GOOD MORNING CHAPS! Jolly Ho, here we are reporting to you LIVE from a not-so-sunny Ascot! But where there's blue sky, there's hope...
Current conditions on track:
Temperature: 17.9 ℃
Air Pressure: 994.5 mbar
Wind Speed/Direction: 10kts/SW
The forecast for the weekend is looking to be around 18C on Saturday and Sunday – that's making for one of the coolest race weekend conditions of the season so far.
For the first time this season the pilots will be racing over land – that's going to shake things up as we get stuck into the second half of the season.
Being over the ground is certainly different. There are a lot more landmarks that as a pilot you get to look at, so your track across the ground can be more point-to-point – where when you’re over the water you don’t get that luxury, because it’s just the open sea. So there are more places where the pilot can place the airplane over the right spot on the ground, which I think is important for having a fast racing line
Ascot is here...are you ready?
If you missed, it, the pilots took a recon flight over the rolling British countryside earlier this week, taking in the sights such as the prehistoric Uffington White Horse in Oxfordshire and theRothschild family's former stately home of Waddesdon Manor... built as a "weekend residence for grand entertaining". What, ho!
Australia's Matt Hall has been busy since the last race in Budapest... He visited the DG Flugzeugbau factory in Bruchsal in Germany – DG are the company that developed and built the winglets for his MXS-R – and spent 5 days training and testing with the plane in Germany.
We've been waiting long enough... is it Matt's time? Could we be seeing a renewed race for the podium top spot this weekend?
McLeod and Team Garmin will be joined by Race Analyst Jeff Heck this weekend. It's all part of a wider strategy by Team Garmin to pick up where they left off in Budapest. "I don't have any magic or surprises for this race. I'll stick with the plan of flying fast, clean, and developing our data analysis capabilities," Pete has said.
It's pretty quiet out there, but it has stopped raining for a while at least. After temperatures of 40C on court at Wimbledon earlier this summer, the British summertime seems to have done a runner... but rain won't stop play this weekend!
Let's take a little walk down memory lane....
Last year's Red Bull Air Race Ascot also marked the fifth leg of the season. It took place on August 16/17 and the pilots flew in similar conditions – isolated showers through the week and some cloud and sunny spells, but generally cooler conditions. It was to become the coolest August in the UK since 1993... not sure whether August 2015 is on track to beat that record...
On the upside, cooler conditions can make for faster race planes...
Positive thoughts... positive thoughts... positive thoughts...
So let's take a moment to talk to the man with the highest hairdo in aviation, Mr Hannes Arch.
Ascot 2014 was, in short, a bit of a debacle for Arch. Penalties aplenty, including failure to turn his smoke on, meant that he ultimately finished up in 8th place overall. It was the pinnacle of a mid-season slump for the Austrian, but he bit back later in the season to regain his composure.
2015 has been a different story.
Arch approaches Ascot on the back of the Budapest win. He's snapping at the heels of Britain's Bonhomme, with 29 points to Bonhomme's 34 points overall.
Arch took the win in Rovinj,and with his victory in the last race, we've heard on the grapevine that he's now gunning for a four-in-a-row race victory... so no pressure to get Ascot in the bag ahead of his home race in Spielberg next month!
Here's a heads up if you need a reminder about the Ascot racetrack. With lots of landmarks on hand, it'll be all about that speed and precision.
GOOD MORNING, ASCOT!
The sun is finally shining and we're good to go!
We're kicking off Saturday with some Training action. Here's the start list for the upcoming Masters Training session today: