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Red Bull Air Race Windsor

Red Bull Pilot Dies In Crash

August 17, 2010 @ 8:21PM

CASSARUBIOS, Spain – It is with great sadness that we share the loss of Red Bull Air Race pilot Alejandro (Alex) Maclean, who has died today at the age of 41 following a fatal accident in his native Spain while carrying out aerobatic training for an Air Show. Our thoughts are with his wife Emma and their two children aged 7 and 12.

The entire Red Bull Air Race community and the aerobatic fraternity have lost one of their most vibrant and passionate characters. Alex’s significant contribution to the growth and development of the Red Bull Air Race over the past six years and to aviation in general will be remembered forever by those who shared this journey with him.

The former captain of the Spanish national aerobatic team began his Red Bull Air Race career in 2003 and was a key figure in the evolution of the championship. A fiercely competitive streak led the Spaniard to accelerate the development of the MXS-R with fellow pilot Nigel Lamb and Alex kept his longstanding technician busy with an aggressive modification schedule.

Alejandro (Alex) Maclean during practice on Friday June 4, 2010 Windsor, Ontario.
Photo by Jack Rosenberg / In Play! Magazine

Known at the Race Airport for his expressive Latino temperament, Alex was a deeply sensitive and emotionally charged character who fought against obvious frustration when results weren’t forthcoming. Despite this, he continued to push forward with his loyal team and finished the 2010 season on a philosophical note, taking personal responsibility for a disappointing result.

While he worked his race team hard and expected absolute commitment, Alex treated his technician Jesús Cañadilla, team coordinator Carola Bisci and coach Eneko Larumbe like family. He showed a deep respect for those who supported him and placed great value on building genuine friendships. Definitely not one to suffer fools gladly, the articulate and considered pilot often made journalists work hard for their quotes but his level of introspection and self-awareness added a fascinating dimension to any interview. His colourful character was a welcome contrast to many of the more reserved pilots.

Outside the Red Bull Air Race, Alex was a dedicated ambassador for flying and was recently named as the 2010 recipient of the prestigious Paul Tissandier Diploma for his contribution to sporting aviation. Fascinated by the idea of flight since childhood, he started flying ultralight aircraft before moving on to high performance aerobatic planes and was a celebrated competition pilot on the European stage before embarking upon the next chapter of his career with the Red Bull Air Race.
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Video of Hall's Near Miss on the Detroit River

August 9, 2010 @ 11:55AM

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July 29, 2010 @ 8:07AM

Matt Hall hits the Detroit River during Saturday Qualifiying of the Red Bull Air Race Championship.
Photo by Jack Rosenberg/In Play! Magazine

Red Bull Air Race GmbH confirmed that for the future success and development of the sport, the World Championship will take a one-year break in 2011.

The organization will use this opportunity to fast track the technological advancements currently in the making which would further improve the already high levels of safety.

There is a need to revise the main organization and commercial areas to realize the full potential of the sport including the development and reinforcement of strong host city partnerships which would secure a long term race calendar.

Statement from Mayor Francis
The Windsor region has enjoyed the benefits of hosting Red Bull Air Races for the past three years, and during that time we have recognized the importance it has had in bringing us to the world stage.

It has been a signature sporting event that has been a huge boost to our tourism industry and a welcomed economic generator for the region.

It is with regret that the 2011 series of races have been cancelled, but we look forward to welcoming them back when racing resumes.

Our relationships with the organizers and pilots are solid and they have appreciated our partnership over the years.

We continue to seek out other opportunities and are active in our pursuit to promote the area and attract a diversity of international events. Windsor has a proven track record of hosting and partnering with premier world class events and we look forward to continuing to do so in the future including the 2013 International Children’s Summer Games

We thank the leaders of Red Bull Air Race for choosing us in the past to be included in their flight schedule, and when they are ready to resume their world wide race circuit we look forward to welcoming them back.

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Last minute team shake-up for Canadian pilot Pete McLeod brings valuable experience to the mix

June 3, 2010 @ 2:40PM

WINDSOR, Ontario – Canada’s Pete McLeod has replaced his technician for the team’s home round in Windsor this weekend on 5 and 6 June. Hoping to build on a strong start to the 2010 Red Bull Air Race World Championship campaign, the pilot has enlisted the help of Michael Goulian’s former assistant tech, Brad Huelsman.

