For the penultimate round of the competition, the organizers of the Red Bull Air Race could not have picked a better location than Las Vegas. With its casinos, hotels, and especially its car racing circuit in the Nevada desert, redesigned for the occasion, everything came together for what promised to be an enthralling poker game in the sky.
During the qualifying round on 11th. October, Peter McLeod held nothing back. At more than 350 km/h (220 mph), the Canadian beat the British Nigel Lamb and German Matthias Dolderer to the post, completing the course in less than 49.6 seconds.
But big surprises were still to come, because finally, the next day, everything went wrong. Wind gusts exceeding 55 km/h (35 mph) swept the circuit bringing down the pylons, one after the other, like a house of cards, leaving the race director forced to make a hard decision.
Jim DiMatteo, Race Director - Red Bull Air Race 2014:
"Unfortunately, due to the weather, the wind, and the windgust especially we have to discontinue the race for today. What that results in is that we’ll use yesterday’s qualification round to determine the winner."
A decision allowing Peter McLeod to "hit the jackpot", at 30, the youngest pilot to win a round of the Red Bull Air Race competition and move from sixth to fourth position in the standings. A victory that leaves the Canadian with mixed feelings, even so.
Peter McLeod, winner of the seventh inning - Red Bull Air Race 2014:
"It feels great to be on top of the podium, I’ve thought about this for a long time. It is a little different than I imagined it, getting there with a qualifying win rather than a true win on race day but there is not much we can do with the weather for sure."
Well, what can you say, that’s the way it goes, and all bets are open for the upcoming eighth and final round of the competition. Without doubt Lamb, Arch and Bonhomme, the first three in the overall standings will be there with just a handful of points separating them, with the outcome to be played out on the last straight at Spielberg in Austria on 25th and 26th October.