American Tim Cone was crowned overall champion at the Air Race 1 World Cup Thailand, held at U-Tapao Naval Air Base, near Pattaya from November 17-19. Cone dominated the final in his Grove-Winged Cassutt racer to win the World Cup Gold class.
The U.S. flyer was initially relegated to third place at the final race start, but rapidly caught and passed fellow Californian Justin Phillipson then, in a repeat of his charge in the morning’s semi-final, passed Philip Goforth of Texas for the race lead and victory.
“I’m just unbelievably happy to have won,” said Cone afterwards. “I’m in love with Thailand and can’t wait to come back and defend my title next year. U-Tapao is an amazing venue and the crowds have been wonderful all week. My father served here In the United States Air Force in 1967 so to win the title here is just incredible.”
Behind the lead trio, Florida-based Swede and 2015 Air Race 1 World Cup winner Thom Richard fought Phillipson hard in the closing stages, but was forced to settle for fourth place, ahead of the home Team Siam Air Racing #22 ‘Hysteria’ flown by Bangkok-based Parisian Lionel Mougel.
The final Gold places went to Steve Temple of Sonoma, California and Ryszard Zadow of Waller, Texas, while Jerry Marshall of Denning, New Mexico was forced to retire from the competition.
Earlier, Swaid Rahn from Springfield, Georgia, was a delighted winner of the Silver Final, finishing ahead of ‘Miss USA’, flown by Chip Maples of Florida.
British racer, Trevor Jarvis in ‘Sonic Zoom’ repeated his weekend-long feat of heading the field into the first turn on Sunday, but was steadily overhauled by the pack, while Scotland’s Des Hart, who suffered a string of technical issues through the weekend was again forced to retire, giving up third place to Holmes of Edmonton, Canada in ‘Outlaw’, who took the chequered flag ahead of Paul Newman of Ohio, Kent Jackson of Washington DC and Trevor Jarvis.
Air Race 1 is known as formula one for air racing, with up to eight aircraft at a time racing competitively against each other while reaching speeds of more than 450 kilometres per hour only meters from the ground.
The event, which benefited from a demo launch last year, proved to be highly popular with Thai fans and tourists and saw a large number of spectators attend each day. Organizers now hope the Air Race 1 series can become a permanent fixture on the Thai sporting calendar.
Deputy Prime Minister, Gen. Thanasak Patimaprakorn, presided over the closing ceremony of the event Sunday and presented awards to the winning contestants.