After four podiums, including three near misses in second place, Australia’s Matt Hall on September 8 clinched the 2019 Red Bull Air Race World Championship in Chiba, Japan.
Hall, a former Royal Australian Air Force Wing Commander, previously was a three-time runner-up in the World Championship with one third-place finish. He clinched the 2019 title in the final run of the last Master Class race of the season in Chiba, where approximately 98,000 fans came out over the weekend.
“I’ve been through this, but there was more pressure because it was the last chance,” said Hall. “I was trying to play it cool, but deep down I was working really hard mentally to keep it en route.”
Home town hero Yoshi Muroya won the final race of the 2019 season to place second overall in the World Championship, just one point behind Hall. Martin Šonka of the Czech Republic, who won the championship last year, claimed third place on the overall podium. The Red Bull Air Race program also features Canadian Pete McLeod who joined the series as a 25-year-old in 2009. McLeod finished 6th overall in the championship among 14 pilots.
Hall made his Red Bull Air Race debut in 2009, when he claimed Australia’s first overall podium. By 2015, he kept up with British air racing legend Paul Bonhomme, but missed the crown by five points. The 2016 championship season was dominated by German Matthias Dolderer, with Hall taking another second place overall.
Then, Red Bull explains Hall’s MXS-R raceplane developed an issue that necessitated switching to an Edge 540, making 2017 a building season. Japan’s Yoshihide Muroya won the World Championship that year, with the Sonka in second and Hall sixth.
Air Race 1, which owns the racing program, announced shortly after the beginning of the season that the Red Bull Air Race will not continue beyond 2019.