The Red Bull Air Race returns to the sporting city of Kazan on 25-26 August, where supporters of the RAF Benevolent Fund, the Blades Racing Team will make their competitive Russian debut against the backdrop of the city's picturesque Kremlin. With four races complete and four to go in his rookie season, pilot Ben Murphy talks about the team's World Championship campaign so far, and what they are targeting for the future.
We have progressed into the Round of eight in 50 per cent of our races so far, and of those where we didn’t advance, it was our Qualifying performance that let us down. So we are concentrating on consistency in Free Practice and Quali for the remaining four races – this will be the way to keep adding World Championship points to our tally.
I really enjoyed the Kazan race track last year, so I'm looking forward to returning here as a Master Class pilot; even though the track has changed, it is still quite technical and demanding. Of course, Kazan has a great sporting history, so I’m looking forward to feeding off that energy and putting in a good performance here.
We've had a busy time over the summer break. In addition to both performing with the Blades Aerobatic Display Team and doing Red Bull Air Race demonstrations at Farnborough International Airshow, we've carried out some modification work on the race plane, which will hopefully give us a boost in the remaining races.
I've also had time to reflect on which aspects of my race preparations and routines worked or didn't work and have changed a few things to make sure that I'm fully ready for the remainder of the season. And I'm itching to get back in the track! Nine weeks is too long to not be racing!
The goal for the remainder of the season is unchanged; to keep on learning and keep on improving. Of course, this is only our first season, so for me the goal has always been to prepare for 2019, and to learn as much as we can to be as strong as we can next year.