Mike Goulian Wins First-Ever Red Bull Race

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Aerobatic pilot Michael Goulian came to EAA AirVenture last month to collect the Bill Barber Award for Showmanship, and this month he topped that off with his first win ever in a Red Bull Air Race, after four years of competition. Goulian edged out Britain's Paul Bonhomme for first in the Budapest race, which takes place over a four-mile course along the Danube River, flying between pylons and under a bridge. "It feels amazing," Goulian said after clocking a winning time of 1:12.51. He got off to a slow start in this year's first two races, before making changes to his engine. "We made an airplane that was fast through the air but didn't focus on the horsepower," he said. "I felt like I was flying in a rowboat. After we changed the engine, it allowed me to just let the airplane fly and I haven't had to push it so hard." After winning the Budapest race, Goulian said he felt gratified. "After four years of hard work this is amazing. I knew we had an airplane that could do it. It's a great win." The win moved Goulian up to 8th place in the overall championship, with 18 points.

This year's air race series is shaping up to be the most competitive ever, organizers say. The four races so far have been won by four different pilots. There has also been a record total of 11 different pilots (out of 15) that have made it into the Top 5 at least once. The next race in the series is scheduled for Sept. 12 and 13 in Portugal, and the series will finish up Oct. 3 and 4 in Barcelona, Spain.