Michael Goulian wins the Red Bull Air Race at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway this weekend. Storm and I are relieved that he won as he is the only racer we had heard of before this trip.
We learned that the most excitement in this type of race is when someone cuts a pylon. The pylons fared well this weekend with only 2-3 cuts occuring. Without any pylon deflation thrills, watching the race is kind of like viewing the same airshow over and over.
Tips for Attending a Red Bull Air Race
I wish I could say that we understand how Michael won, but neither of us ever completely figures out how to judge the races. For instance if Storm turns turn to me and says something like, “That pilot unloaded in his VTM (vertical turn maneuver). That move will cost him.” The next sound we hear is the announcer hysterically screaming over the loudspeakers, “that was an awesome VTM, Michael really made up some time there.”
Since we never got a handle on the scoring, the most I can do to assist you if you choose to attend a similar race is to make these recommendations:
- Take binoculars – the Jumbotron screens are so far away that seeing the scores is impossible. All the announcers do is chatter inanely (much like at AirVenture) so loudly that you can’t hear the scorer. You will be the hero of your spectator section if you can zoom in on the screens and read off the scores as each competitor finishes.
- Prepare for the heat. Those aluminum bleachers become like human grilling pads in the afternoon sun. Take portable shade, gallons of water (or tons of cash if you prefer to pay $4 per bottle) and neck coolers if you have them.
- If you decide to attend qualifying, get the hangar passes. At first I thought they were an unnecessary expense, but if you don’t go in the area outside the hangars you never see the planes or pilots close up.