Pete McLeod Racing 

#84
Top 12 Finish in Final 2009 Race
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Monday, 05 October 2009 00:00


Pete McLeod of Canada finished his rookie season in the Red Bull Air Race World Championship on a high note with a promising 12th place finish in Barcelona on Sunday in front of a record-breaking crowd of 800,000 spectators.

McLeod was able to advance through the Wild Card competition into the Top 12 round in the high-speed, low-altitude race for only the second time in six races this year by taking advantage of the skills he learned flying float planes in northern Canada.

McLeod, at 25 the youngest pilot in race history, could have finished a career-high 10th on the difficult 6.4-km race track through 20-meter high Air Gate obstacles set up in the Mediterranean off the beaches of Barcelona. But he just hit a pylon, bursting the Air Gate as he passed through at nearly 370 km/h and being assessed a six-second penalty for the infraction. "I didn't even feel the pylon," said McLeod, who had impressed the veterans with his smooth flying on the challenging Barcelona track with its "quadro" gate made especially difficult by the variable coastal winds.

"I was pleased with both my runs so it was a great end to the season for me. It's been full of excitement and challenges at the same time." McLeod, who had the heaviest plane with the least powerful engine, did well this year on the more difficult tracks because several pilots with faster planes made mistakes but struggled on the easier tracks.

 
McLeod on Cloud 9 and Climbing
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Wednesday, 30 September 2009 00:00



Pete McLeod, the first Canadian pilot in the Red Bull Air Race World Championship, has been trying to absorb as much wisdom and acquire as much experience as possible during his rookie season flying against the world's top pilots.

The 25-year-old newcomer from London, Ontario has handled the pressures of the high-speed, low-altitude precision flying race with aplomb in front of enthusiastic crowds as large as 720,000 - the number that watched the penultimate race of the season last week (Sept. 12/13) in Porto.

But the youngest pilot in the championship's history has discovered the hard way that the 11 veterans are not quite as forthcoming with tips and suggestions for McLeod and his three fellow rookies from Australia, Germany and Japan as they had been in the past - for good reason after Austria's Hannes Arch managed to win the championship in his second season after picking their brains when he was a rookie.

"The veterans can give you tips but they can also deliberately mislead you if you're not careful," McLeod said before the final race of the season in Barcelona, Spain on October 3/4. "The really good tips are few and far between. But if you ask the right question at the right time, there is some good information out there. You always have to get a second opinion. And usually the best tips are the ones they don't repeat. You get the feeling it was something that just slipped out by accident."

Championship leader Paul Bonhomme of Britain and the 10 other veterans all have reason to worry about McLeod. The 6-feet (1.85 cm) tall McLeod not only towers over most of his more senior rivals physically. But the other pilots - all of whom are in their late 30s to early 50s - fear it is probably only a matter of time before the former hockey player with the jet black hair ends up towering over the championship as well.

 
Foggy Days in Porto
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Tuesday, 22 September 2009 00:00

Porto Fog


Landing in Porto for the 5th stop on the Red Bull Air Race World Championship, Pete McLeod and his team were up for the big challenge. The Porto track, basically a straight line, would give a great advantage to the faster aircraft.

It's no secret that PMR has one of the heaviest and under powered race planes on the 2009 tour. Due to this fact, Pete had to fly the best lines with the fastest vertical turns to keep within seconds of the other pilots. The September weather brought unpredictable sea fog into Porto, creating a problem with the TRW operations, which was located right on the beach.

Both days of scheduled training ended up being very quiet with no flying due to low fog on the runway. At the end of the day on Friday, RBAR decided to relocate all 15 race teams, while there was a window in the fog, to a nearby inland airport.

With no training track time entering Qualification Day, Pete was not feeling overly confident for the race. "It's been frustrating with the foggy weather keeping us on the ground during scheduled training. As with the whole season my major objective is to learn as much as possible and develop. I will try to get the most out of this by staying focused for qualification."

Qualification Day proved to be a new challenge for the race team as we operated away from the elaborate support structure of the TRW. Three track sessions were allotted to each team: one training session and two qualification runs.

 
Max Power in Budapest
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Friday, 04 September 2009 00:00


The fourth stop of the 2009 RBARWC landed in Budapest Aug 19-20 2009. Coming off a successful race on home turf in Canada, where PMR earned their first championship point, the team was excited to back on the race track.

"Budapest is a race I've really been looking forward to. Budapest is to RBAR what Monaco is to F1. I can remember following this race every year and dreaming to compete in this venue." said Pete ahead of the race. With 650,000 fans on race day and the water level just low enough to fly under the famous Chain Bridge, the race lived up to all expectations.

Unique to Budapest is that the Chain Bridge is actually part of the race track. There is about 10.2 meters of space between the water and the bottom of the bridge. When the clock starts after passing under the bridge racers actually have to climb into the already low track to avoid a DSC for low flying.

Heading into qualifying day, Pete and the team were putting up improving times, but it was clear the horsepower friendly track would hurt #84 with its stock engine and 30kg of extra weight. "I'm running a few seconds behind the pack, but the focus is still on putting down clean runs. It's a busy track and penalties are easy to come by" said Pete after an average Q1 run.

 
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RBAR 2016 World Championship
1 Matthias Dolderer 80.25
2 Matt Hall 55.75
3 Hannes Arch
41.00
4 Nigel Lamb 37.75
5 Nicolas Ivanoff 35.00
6 Yoshi Muroya
31.50
7 Martin Sonka
31.00
8 Pete McLeod
30.50
9 Kirby Chambliss 30.25
10 Michael Goulian  19.75
11 Juan Velarde
 14.25
12 Francois Le Vot
10.00
13 Peter Podlunšek  4.00
14 Petr Kopfstein  4.00
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