Heading into the race in Chiba, things looked extremely favorable for Mike Goulian and Team 99. The Edge 540 had been flying fast and exceeding expectations in pre-race, so the team had high hopes going into the gauntlet in Japan. Unfortunately, it was also an emotional roller coaster week for the team with the loss of personal friend and U.S. Navy Blue Angels pilot Captain Jeff Kuss, may he rest in peace.
The competition in Chiba was intense, and unfortunately the quest for victory ended early for Goulian with an over-G penalty that cost him the chance to advance to the Round of 8. “We’re very fast and making progress, we just need to make the pieces fit together and success will be coming our way,” he reports. Indeed, Goulian wasn’t the only pilot with an over-G penalty. Four pilots found themselves in the same position, and with the advancements in the design and engineering of many of these planes, it seems easier and easier to surpass the 10G limit. Rules state that an airplane can be over 10G for just .06 of a second and Team 99 was over for .062 of a second – hardly imaginable, but in a race this cutthroat – every millisecond counts!
Although the team did not advance as hoped, there was much cause for celebration in Chiba with the historic first win of Yoshihide Muroya. A first for Japan and all of Asia, Muroya’s win brought both cheers and tears to the crowd of over 50,000 fans as clouds broke over Tokyo Bay. A breathtakingly close battle, Muroya clocked a time of 1:04:992, barely edging out Martin Šonka of the Czech Republic at 1:05.097. Šonka claimed second place and the USA’s Kirby Chambliss took third.
All the pilots are now laser focused on upping their game for the next race in Budapest, Hungary on 16 & 17 July. Cirrus congratulates the team on their efforts and looks forward to cheering them on in Hungary!
Follow this link to get even more information on Michael Goulian and the Red Bull Air Race World Championship.