Paul Bonham’s Edge 540 leads the class of pilots to Chiba in Tokyo Bay this weekend, although weather conditions look set to delay proceedings for the second round of 2015.
As the pilots of the master class arrive in Japan the race airport, located on the waterfront, is yet to be completed, with the high winds and potential flooding caused by Typhoon Noul look set to delay the training sessions.
“Typhoon Noul is approaching our area and around midnight we should expect the passing of this weather system. We can expect gusts of up to 40kts and sea swells of 3-4m,” Chief Meteorologist at Weathernews Inc, Kunihiro Naito, told the official Red Bull Air Race website. “A tropical depression formed on 2 May and three days later, this was upgraded to a typhoon. It started on the East China Sea and has travelled around 6000km so far.
“The peak took place on 12 May and now it’s getting weaker. In another twelve hours, we expect it to be downgraded again. By tomorrow early morning, we expect the situation to clear with all cloud disappearing. We could still have some strong south-westerly winds.”
Going into this weekend Bonhomme leads the standings on 12 points, with Matt Hall of Australia second on nine points. Canada’s Pete McLeod is third on seven points, with last season’s vice-champion Hannes Arch and champion Nigel Lamb fourth and fifth respectively.
Also taking place today was the launch press conference for the championships third round in Rovinj, Croatia, with the race, so challenging and thrilling in 2014 due to the often difficult winds in the area, set to take place in the final weekend of May.
“I am looking forward to the race in Rovinj as I know lots of Austrian fans will come to watch,” said Arch at the press conference. “I also expect the race will be exciting as it’s spectacular to race here in the bay as you can feel the fans cheering as it’s so close, so it’s a perfect set-up.”
Mr Erich Wolf, General Manager of the Red Bull Air Race, also told the assembled press that the series is ‘honoured’ to go back to Croatia for a second time.
“We are very happy and honoured to return to the beautiful landscapes of Croatia,” said Wolf. “Last year was our first time in Croatia and the feedback was outstanding. We are very much looking forward to holding another exciting race to remind the world of the beauty of Rovinj and Croatia”.