North American pilots cheered by 90,000 in Japan
Japanese motorsport fans were crazy for Michael Goulian, Pete McLeod and Kirby Chambliss at the third stop of the Red Bull Air Race season in Chiba on 3-4 June.
Chiba (Japan) – Ninety thousand Red Bull Air Race super fans went wild at Chiba, Japan on 3-4 June as their hero YoshihideMuroya claimed his second consecutive home win. And while the cheers were loudest for the local darling, the knowledgeable motorsport devotées were also shouting the names of the North American pilots they’ve come to admire over three annual stops in the city: Pete McLeod of Canada and Kirby Chambliss and Michael Goulian of the USA.
All three North Americans advanced to the elite Round of 8, and at this race, it was Massachusetts native Goulian with the highest result of the trio, missing out on the Final 4 by just 0.118 of a second for fifth place.
“I honestly feel really disappointed. We did one of the fastest times of the day – the second fastest in the Round of 8, and it would’ve been the fastest run in the Final 4,” said the Team Goulian pilot. “We climbed up the ladder all week, going faster and faster. And when the pressure was there, we did it. I’m so happy with the team’s performance and mine. You just need a little bit of luck on your side and we didn’t have that today, but it will come our way and we’ll keep knocking on the door.”
McLeod was looking for another podium like the third place he claimed at the season opener, but he finished seventh on the day after incurring an over-G penalty. Nonetheless, the leader of Team McLeod holds a solid fifth in the World Championship standings, tied in the points with Goulian, ranked sixth.
“We’d seen a ton of over-Gs from other pilots on that corner this week, and unfortunately it was my turn today,” described the Canadian, who makes his home in Ontario. “Our raceplane is performing better and we are flying really consistently. I just need to forget about this over-G and move on. It’s always on the margin if you want to be competitive. Even coming through a gate, you just go until there’s no space. But there’s a lot of positives to take away from this race.”