The speedy restructure came about just days before the home race in Canada at what is a particularly high stress time for the team, already under the spotlight and with high expectations weighing heavily ahead of the race. McLeod says he and former technician Ted Reynolds parted company on good terms but admits that the decision had to be taken promptly to ensure a replacement could be found in time.

Bryn Lennon / Getty Images for Red Bull Air Race
Pete McLeod of Canada chats with his technician Brad Huelsman as they prepare for the first Red Bull Air Race Training day at the Race Airport on June 3, 2010 in Windsor, Canada.

“I’ve got to look at not only my own goals but also I have a team that relies on me to make decisions,” says McLeod. “We’ve got to make sure we have our best foot forward all the time as a unit. In terms of development and reaching my future goals I’ve never been one to waste time.”

Mutual respect

With almost 30 years of technical experience to tap into and a career in the Air Force to solidify his credentials, Huelsman is an experienced pilot who has built his own aircraft back in the US. He has also supported Michael Goulian in recent years as team coordinator before deciding to better exploit his mechanical know-how within the team in the role of assistant tech in 2010. Switching teams for the Canada race, Huelsman is enthusiastic about working with the young Canadian pilot and says he has a particular affinity with the country so it’s a fitting race to make the swap.

“I’m what you call a Can-Am, or Canadian-American,” says Huelsman, who spent stints living in Toronto and regularly travels from his current home in Dayton, Ohio, back to the Canadian city. “So I’ve got a lot of history right here in Windsor, halfway between the two places I’ve lived.”

Joining the up and coming team – McLeod is currently in 5th place overall in the championship – is an exciting prospect for Huelsman, who has quickly made himself at home in the new hangar. Used to working with Goulian, who is considered a true professional of the aviation world, Huelsman can already see the potential in McLeod and has no concerns about joining the young team.

“Pete grew up around aircraft so he knows machines,” says Huelsman, with the kind of authority you’d expect from someone with such extensive experience. “I’ve seen him fly in airshows outside of the Red Bull Air Race environment and he’s an excellent pilot. He knows the balance between pushing beyond risk and doing it in a calculated fashion; Pete’s got a really good handle on that. He’s moved up rapidly and there don’t seem to be any flat spots in his progression. It’s very exciting.”

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Bonhomme Top in Windsor Training, McLeod Experiments on Track

June 3, 2010 @ 1:51PM

WINDSOR, Ontario - Paul Bonhomme topped the time sheets in the first training session on Thursday ahead of the weekend’s Red Bull Air Race World Championship in Windsor with Hannes Arch of Austria and Australia’s Matt Hall close behind on the challenging track set up on the Detroit River. Canada’s Pete McLeod used his time in the track to experiment in search of the best racing lines.

Bonhomme, the defending champion who won the Windsor race a year ago, set the pace on a windy overcast morning with a time of 1:11.97 on the track that straddles the Canada-U.S. border. Arch, the hottest pilot in the championship at the moment with wins in the last two races, was just 0.72 behind even though he picked up a 1-second penalty. Hall was 1.89 behind in 1:13.86.

Dean Mouhtaropoulos / Getty Images for Red Bull Air Race
Paul Bonhomme of Great Britain in action on the Detroit River
during the Red Bull Air Race Training day on June 3, 2010 in Windsor, Canada.

The pilots generally use the first training sessions to get an initial look at the track, test the racing lines and get a feel for the wind conditions. They only use the timings in the first session as a rough indication of where they stand before opening up the throttle in the Friday training sessions that precede the Qualifying on Saturday.

“The track is interesting and keeps you busy,” Bonhomme said, noting the wind on the track was much stronger than expected. “I’m pleased with the time. We’re near the top, which is good. The wind is definitely going to be a factor.” Bonhomme was able to adjust to changes in the winds last year to get atop the podium but knows that Arch, Hall and Britain’s Nigel Lamb (4th on Thursday) -- as well as the two Americans Michael Goulian (5th) and Kirby Chambliss (7th) -- are all capable of winning the race, the fourth of the eight-stop 2010 season.
“It’s a lot harder out there in the track than expected,” said Arch, the 2008 champion. “My flying was quite rough. I was just trying to figure out how to get through the track. I had two pylon hits. On one I wasn’t really focused. The other was like ‘I don’t know how I can do it’. It was just a concentration thing. So I think I’ve found my lines. I just need to smooth them out and work on getting faster in the track.”

