Saturday, May 3, 2008

Need for MORE Speed

We had been looking forward to the Red Bull Air Race since quite some time. The RBAR is a basically an aerobatics event where pilots have to complete a complex course in the shortest possible time. It's popularly known as the F1 of flying.

We decided to attend the qualifying event on Saturday instead of the final race on Sunday as crowd would be a bit less, hence parking wouldn't have been a major issue. Yatin, Raajan and myself setout from LA to meet Deepak and his friend at San Diego. Tickets had been already booked online and we had an idea about what we were in for. The good thing though was since this is a relatively new event the ticket prices were kept decently priced. (15$ each)

The only way you ensure that an event becomes a big name is by making sure first that the event becomes popular and this can only be possible if you get the maximum amount of people to attend it. Thus the crowd turnout was quite sizeable at the event and since it was on the weekend with some excellent sunny weather, people were out to have a good time in the sun.

Food,drinks and merchandise however were a different story and were quite pricey. Then again this was being held in the San Diego bay area where I don't think that you can do something like this regularly. Restrooms were also easily accessible which was a good thing as the entire bay area was pretty much cordoned off. We initially drove a bit off path and were almost at the Mexico border. Soon though we were back on track and reached the South Embarcadero Island which was one of the two viewing points for the race.

We then met up with Deepak and took some good spots to view the race. Initially there was a show put up by the Navy the highlight of which was a F-18 Hornet roaring past us on full afterburner. The sound was HUGE and the entire bay reverberated with it. Soon the actual qualifiers started and it was treat to watch highly honed skills being put through razor edge tests. The pilots had to complete a highly intricate course with chicanes in the least amount of time. This was very similar to F1 where skills are put to the test a lot more than strength. Soon we were cheering for passes being completed successfully and for even shorter lap times.

In the end it was a highly successful event and everyone returned back tired but entirely satisfied. This was a very different outdoor experience akin probably to going to a Lakers game. (Probably I'll think about catching a Lakers game sometime now.)

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