is one of his favourites. The temporary runway is just a minute away from the hotel and contenders like it all being so compact. Energy is spent in the race, rather than battling traffic to get to the site.

At scheduled times, spectators can walk along the pit and have a word with the pilots. American pilot Mike Mangold was happy to sign autographs and talk to excited young spectators.

Austrian Hannes Arch turned the race upside down in his second season. He was the first European to win the title and became a national hero at home. He shattered the notion that success in the race must come from decades of flying military or commercial jets.

Hannes' background is in mountain climbing, hang-gliding and BASE-jumping. His focus, nerves of steel and fitness — with the help of techniques and technology — took him from 10th place to the pinnacle in his rookie season. He made the top three in every race except one, when he came in fourth.

Spectators settle in to picnic mode and even they get the adrenalin rush at watching aircraft reaching up to 400km/h.


Perth, Western Australia's capital.


Red Bull Air Race World Championship will be held in Perth on April 17 and 18, 2010. General entry is free. Grandstand seating is available and prices will be released closer to the dates. Check the website.

For further information

Red Bull Air Race World Championship

User comments
How dissapointing to watch the Red Bull segment only to discover you are using old footage from last year with no mention of Aussie Matt Hall who, although in his first season as a rookie, remarkabley finished in third place thus making it onto the podium for the 2009 season.Don't you think you may attract many more Aussies to Perth next year if they knew there was an Aussie for them to cheer for. Just plain dumb!!!

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