Edmonton pilot Scott Holmes is in Hannan, China this weekend participating in his second Air Race 1 event. Last year the event was held in Thailand but moved to China this year as the fledgling circuit looks for fan support all over the world. Air Race 1 pits competitors in the Formula 1 category of aircraft in mass launch events over closed circuits. The aircraft are tiny homebuilts with almost stock Continental 0-200 engines putting out about 100 horsepower. They can reach speeds of up to 250 mph.
The result is an exciting race product that is financially accessible to most pilots said Holmes, who also races his Cassutt Racer at the National Championship Air Races at Reno every fall. Holmes is by far the youngest and least experienced racer in the series but generally places in the middle of the pack in his category. Racing in China has its own challenges. “They don’t have a lot of the typical rules and laws and best practices that we’ve built in North America over the years. So we have to kind of use our best judgment in a lot of situations,” he told the CBC. “”We’re flying in China and it’s over like rice paddies and very tall trees and the river, the Yangtze River, is right beside us, he said. ”They told us if we fly east of the river, that’s the military zone, and we don’t exactly know what’s going to happen.”