The Red Bull Air Races won't be back next year, the organizers said this week. The one-year hiatus is needed to develop strong host city partnerships and secure a "long-term race calendar," according to Red Bull. Some late-in-the-game venue changes and cancellations disrupted the race schedule for this year, and a couple of near-accidents raised safety concerns. Brazilian pilot Adilson Kindlemann flew into the Swan River in Australia in April, and Australian pilot Matt Hall smacked into the Detroit River in the Windsor race, though he stayed aloft. Neither pilot was hurt. Red Bull said the organization will spend the next year working to "fast track the technological advancements currently in the making which would further improve the already high levels of safety."
Leaders in several of the host cities expressed dismay at the loss of the event, which brings in millions in tourist revenue everywhere it goes. At the Red Bull website, fans worried that the hiatus will stretch on and the races won't be back. Red Bull spokeswoman Barbara Proske told the Windsor Star that it's too soon to say if there will be changes in the race venues. "Following 10 years of rapid growth, the organization had decided that it needed to make the tough decision to take a break for 2011 in order to implement the changes required with regard to the restructuring of the organization and, importantly, to develop the various commercial areas of the business," she said.