Thrills at the Red Bull Air Race

Last updated 9th June 2017

Why go?

The Red Bull Air Race roared back into UK’s skies in August 2014, after a four year hiatus, accelerating our four year old daughter’s flying obsession into overdrive.

The fastest motorsport on the planet, it’s a visual spectacle that Earhart and Wright brother’s fans – young and old – won’t want to miss. Even if you’re not an aviation fanatic, I defy anyone not to get a thrill out of watching the world’s best pilots skimming over grass and water, while making sharp turns through a hair-raising obstacle course of pylons.

Established in 2003, the now famous Air Race sees pilots fly one-at-a-time in a bid to complete the slalom course in the quickest time. The races are flown at weekends, with the first day for qualification and the exciting knockout finals the next. Whether you choose to attend one, or both days, you’re in for a treat.

What to see

Ascot Racecourse was the UK’s 2014 summer venue, and it proved to be a superb family location. Redbull’s enthusiastic team greeted the crowds on arrival, while Ascot staff assisted families skilfully through tight turnstiles.

The entertainment was as daring as the main race, with Breitling’s biplane wing walkers performing impressive upside-down stunts, and BMX riders wowing us with their tricks.

The finale was sensational, with pilots doing battle against blustery winds and towering trees. In the end, Brits dominated the podium, as Paul Bonhomme and Nigel Lamb triumphed in first and second place.

What to pack

Our picnic blanket turned out to be a godsend for our four year old, who needed a kip during the six hour event, and we were equally grateful for the multiple layers we packed to cope with Ascot’s wind tunnel. While it’s prohibited to bring your own refreshments, walking drinks caddies and food stands are on hand to feed the masses.

The fish and chips were top notch – our daughter did her best Pelican impression, wolfing down a piece of cod – but with 15-25 minutes queuing time, it’s worth packing a few goodies to stem toddler tantrums.

The crowd ranged from young singles and families to mature flying enthusiasts, all very tolerant of over-enthusiastic child flag wavers.

The lowdown

To make sure you don’t miss the next Formula 1 with wings, sign up to Redbull’s mailing list. It’s undoubtedly one of the most exhilarating family experiences in the sporting calendar.

Price: UK event tickets start at £30 per person; children under 9 go free. Early bird pricing is available.

Find out more: redbullairrace.com

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