Las Vegas: Matthias Dolderer of Germany, on Sunday, won the Red Bull Air Race World Championship. The German had started his career in aviation when he was still a kid, growing up on his parents’ airfield in Germany.
Dolderer finished atop the leaderboard after the eight-stop international tour, which finished in Las Vegas, USA during the weekend of October 15-16. Strong performance all through the year meant that Dolderer had already done enough to win the overall championship before entering Las Vegas for the race. He’s been on every podium, at all the races this year and went far ahead of the other pilots.
The star performer of the air-racing had an unreachable lead of nearly 25 points at the end of the seventh race, held in Indianapolis, USA in early October. With the rule that a race win earns a pilot 15 points, which meant no one could catch him- he was there to be crowned only for his participation.
Speaking post the race, the German said excitedly, “I couldn’t imagine the emotions I have here, It’s an amazing feeling that pressure is now off.”
Further adding about the race and the mental conditions it requires, he added: “I was confident in every race, because I knew I could be a rocket on the track. I’d say 90% of this game is mental, as we all have planes that can go at the same speed.”
Speaking about the homeliness of the airfields, he quoted, “When I was five-years-old my parents opened an airfield, so I was always around aviation, When I was 14 I did my first solo in a glider. When I was 17 I got my glider licence and ultralight licence.”
Further in his career, he went on to fly ultralights and microlights for four years as a member of the German national team, before transitioning into aerobatic flying. A commercial pilot and an instructor, he credits his success today with that strong foundation in air sports when he was younger, as he says, “I think the basic foundation for all my flying was flying gliders – it gives you a really good feeling.”
Concluding with his early days at the air races he said, “From there on I always knew how to approach the airplane and what to do with it, how to explore the capability of the airplane. Aerobatics and competition flying help a lot.”
Las Vegas Championship 2016 was hit by strong wind conditions making organisers struggle, but the racing could, finally, take place at 4pm local time on Sunday. Further, with winds with more than 50km/h speed meant racing had to be abandoned as air gates were blown over in the high winds. And Matthias Dolderer was declared winner based on points he had earned previously.