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Canadian pilot youngest ever to join Red Bull Air Race World Championship

Dec. 1, 2008, Toronto – For the first time in Red Bull Air Race history, a Canadian pilot will join the Red Bull Air Race World Championship in 2009 as one of four new pilots from four countries and four continents at the world’s fastest growing motorsport.


December 1, 2008
By Carey Fredericks

Dec. 1, 2008, Toronto – For the first time in Red Bull Air Race history, a Canadian pilot will join the Red Bull Air Race World Championship in 2009 as one of four new pilots from four countries and four continents at the world’s fastest growing motorsport.

At age 24, Canadian Pete McLeod, graduate of the University of Western Ontario and Northern Ontario native, will be the youngest pilot ever to debut in the high-speed, precision flying race. "I've been significantly younger than my peers in aviation all along, so for me this is normal.  I'm proud to represent Canada in the Red Bull Air Race World Championship.  Canada has a lot of great athletes and aviators, both past and present, I'd like to be the first to combine the two and show the world a little more of why Canada is great. My rookie season will focus on building a strong foundation to win a championship in the future.”

McLeod’s goal is to become a World Champion before the age of 30. McLeod was selected from six candidates at the Red Bull Air Race Qualification Camp in Casarrubios, Spain earlier this year where he was put through his paces and given the opportunity to prove his ability to become a future race pilot and gain the coveted ‘Super Licence’ – the essential pass needed to compete in a Red Bull Air Race. McLeod impressed the race panel at the Qualifying Camp both with his flying prowess as well as his determination to make his mark on the race early and get onto the podium.  

As far as 2009 goes, McLeod and the three other rookies including Japan’s Yoshihide Muroya (35), Australia’s Matt Hall (37), and Germany’s Matthias Dolderer (38) are looking to reigning World Champion Hannes Arch and his quick rise to the top as not only a role model but also the man to beat. The highly competitive and talented young guns made it clear that they see themselves as title contenders in the not-too-distant future. Red Bull Air Race Aviation Director Heinz Moeller said all four pilots had amply demonstrated that they are among the best pilots in the world. “It’s good to have some fresh new faces in the championship,” he said. “We knew they were all good pilots but they also pleasantly surprised us with their skills and the high quality of their performance. There’s a good chance that they’ll be out-performing some of the veteran pilots in their first season.” 

The full line-up for the Red Bull Air Race World Championship in 2009 is yet to be announced although the number of pilots competing may well increase from this year’s field of 12. 2009 will mark the largest number of rookies to ever enter the competition in one year. 

Although the 2009 race calendar also has yet to be announced, Canadian fans can look forward to spectacular and new race locations and exciting developments which are certain to make the Red Bull Air Race World Championship even more thrilling than in 2008.