The Windsor race marks the midway point of the 2010 season with Bonhomme (31 championship points) clinging to a shrinking over Lamb and the hard-charging Arch. The next stop is in two weeks in New York.

McLeod, hoping for a top four finish, used the training session to experiment on difficult 03 June 2010 sections and was one of four pilots who did not complete a run due to disqualification. “It’s an interesting track, a tight technical track,” McLeod said after his first run. “I’m looking forward to some more training time in the track so I can clean it up for the race.
Last year there was so much energy from the crowd for me to race here and I’m looking forward to another best result in Windsor. A top four would be great.”

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Red Bull Air Race Race Format 2010 - PRINTABLE

June 3, 2010 @ 9:00AM

Red Bull Air Gate Rules and Penalties

June 3, 2010 @ 8:51AM

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Windsor Mayor welcomes pilots at Red Bull Air Race Airport

June 2, 2010 @ 3:10PM

Red Bull Air Race Windsor kicks off with official airport
opening as excitement builds for race weekend
Bryn Lennon / Getty Images for Red Bull Air Race

Mayor of Windsor, Eddie Francis speaks to the media at the Race Airport during
 the Red Bull Air Race Official Opening on June 2, 2010 in Windsor, Canada.

WINDSOR, Ontario – June 2, 2010 – Windsor Mayor Eddie Francis welcomed the Red Bull Air Race pilots back to southern Ontario on Wednesday at a ceremony formally opening Red Bull Air Race Airport. This opening marks the official kick off to the fourth round of the eight-race 2010 season which takes place this weekend on a now-famous track over the Detroit River straddling the Canada-U.S. border.

“This is perhaps the best part of my job, once a year I get to stand here and declare ‘Welcome to Red Bull City’,” Francis told the pilots and journalists at a press conference at the Race Airport. “It’s the opportunity for us as a community to come together and turn our attention to one of the most spectacular sporting events that we’ve come to be a part of. We too feel like part of a family. The people of Windsor are really excited to be part of another great event.”

Defending champion Paul Bonhomme of Britain said he was looking forward to another thrilling battle on the difficult track between Windsor and Detroit after he mastered a nerve-wracking shift in winds to win here on race day a year ago. Northern Ontario native and first-ever Canadian pilot Pete McLeod, who is fifth in the championship this year, said he will be looking for a career-best result in front of hundreds of thousands of fans from his home country after getting his best finish as a rookie last year in Windsor. “I’m just stoked to be racing again on my home soil. There’s so much positive energy here in Windsor,” said McLeod. “I’m hoping to have a good race. I like the track, it’s a challenge – tight and technical.”

Red Bull Air Race CEO Bernd Loidl said he and the pilots have been looking forward to returning to Windsor after being overwhelmed by the enthusiasm at last year’s race, witnessed by 215,000 spectators on both the Windsor and Detroit sides of the river. “We arrived here as guests last year but we left as friends and true partners,” he said. “It was clear from the start that this location was special. We experienced something really outstanding, a great warm welcome and tremendous cooperation from not only the authorities involved but also from the people of Windsor and from Ontario and from far beyond.”

Loidl said the tremendous warmth and enthusiasm for the race in Windsor is a telling illustration of Red Bull Air Race’s rapid development. “It is the fastest growing motorsport in the world and we’ll prove that once again in Windsor. We’re looking forward to a great race weekend.”

Bonhomme leads the championship with 31 points but compatriot Nigel Lamb (28 points) and Hannes Arch of Austria (27 points) are hot on his heels. Lamb and Arch said they were feeling confident for the race in Windsor. Bonhomme, who has been on the podium for a record-breaking 10 straight races, said it would be another tight battle. “We love Windsor because everyone looks after us so well,” he said. “We’re looking forward to another great race. The wind can cause a bit of drama here. Last year we trained all week with an easterly wind and then on race day it turned westerly. It should be an interesting race.”

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