Mike Goulian • June 21, 2018
Red Bull Air Race pilot Michael Goulian returns to one of his all-time favorite stops on Saturday and Sunday: Budapest, Hungary, the site of his first race win back in 2009. Since his win at the 2018 opener in February, the American has been at the top of the World Championship points, where he has recently been joined by Australian Matt Hall for a tie of 36 points each. “This,” Goulian says, “will be a fun season!”
There is no doubt that the stop in Budapest is going to be fun for the crowds of fans who invariably line the banks of the Danube to see the raceplanes dart under the Chain Bridge and zoom through the narrow racetrack right in front of Hungary’s Parliament building. But it is serious fun for Team Goulian, who are relishing their best-ever season start.
That is why, for the first time in 10 seasons of racing, they came to Budapest a few days early.
“We did something similar at the last race in Japan, and although the jet lag isn’t quite as bad between Massachusetts and Europe, the extra time still allows us to get relaxed, focused and race ready,” says Team Manager Pablo Branco.
Just before leaving for Hungary, the team got a big sendoff when Goulian performed at their home New England air show in Rhode Island. The locals showed him a lot of love, and Goulian gave it right back. “Our year is made of hundreds of practice flights and displays. By the end of the season, there’s a few remarkable flights. Unforgettable ones. Flying is right, music is right, crowd is fantastic, everything clicks!” he commented. “[Rhode Island] was one of those. I let it all out there for everyone at Quonset!”
Budapest, stop number four, marks the halfway point of the Air Racing season, and Team Goulian have already collected a complete set of race trophies – first place in Abu Dhabi, third in Cannes, and second in Chiba – not to mention earning pole position for the last two races in a row. What is next for the team as they face off again with Hall and the rest of the 14-pilot field?
“I don’t know, but we’ll find out when the racing finishes on Sunday afternoon. What we’re aiming for is to maintain our consistency,” Goulian states. “What I do know is that it takes an amazing team to be successful in this sport, and I have one of the best! Traveling the globe and competing at a high level has been a dream, and we’re hoping that the dream continues!”
Team Goulian’s race at the all-time classic stop of Budapest is only days away on June 23-24, 2018. For tickets and all the World Championship updates: www.redbullairrace.com.
Photos courtesy Red Bull Content Pool.
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