Jul 12


On August 20, 2003, Kirby flew in his very first Red Bull Air Race, a showdown in Budapest, Hungary that was just the second stop in the history of the sport. There he captured a podium spot in third place and has repeated on the podium in well over 50 percent of his Hungarian races, including his career-first win in 2004 and another podium-topper in 2017. This weekend, the Red Bull Air Race takes off for the first time at a new location in Hungary: Lake Balaton. 

Most of the previous Red Bull Air Race stops in Hungary have been right in the heart of Budapest, with the racetrack sandwiched tightly between the banks of the Danube. But Balaton is the largest lake in Central Europe, and its wide-open skies will be a contrast to Budapest’s urban setting.

“It’s always fun to visit a new location, and I’m excited to see another part of Hungary,” says Kirby. After he took part in June’s Quad City Airshow in Davenport, Iowa, he and his family headed to Europe well ahead of the Hungarian race, where they enjoyed some quality time traveling together while Kirby got accustomed to the 9-hour time difference from his base at Flying Crown Ranch.

Our team comes to every race aiming for a win, and tactician Paulo Iscold has been thoroughly analyzing the layout of the racetrack that will rise above the lake at Hungary’s popular resort destination of Zamárdi. While a top result in the 230 mph sport requires flying on the edge, our team pushed so hard at the season’s first stops that we ran into some race day penalties, and we hope to put that behind us at Balaton, the penultimate race on the calendar.

Looking forward to the first Free Practice ahead of Qualifying on Saturday and the race on Sunday, Kirby comments, “Hungary is a beautiful country, and Budapest has always been such an iconic stop within the series – I’m sure Balaton will be just as great!”



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