It seems business as usual in the Bonhomme and Hall hangars, but there was a brilliant story unfolding in the racetrack today. Here's what the Master Class pilots thought of Fort Worth Race Day:
1st Paul Bonhomme
"It was hard work today. You couldn't take anything for granted, but I've got the most superb team and without them I couldn't do it. We saw today that the more risk you take, the more chance you have of a penalty. The really clever tactic is to know exactly where the limit is. Flying against Matt, the limit is a little further than against someone who is slower. I am taking one race at a time, one training session at a time. Las Vegas is just another race."
2nd Matt Hall
"The wind had picked up and the track slowed down by the time I got to the last run. I backed off ever so slightly because I knew I couldn't afford a pylon hit. I knew I had to get points, so it wasn't an all-out run to win it. This was definitely a track that rewarded risk, but to get through the day clean was my goal. I'm really proud with how I flew in the Round of 14 after Nigel put down such a fast time and I knew I had to push hard. And I was slightly disappointed I couldn't do it again, but second is better than fourth."
3rd Yoshihide Muroya
"The track looked kind of simple, but Gates 4 and 8 were quite tricky so it was very difficult to find the line. However, we have a good engineer analysing the track, so I'm lucky – I could easily find the right line. The team is working hard and we all are quite happy with the result. It's clear we are ready for the podium, so now we will be trying to win in last race."
4th Martin Sonka
"I'm really pleased with the result. It was a tough race for us as a whole team. We were trying to find the right set up of the raceplane, we had problems with temperatures and everything. There were many up and downs all weekend and then the final run wasn't great. It was very interesting and difficult race for us. We'll see what happens in Las Vegas. We'll stay fully concentrated on the flying and we'll see what the result brings, but it's a good chance for us to finish third in the championship, but there are some guys behind us. I'm not thinking about it, I'm just focusing on the flying."
5th Matthias Dolderer
"I'm a bit disappointed, I was really tight in the Round of 8 with Matt, but he was quicker. Finishing top of Qualifying was great for my confidence, I just have to do the same in Las Vegas. I think I'm on the right path and I will continue to do what I did here, but I'll fly more aggressively."
6th Nigel Lamb
"The fast time in the Round of 14 was from finally getting into the right space, having self-belief, and possibly settling down with last year's elevator control. The result in the Round of 8 was bad strategy and loss of focus. It's interesting – what do you do when the guy ahead of you has a penalty? I backed off too much and lost the rhythm. This season I seem to do badly in Qualifying and the do well in the Round of 14 – I just need to go that little bit harder in the Round of 8. I'm going to Las Vegas with confidence. I feel I've found my form again and I'm really looking forward to it."
7th Nicolas Ivanoff
"It's not good to finish seventh, but it's better than the last race. I don't agree with my penalty for excessive speed, the screen in my cockpit said 198kts. On the second lap though I was really unlucky. It was an interesting track because it was really technical. I didn't take risks, but I wanted to fly fast."
8th Pete McLeod
"I was flying the track well and going for the win. It's no secret that I don't like the 10G rule, but I was a little too long in the turn. I felt good out there and I thought I was on for the track record. I'd rather go down pushing hard than just setting a time. I'm looking forward to Vegas, the small tracks suit my raceplane, so I can fly my way into the results, I don't have to be dependent of the power of the engine."
9th Michael Goulian
"When you fly against Pete you know you have to go big or go home. Pete can be really fast, but he can also make mistakes. My job was to go out there and put some pressure on him and try to fly fast. It was the fastest we flew all week. We've been slow here, I'm not sure why, so I'm happy with what I flew, but it wasn't enough. I think one of the things we're going to look back on here in Fort Worth is that I just didn't take enough risks. In Vegas I'm going to try and take it that one notch higher and take more risks, to break that barrier and go for it as it's the last race of the year."
10th Hannes Arch
"I was sick all week long, which has been pretty tough, when I was trying to prepare I was struggling to concentrate and against that I tried to stay positive. Unfortunately I had a penalty in the gate, but I was doing great, time wise, before that. To me I thought I was inside the Gate, but the judges said I was too high. But I have to accept it. One of the reasons the top pilots were behind early on is because they're not taking the risks, they don't like to. This track is a place where you can take risks, so it gives the other pilots the chance to take risks and do well."
11th Kirby Chambliss
"I'll still go out in Las Vegas and push myself even harder. I was happy with my run, but made a stupid mistake going through that Start Gate, I don't know why I did that. Apart from that I had a pretty good run, but it still wouldn't have been enough to be the fastest loser. You know, some days you get the bear, other days the bear gets you. Well today, the bear got us. It's a disappointment to go out like this here in Texas, but that's racing and we're be ready to go back out in Las Vegas."
12th Peter Besenyei
"On the second lap I stalled the wing in the vertical turn and lost a second in time. I thought to get it back I would take the risk in the final turn. I pulled tightly and got the penalty. It was a risky turn, but if you take the risk and get it right, you're through to the next round. Get it wrong and you're out."
13th Juan Velarde
"While I was having a good run, in the last gate I tightened the turn too much. When we start turning we can't see the Gate, and by the time it was in front of me I was too tight and I hit the pylon. It is a mixed feeling because the overall picture is really good – the times are improving and we were in the middle of the field after Qualifying. But I made a mistake again, so that's something I need to work on. There's still improvement to be made."
14th François Le Vot
"I still feel proud and excited to be part of the World Championship, but I'm frustrated because it's my passion. I have been struggling with my race pace all season, but I still really want to perform well. I can't seem to get my method of working right, maybe I need to change my priorities. Pilots had to take risks and I did here. I'm a rookie, I had nothing to lose."