The Amazing Air Race Fans
There is no denying that the Red Bull Air Race has the world's best fans! This gallery is dedicated to you all.
For the past 14 seasons, fans from around the world have supported their favourite pilot in the most unique and hardcore way. They came to races, dressed up and made the series what it is. Over the last few years we hosted hundreds of thousands of fans, who have witnessed the high speed, low altitude flying action. Here are some of the most memorable fans…
6. Camping out all weekend
At Fort Worth in 2014 we met Bobby and Belinda Bateman and their buddies, Kim and David Broom, parked up their Winnebagos on the edge of the Texas Motor Speedway ready to take in the action all weekend. The two couples were huge NASCAR fans and knew the speedway well, so wanted to see a new sport in their track.
"We've got the best seats in the house," laughed Belinda. "I mean we don't know who's good or who's bad, we're just watching and think it's really cool. We hold our breath every time they go through the pylons." David was quick to add: "Some of them get so low you can't even see them. When they pull up like that, the G-force has got to be unbelievable."
Obviously with the four fans hailing from Texas, there was only one pilot they were supporting that weekend: Kirby Chambliss.
5. A Fanatical Czech following
At every European race a Czech flag could always be found in the crowd, but when there were two Czech pilots in the Master Class, the dedicated fanbase came out in force – the 8/18 Fan Club was born. The ‘8/18 Club’ is named after Martin Sonka and Petr Kopfstein’s racing numbers, and the club has been growing ever since.
The Czech fans would flood Budapest, travel to Porto, fill the stands in Lausitzring, and this year in Kazan you could hear them singing outside the media centre whilst Sonka was being interviewed for in the Qualifying day Press Conference.
Both Sonka and Kopfstein said that their fans made every race feel like a home race. Especially when the hundreds of fans lined the banks of the Danube in Budapest. “The energy from the fans is pushing me forward. It's a great thing to have them all here We've had such great support from the Czech fans," Sonka said after the Hungarian race in 2018.
4. Americans stream to the speedways
Over the last six seasons, the Red Bull Air Race stopped in the USA 10 times, and apart from one stunning showdown over the bay in San Diego, the rest of those races took place inside iconic motor speedways. And the only thing more breathtaking than the speedways themselves was the passion of the American fans who poured into them and cheered on their heroes. Michael Goulian and Kirby Chambliss, as well as Kevin Coleman of the Challenger Class, always performed harder, taking energy from the amazing atmosphere that their fans gave them from the grandstands.
3. Porto fans line the Douro
The Red Bull Air Races social channel often received requests from fans asking for the series to return to certain locations. The Australian and Brazilian fans were very vocal, but the Portuguese fans were the loudest. They wanted the Red Bull Air Race to return to Porto and in 2017, after an eight-year wait, it did. And the fans returned in their droves, with more than 800,000 fans lining the Douro to cheer on their heroes. It was a sight to behold as they packed in where they could and enjoyed the action.
2. Fans flock to see Hannes, their home race hero
Hannes Arch was a superstar in his native Austria, and when the Red Bull Air Race returned in 2014, it had three seasons where the series raced at the Red Bull Ring in Spielberg. Set in the Styrian Mountains, it was a home race for Austrian hero Hannes Arch, who grew up in the area. And that meant thousands of Hannes fans filling the grandstands to catch a glimpse of their hero flying through the track. And he didn’t disappoint them. In 2016 he finished second and the crowd went crazy, waving their ‘Go Hannes’ flags.
1. Chiba: the home of the super fan
When it came to a fan top five, there was only ever going to be one winner, the Japanese fans who always brought the fan dedication to another level whenever the Red Bull Air Race came to town. The fans for the Chiba race made the pilots feel like film stars. They would wait for autographs, or just to say hello, outside their hotels and turn up at every opportunity to meet their heroes. When the series arrived on the Makuhari Beach in 2015, the tickets sold out months in advance, as Yoshihide Muroya's fans grabbed the chance to see their hero in action on home turf. More than 100,000 fans came to witness the action, and in every season since, the crowd numbers always remained high. The fans were also treated to seeing their hero, Yoshihide Muroya, win three of the five races.
The Red Bull Air Race touched down in 21 countries over its 14-season history, and it was the fans that dutifully watched at every one of those locations that made it so very special.