Thames course coup follows delicate negotiations
London will host the UK round of the 2007 Red Bull Air Race World Series in Docklands on 28 and 29 July, it was announced today – the first time a flying event of this nature has gained the necessary approvals to take place in the city.The news follows more than a year of complex negotiations and staging the race over a course on the Thames towards the east of the city, between the skyscrapers of Canary Wharf and the Greenwich Peninsula, home to The O2 (formerly the Millennium Dome), will be a mammoth task. It is likely to include a purpose-built runway and pits area constructed on wasteland, while barges will be anchored in the Thames to mount the 20-metre the ‘air gates’ around which the race will take place on a winding course.
The major viewing area will be in front of the O2 with a grandstand for 10,000, plus there will be a standing area for a further 13,000; the second main viewing area will be at Peruvian Wharf where there will be a second grandstand for 11,000.
Tickets for the qualifying sessions on Saturday 28 July and race day on Sunday 29 July will cost £20 and can be purchased at www.redbullairrace.com from 9am on 17 May.
The Mayor of London, Ken Livingstone said: “‘The London Red Bull Air Race is another exciting addition to the capital’s events calendar and will have the wonderful backdrop of the river Thames and the London skyline.”
Two races have been held in the series so far this year and it is currently being led by UK pilot Paul Bonhomme (who flies a 747 for a living); the next race will be in Monument Valley, Utah, on 11 and 12 May.
There will be more from pilotweb on the race preparations in the run-up to the event, and to see some footage from previous races, click on the air race photo icon on the right.