Blades Racing Team disappointed with inaugural Red Bull Air Race World Championship in Abu Dhabi, 9 February 2019

9th February 2019

After a strong 7th position in qualifying (achieving a 53. 748 result) Ben Murphy encountered technical issues at the first race of the Championship dashing his Final 4 hopes but reassures fans that the dream, and the championship, isn’t over yet!

Murphy’s qualifying result meant that the Blades Racing Team was pitted against Australian team, Matt Hall Racing for race day. The prospects for the Blades started to look promising as Hall surprised on-lookers with a race penalty for incorrect passing of a gate.

As Murphy was cleared in to the track, the former leader of the RAF Red Arrows, looked confident but things quickly changed as Murphy hit a pylon at Gate 7. Breaking his clean record of never hitting a pylon on race day. Murphy then incurred an additional penalty for over ‘G’, adding +4 secs to his track time. The result of 58.653 ended the round of 14.

Murphy, the only GB competitor in the Red Bull Air Race, has secured one championship point for the Blades Racing Team and an overall 13thplace finish, a stark contrast to finishing in 6th place this time last year. However, it’s a year-long campaign, not a single battle and there’s still plenty of opportunities to improve on last year’s 7th World Championship position.

Murphy said: ‘‘It’s been a tough day. The change in wind speed threw many of us off our game. When Hall made two mistakes, my strategy was to fly clean and quick – we had a great opportunity to capitalise on Hall’s errors which we didn’t. Coming into the track, I had an alternator failure which affected some of our electronic displays. Unfortunately, this distracted me just before setting up for my run, the track can be unpredictable at the best of times. We’re not going to dwell on the result and instead will use it as an opportunity to learn. We’ll refine and grow in readiness for the next race – there’s a lot more to come from us.’’

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