Ascot Set to be a Blinder!

Posted on: 15th Aug 2014

Looking toward Ascot, Lamb explains his “sudden” success

In seven years of contending in the world’s fastest motorsport series, British pilot Nigel Lamb has always been a force to be reckoned with. But lately he’s been on fire, having won his first-ever event victory in Malaysia and following up with a second-place finish last month in Poland. Was it the prospect of this weekend’s home event at Ascot Racecourse that spurred him on? As training commences, Lamb explains.

ASCOT (Great Britain) – May 18, 2014, was a landmark day for the United Kingdom’s Nigel Lamb – his first victory in seven years of competing in the Red Bull Air Race World Championship. To hear him tell it, he’s been flying differently ever since. “If I look at my cockpit videos now compared to before, it’s different,” says the Oxfordshire-based pilot. “I’m flying more accurately and less conservatively – taking more risks through the gates with regard to potential pylon strikes. It’s done well for me, so I want to carry on doing that.” He’ll have his chance to continue in front of a home crowd at Ascot Racecourse this Saturday and Sunday.

A successful result could reinforce Lamb’s current third place in the World Championship rankings or, with only three points separating him from fellow Brit Paul Bonhomme in second, move him even closer to current leader Hannes Arch of Austria.

Lamb has actually equaled Arch’s points earnings over the last two races, following the win in Malaysia with another stellar performance to finish second in Gdynia, Poland. While disappointed not to have a repeat win, he was happy to realize that his new strategies are working and that his MXS plane, one of only two in the lineup (along with Australia’s Matt Hall), is competitive. “In 2006 I went definitely into the doldrums. At the time I was the only guy in the MX, and I didn’t have any measurement to go by – was it me or the plane? It’s been a very long journey, and actually, the first time I realized the plane was really competitive was in 2010,” he remembers, referring to the last season the World Championship series was held before recommencing just this year.

The racetrack at Ascot is the first of the 2014 season that’s over land rather than a large body of water, a prospect Lamb relishes for many reasons. He notes that over land “you can analyze your performance a little bit better because you know which radius you did from small features on the ground, which you cannot do over water.” He goes on, “I also like the fact that it’s not necessarily flat. You have some texture to the track, so you’re going up and down a little bit.” The accomplished pilot’s smile gets even bigger as he adds, “And it’s more exciting: you’ve got trees, water, all sorts of things flashing past the cockpit. The sensation of speed is just fantastic.”