Saturday, May 31, 2008

Air Racing News, but with a twist ...

I took the liberty of pulling all of the Red Bull Air Racing news out of this evenings post so I could point something out (after the news). For those who come here for the news, here it is:
Today's Red Bull News:

Air Raid! We get a first-hand taste of the Red Bull Air Race World ... - AutoWeek
... Red Bull offered up a ride in a two-seat aerobatic plane as part of its media activities for the Detroit round of the Red Bull Air Race World Series. ...

Red Bull Air Race Detroit/Windsor Video B-roll available via satellite -
Canada NewsWire (press release), Canada
TORONTO, May 30 /CNW/ - Red Bull Air Race ( lands on Detroit/Windsor this weekend- the first time the 10 city world series will be ...

Red Bull Air Race: Reporter's Diary Day 2 - Bleacher Report, CA
We were given a greeting by the CEO of the Red Bull Air Race. After the initial ceremonial greeting, us media had an hour to go around and interview the ...

Air race offers instant high: Rehearsal for weekend show wows ... -, MI
This weekend's Red Bull Air Race World Series is going to wow an already near-sellout crowd of more than 100000, based on the oohs and ahhs of office ...

... modifications to his Edge 540, British competitor Steve Jones posted impressive times in the practice sessions ahead of Sunday's Red Bull Air Race. ...

G's (six of them, in fact) what a ride - Detroit Free Press, United States
But there's nothing everyday about the Red Bull Air Race World Series, the Formula One of the skies, and the daring young men in their flying machines who ...

Boaters will have to steer clear of planes this weekend - Detroit Free Press
Sharing the ranks with other major cities worldwide, Detroit is one of ten locations selected to host a leg of competition in the Red Bull Air Race World ...

New motor sport flies in - Detroit Free Press, United States
Added Bonhomme: "I can fly in and out of Canada without my passport." Back on the river Thursday, Carnell Crosby focused on capturing video of the planes on ...

Now, let me present a question to the air racing fans - do you ever recall a time in the last five to ten years when air racing received this much press (see above)? Last year there was more hype in Reno than normal because of the movie Thunder Over Reno, but I don't think it received the amount of press like we see presented above. Noteworthy is the fact that Red Bull spends a lot more advertising money promoting their series. The difference in marketing dollars is very apparent when you compare the two websites, too.

Having grown up in Reno and being able to watch the air races from my rooftop as a kid in Lemmon Valley, I'll admit that I am biased toward the Reno Air Races. I still believe that the sights and sounds of the planes racing around the pylons together adds to the excitement the fans experience, regardless of what class is on the course. No, I haven't been to see a Red Bull Air Race yet. Yes, I want to see the Red Bull Races (hey, I'm an aviation fan!), but it doesn't look like it will be this year, despite the fact they are so close to Indianapolis this year.

While going through the news tonight I experienced two emotions. The first was amazement. I was marveling at how well Red Bull has promoted their series. The second was disappointment (anger? frustration? I know, more emotions). Why don't the Reno Air Races get this kind of attention? Couldn't one argue that they've been the "Formula One" of the skies for a lot longer, flying the same types of planes (in one class). Then we can add to that fact that they have five other classes of racers as well. Biplanes, T-6s, Jets, Sports and Unlimited.

I'm not the first one to make any of these points either. Last year, just before the Reno Air Races, a number of air racing fans debated this issue on
AAFO on some of the following threads:

Now, some of the contributors on AAFO have pointed out some good counterpoints that fans like me don't really consider. The most compelling point I saw in one of the threads noted above was that Reno is a small market and when it is time for the Air Races, the area truly becomes challenged to accommodate the event (hotel rooms are always full). I might add that city has done well at hosting the event over the years also. I've always had a good time when I've returned to the city.

How about some TV coverage? Red Bull is getting it. If the Reno area is at capacity when the Reno Air Races are in town, could the event benefit from some kind of TV contract?

So, now you know how I feel? How do you feel? Comments on this thread are open, or feel free to email me at

Lots of the Reno Air Race teams are listed on our Air Racing Links page.


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