As in 2014, the first race of the Red Bull Air Race World Championship was held in Abu Dhabi in February. After hearing great stuff about the 2014 event, a group of us got together with beach chairs and picnic snacks and camped out on the Corniche beach, right in front of the obstacle course. [Note: bring a sun shade …. there are no shade structures on the public beach!]
The Pros: The weather was awesome and we had a great view of the contestants taking on the obstacle course. Unfortunately the weather (heat + changing winds) caused the pilots some issues, but that actually added to the excitement of the event. The planes were beautiful, the skills absolutely impressive, and it was a nice day out with friends.
The Cons: We only stayed for a couple of hours, as watching the same planes doing the same course again and again got a bit monotonous in the end. Unfortunately the side acts, that could have been highlights in themselves, were rather disappointing. Two wingsuiters and two skydivers did the ‘opening’ act of the event, and one guy with a paramotor flew around the bay at half-time – but based on our expectations of a Red Bull event, these were rather boring interludes. Then again, Josh and I might be biased about what we consider exciting in skydiving, wingsuiting and paramotoring… But to all our disappointment, the Al Fursan arobatic display team wasn’t scheduled to fly this year, which was the highlight of everyone’s stories from the 2014 event. Pity.