Last Flight: Red Bull Air Race Says Goodbye to Hungary in Zamárdi
Fanni Kaszás 2019.07.08.
The 13th annual Balaton Sound festival has just ended in Zamárdi on the south coast of Lake Balaton, but the city is already preparing for another huge event which will be hosted by the lakeside city: the Red Bull Air Race World Championship.
Zamárdi is making its debut as host of the 2019 Red Bull Air Race World Championship this weekend, from July 13-14th. This year’s event is special because for the first time in the history of the Red Bull Air Race’s 13 years, it takes place in a brand new location, where no part of the series has been- the city of Zamárdi on the shores of Lake Balaton, with the competitions taking place over the lake, instead of the Danube river in Budapest.
So far, 12 competitions have been organized in Hungary, which have always been hosted by Budapest. However, Budapest Mayor István Tarlós stated: “…taking into consideration the observations and interests of the residents of Budapest,” whom did not give permission for organizing the competition, and because of the eventʼs “inadequate conditions,” he did not grant a permit for the race in the capital in 2019, so organizers had to look for a new location.
Cities around Lake Balaton and Velence quickly became top choices among the possible options, but in the beginning of March, Zamárdi, which hosts Balaton Sound and the Strand music festivals, won. Organizers say the new stop on the calendar “is sure to be a hit, with beach-side viewing and scenic backdrops.” According to the race’s website, it features aerial racetracks of air-filled pylons that demand a unique combination of speed, precision and skill.
The 2019 Lake Balaton Track Map photo: airrace.redbull.com
Using the fastest, most agile, high-performance racing planes, pilots compete against the clock to finish the course in the fastest time possible.
A second unique aspect of this year’s Air Race is that it seems it will be the last race held in Hungary, as the company has decided after more than 90 races in 16 years of the competition series that they will not continue the Red Bull Air Race World Championship beyond the 2019 season. The Hungarian competition will be the penultimate one, with one more race in September taking place in Chiba, Japan. According to their statement, the championships have given the “world’s most exceptional pilots the opportunity to compete in high-speed flying at low altitudes with extreme maneuvers,” however the race did not attract the level of outside interest as many other Red Bull events across the world, thus bringing an end to the series.
The Hungarian Public Road service gave out an extraordinary warning for the weekend for the M7 motorway, as the event will probably attract thousands of visitors, which will further increase summer weekend traffic.