Red Bull Race Wraps In Barcelona, Bonhomme Takes First

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This year's Red Bull Air Race World Championship ended Sunday in Barcelona, Spain, before a record crowd of 800,000 spectators, with the top place for the six-race series going to British pilot Paul Bonhomme, who placed second in both 2007 and 2008. "Fantastic, thank you Barcelona," Bonhomme said after letting out a loud shout for joy when he heard the news he had won the title on his cockpit radio. "It's been a huge amount of pressure. It's just a question of how you deal with it at the right time," he said. "I thought I'd better get my skates on and that worked." Second place went to defending champion Hannes Arch of Austria, and third to Australia's Matt Hall, the best result ever for a rookie. The 15 competing pilots earn points in each of the six races, and the final ranks are determined by the aggregate score. Bonhomme took three victories and three second places in the series, even though his Edge 540 plane was not as fast as Arch's for most of the season.

"It was a real good fight all year," said Arch. Among the three U.S. pilots, Kirby Chambliss took fourth place, Mike Mangold took seventh, and Michael Goulian finished 10th overall. Mangold, who won the championship twice, said he won't be back for the races next year, planning to spend more time with his family. "I would like to thank my team, equipment suppliers and fans for their unwavering support over the years," he said. "And remember, 'Speed is Life.'" The weekend of racing in Barcelona drew a total of 1.2 million spectators.