Matt Hall, the only Australian pilot ever to compete in the Red Bull Air Race, has been honoured in his home country for his outstanding career in aviation. Previous to starting his RBAR career in 2009, Hall was a Wing Commander in the RAAF, logging more than 1500 hours flying the F/A–18 Hornet.
The Australian Regional Committee of the Company of Air Pilots recommended that Hall be awarded the Australian Bicentennial Award for 2015.
The honour is awarded as an on going commemoration of the bicentenary to recognise outstanding individual contribution to Australian aviation.
"I am truly humbled to firstly be recommended and secondly to actually be recognised and receive this award," Hall said. "An achievement like this is just the icing on the cake and I am very grateful to the Australian Regional Committee and Honourable Company of Air Pilots for recognising me."
This recognition is perfect timing for Hall as he has just completed back-to-back wins in the Red Bull Air Race World Championship, which now puts him in the running to take the top spot from Matthias Dolderer. It will boost Hall's confidence even more going into the final two rounds.
Compared to Hall's usual high standards, it was a slow start to the season, but since Budapest he seems to have turned it around. "It's good to have three podiums in a row," said Hall. "That was our aim at the beginning of the year, but we didn't get off to the season start that we wanted, due to some unforced errors and injuries."
Hall seems to be over his injuries and can fully concentrate on racing in the style he's used to. His team are firing on all cylinders again. "We're now back in the routine and can begin to work on what we always work on; making sure that as a team, we're doing the ordinary extraordinarily well. We focus on being the best we can be. We don't worry about the other guys," said Hall.
It now seems Hall has his eyes firmly focused on catching Matthias Dolderer. There are 16.5 points between him and the German pilot, but Hall knows all about chasing the leading guy. "I can't control what the other pilots do so I have to concentrate on what we do. If I win the races, Matthias has to make it into the Final 4," said Hall. "15 points for a win is a big margin and I'm only 16.5 points behind. So if I win in Indianapolis and Matthias gets knocked out in the Round of 14, we go into Vegas just 1.5 points behind."
Hall made sure Dolderer wasn't going to have an easy ride for the final two races of 2016. "I've been in this situation before. Last year I was fighting for the World Championship and did well in the US races. So our strategy is to keep winning races. If we go into Vegas and there's less than 15 points difference, then Matthias better have a clean race," concluded Hall.