Pilots Looking For An Edge Attend Training Camp
Three Master Class pilots in the Red Bull Air Race World Championship and six members of the Challenger Cup seized the opportunity to take a mid-May Training Camp in Ocana, Spain. For the Challenger Class pilots, the experience could not have come at a better time, as it has been revealed that for them, the upcoming race in Russia will be a double-header with a Challenger Cup on Saturday and on Sunday.
Because of the unique nature of the Red Bull Air Race racetracks, pilots cannot recreate the circuits in their own backyards, and usually the only chance they get to fly through the Air Gates is at an actual race. So the Red Bull Air Race organises Training Camps that allow Red Bull Air Race pilots to practice flying in a racetrack in non-race conditions, with the goal to improve and fine-tune their competitive skillset. Attendance at such camps is elective, and at the recent session at the Aerodromo de Ocana, the Master Class pilots who came to sharpen their skills were Cristian Bolton of Chile, Yoshihide Muroya of Japan and Spain’s own Juan Velarde.
The Training Camp experience is arguably even more valuable for the Challenger Class pilots, who compete in a reduced number of races throughout the season. Training Camps are where these next-generation contenders developed the skills that qualified them for the Challenger Cup Super Licence in the first place, which enables them to participate in the category. In this latest camp, they made the most of the opportunity to hone their own race strategies as they worked out the best lines through the track to reduce their times, all under the guidance of Red Bull Air Race coaches.
“The Training Camp was very helpful. We worked on some critical angles, for example. I managed to hit two pylons on the same day, but it was all a good learning experience, and I definitely preferred hitting pylons in training rather than in a race!” stated Challenger Class participant Kenny Chiang.
Additional Challenger Class pilots taking off in Ocana were Baptiste Vignes, who, like Chiang, is in his third season of competition; Patrick Davidson, Patrick Strasser and Vito Wyprächtiger, who are new to the category in 2019; and Daniel Ryfa of Sweden, who has the longest experience in the Challenger Class with five completed seasons, yet clearly remains keen to learn more.
“This was an excellent opportunity,” declared the newcomer Strasser. “We were free to try some different things, like working on a perfect line and managing the best power setup. So for me it was a very good preparation for my first race in June.”
“It was great to be back in the racetrack and getting comfortable with flying again. I used the time to fly in different ways and combinations to get the most out of it before heading to Kazan,” Ryfa added.
The news that the Red Bull Air Race in Kazan, Russia on 15-16 June will feature a double-header for the Challenger Class means that most of the pilots from the Training Camp will be participating in at least one race above the Kazanka River. “Attending the camp was a valuable experience because I had not flown in a real racetrack since Fort Worth last November,” said Vignes. “Some important minutes of training for me between the pylons! What a great feeling – now I can’t wait to be in Kazan for my first race of 2019.”