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Spitfire beats Red Bull MX2 over Isle of Wight

July 6, 2008

To celebrate the return of the Red Bull Air Race World Series to London on August 2 and 3 World Series leader Paul Bonhomme took to the controls of a 1940’s Spitfire to try his hand at air racing of a different kind.

Bonhomme’s aim was to test the speed and agility of the Spitfire against a modern day plane designed specifically for the Red Bull Air Race, the MX2, piloted by his World Series opponent Nigel Lamb.

This year marks the 70th anniversary of the first production line Spitfire and the 85th anniversary of the first Schneider Trophy race in the UK which was a speed race over 200km contested by the Spitfire’s predecessor, the Supermarine S.6b.

In a nod to the UK Schneider Trophy course which was situated around the Solent over Calshot and Cowes, Bonhomme and Lamb raced their planes on a timed lap around the Isle of Wight, using the stunning Needles as a natural start/finish gate.

The time trial and agility test brought together two of the world’s most impressive flying machines of their respective eras in a celebration of air racing though the ages.

The Spitfire’s superior speed meant that it made light work of the 40 mile lap of the island, timed at just 9m 35s, while the MX2 was slower, coming in at 11m 29s.

But the MX’s impressive cornering was displayed as it turned quicker through The Needles, showing how the development of racing machines has progressed over the decades.

Red Bull Air Race

Red Bull Air Race World Series leader Paul Bonhomme, said: “The aircraft that I’m flying is a real feat of engineering given that it was built in the 1940s, it’s an absolute pleasure and privilege to fly.

Fellow pilot Nigel Lamb added: “A Spitfire will fly a lot faster than an MX2 but the advantage the MX has is its phenomenal turning ability, thanks to its carbon fibre wing and strength. In the Red Bull Air Race World Series, our aircraft need to be suitable for the precision moves required to navigate the low-level slalom gates.

“On paper a Spitfire will clean up on the straights and the MX will gain in the turns, so the lap of the Isle of Wight was more suited to Paul’s plane than mine.”

Following the phenomenal success of last year’s event, Red Bull has announced that the world’s fastest and most exciting motor sport will be touching down in London for the second time this summer.

The Red Bull Air Race World Series will see the world’s best pilots back in the UK and racing just metres above the River Thames on August 2 and 3 2008.

Tickets are available at www.redbullairrace.com.

Thanks to Chris Wilson of TheMirror.co.uk who wrote this story – it is certainly going to be a busy weekend of fun and excitement – mark it in your diary – August 2nd/3rd

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2 comments

  1. […] Spitfire beats Red Bull MX2 over Isle of WightTo celebrate the return of the Red Bull Air Race World Series to London on August 2 and 3 World Series leader Paul Bonhomme took to the controls of a 1940’s Spitfire to try his hand at air racing of a different kind. … […]


  2. […] Spitfire beats Red Bull MX2 over Isle of WightTo celebrate the return of the Red Bull Air Race World Series to London on August 2 and 3 World Series leader Paul Bonhomme took to the controls of a 1940’s Spitfire to try his hand at air racing of a different kind. … […]



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