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Matt Hall says Air Race should have been cancelled sooner

written by Adam Thorn | August 16, 2022

Air Race reigning world champion, and Australian, Matt Hall flying in the event’s previous iteration

Air Race World Champion Matt Hall has said he is disappointed organisers didn’t make the call to cancel this year’s series earlier.

The Australian added he was “gutted” at the decision but understood how tough it was to put on an event of that size.

On Friday, organisers of the revived “Red Bull” Air Race announced this year’s comeback event would be scrapped. Malaysia and Indonesia were already pencilled in to hold a leg, with a further race taking place at Lake Macquarie in NSW.

Hall wrote on his website, “I’m pretty gutted for many reasons as are the other pilots, fans and everyone involved.

“People may not realise that these races are $12 million (AUD) each to put on a world-class product that people expect. The logistics, safety, and operational requirements are huge.


“Air Race were passionate enough and brave enough to revive the series after Red Bull sold it, but the result probably shows what Red Bull achieved was quite incredible.

“It’s an opportunity gone begging for Lake Macquarie. We’ve raced in many awesome locations, but Lake Macquarie was lining up to put on a spectacular event in a really true blue Aussie setting.

“I am personally extremely humbled, grateful and proud to say that the work people have done here in Australia at a local level has been first class.

“The challenges back at Air Race sound like they are too big to overcome. Everyone understands how tough it is to put on events of this magnitude, especially right now, but I’m probably most disappointed that the organisers didn’t call this cancellation sooner.

“This isn’t the end of Air Race, but yes, the reality is sinking in that we won’t be racing at home or at all. At least not this year.”

The iconic event, which sees aircraft race around obstacles, was launched by Red Bull before the soft drink company announced its closure in 2019.

It was then set to be reformed by digital tech firm Touchpoint, with the first leg internationally held at the UK racecourse of Goodwood.

However, Touchpoint said on Friday “Challenges presented by COVID and further implications posed by the current global economic situation have simply been too great to overcome.”

The original incarnation of the air race hosted 94 championship series races around the globe. Touchpoint said it has attracted viewers in 187 countries and has been broadcast to an audience of over 230 million viewers with more than 2.3 billion media impressions worldwide in its most recent season.

It claims to be the largest live spectator sports event in the world, attracting more than one million spectators to a single air race on multiple occasions in cities such as Porto and Barcelona.

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