Kirby Chambliss, Nigel Lamb and Pete McLeod, exploring Abu Dhabi at the RedBull AirRace! Photo by Joerg Mitter
With the first stop of the 2015 Red Bull Air Race season complete, Team Chambliss (TC) didn’t get the start that it was hoping for. Kirby lost his canopy while in the holding area over Lulu Island and was unable to race. After returning from Abu Dhabi, the team sat down with Kirby to ask a few questions and get his perspective on the first race of the season.
TC: Kirby, you had a great week in Training and then Qualified 4th. What were you expecting on race day?
KC: “I was expecting a great finish after a great week of training. I was expecting to make the podium.”
TC: You were in the hold over Lulu Island when your canopy departed. What was your initial thought?
KC: “I won’t be able to race! I was super disappointed!!
TC: You have been called lucky many times. Do you think you’re lucky?
KC: “No, not really…I guess I’m sort of lucky. Not lucky because it happened, but lucky because it could have been worse!”
TC: Have you ever been afraid? Flying or otherwise?
KC: “I have been afraid! My daughter Karly was 18 months old and I was letting her taste watermelon and she swallowed it and started choking. I was seriously afraid, because I didn’t know what to do. My wife grabbed her, turned her over and patted her back. Next thing you know, out came the piece of watermelon and Karly started crying. That was a helpless feeling!”
TC: Anything you want to share with us about the upcoming race in Japan?
KC: “I am looking forward to Japan! I performed there as part of the World Grand Prix in the late 90’s, and really enjoyed the people and the country! Of course, I’ll have a new canopy and ready to go for it!”
Team Chambliss has been in the UAE for ten days and it’s been an interesting adventure so far. Anything can happen on race day and it usually does! The team has worked incredibly hard, they are hoping for a big payoff tomorrow! Kirby qualified fourth today, laying down a respectable time of 1:00.036 with his best time this week being 00:57.409!
The different teams made many modifications on the short break, some extensive, some minor. It’s important to remember that some modifications don’t always show the anticipated results. Time wasted and money spent… That’s racing! Even utilizing all the great data, the variables are many, you never know what you’re going to end up with.
Kirby has had some terrific times this week, hasn’t hit a pylon all week! Careful, right?
A record number of pylon hits this week forced the race committee to limit Qualifying to one run. One run in Quali equals a lot of pressure.
The Team is very positive and Kirby will be racing for an all out win in Abu Dhabi!
You can watch on www.redbullairrace.com at 1000 UTC time, that would be 0300 MT. Follow the Team on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram! Smoke On!
Today’s activities included flying, flying, and more flying in preparation for qualifying and race days! Kirby and the other pilots were able to take a breather and enjoy a boat tour of the race box as the day turned into night. The team’s evening was spent at the RedBull AirRace Conference, where they learned about the production behind the event and goals for the 2015 season. Smoke on!
With just three days left until qualifying day, the team’s activities were in full force! The morning began with a team photo shoot and a quick interview with Kirby. Kirby then took time to focus on the track and strategize his plan for the 2015 opening race. Flight operations began shortly thereafter, and he was able to complete two training flights on the course. After all training was complete, Kirby led Pete McLeod and Francois Le Vot in the traditional recon flight over Abu Dhabi. Closing the day with a few additional meetings, the team anxiously turned in for the evening.
Gregory Gourdet, a “Top Chef” contestant, takes a ride with two-time Red Bull Air Race World Champion, Kirby Chambliss!