Battle tightens as Red Bull heads to Windsor
June 1, 2010 – Battle to the top tightens as the Red Bull Air Race World Championship heads to Windsor Ont., June 5 & 6.
June 1, 2010 – As the Red Bull Air Race World Championship prepares to
land in Windsor, Ontario – the fourth stop and only Canadian city in
the series – all eyes are on the widening field of title contenders.
In the most closely fought battle in the sport's history, at least five
teams are in the running for the championship title, including local
hero Pete McLeod, the youngest and first-ever Canadian pilot in the
championship. The Red Lake, Ontario native currently sits in 5th place
and is looking forward to the race on his home turf, flying above the
Detroit River on June 5-6.
Britain's Paul Bonhomme, on 31 points, is clinging to a shrinking lead
at the top of a pack of challengers that includes compatriot Nigel Lamb
(28 points), Austria's Hannes Arch (27 points), Australia's Matt Hall
(22 points) and Pete McLeod (19 points).
Bonhomme, who turned his waning 2009 season around with a victory in
Windsor, will be looking for the same to happen this year after
back-to-back third place finishes at the last two races in Perth and
Rio de Janeiro. "It is most definitely a three horse race…or possibly
four?" said Bonhomme. "No one is going to have an easy year. We're
still at the top of the table. That might change, but now I'm itching
with excitement to get into the track in Windsor to try and win a race."
McLeod has fond memories from last year's race in Windsor, where
despite competing in a relatively slow and heavy plane, he got his
season-best result to the delight of the home crowd. Spectators and
veteran competitors alike were impressed by the young Canadian pilot's
performance under pressure in 2009, especially on the challenging track
above the Detroit River which was made even more difficult by the
strong, changing winds.. With a faster, improved plane and a year's
experience under his belt, the Canadian ace is looking forward to using
the local crowd to his advantage in Windsor again this year.
"I'm stoked about returning to Canada for the next race," said McLeod,
who learned how to fly float planes in Ontario's rugged north and aims
to be the world champion by the time he is 30 years old. "Overall, I
feel I have an advantage in Windsor. It's close to home, and the
support of the Canadian fans really motivates the team and me. As for
the track, it was one of my favourites last season – very tight and
The city of Windsor is also looking forward to solely hosting Red Bull
Air Race for the second year in a row. Ontario's Minister of Finance
Dwight Duncanhas been full of praise for the race, which he said gave
the region an important economic boost last year.
The race in Windsor marks the half-way point of the 2010 season. The
next stop is New York on June 19 & 20. The world championship then
shifts toEurope for the final three races in Germany, Hungary and
Video of Red Bull Air Race Windsor Qualifying round will be available via satellite downlink.