Asian Pilot Makes Red Bull Air Race History

Japanese pilot Yoshi Muroya thrills a large local crowd with his historic victory.

Red Bull Air Race Yoshi Muroya
Japan's Yoshi Muroya made history with his first-ever Red Bull Air Race win at Chiba.Red Bull

The 2016 Red Bull Air Race World Championship continued this weekend, providing an extra special event for the approximate 50,000 local spectators in Chiba, Japan. For the first time ever, Japan’s Yoshihide “Yoshi” Muroya snagged the win for the weekend, the first time an Asian pilot has won a Red Bull Air Race. The competition was a nail-biter — Muroya beat Czech pilot Martin Sonka by a fraction of a second.

“I’ve been flying for 25 years, and this is my first win, so it’s taken a long time,” said Muroya. “It’s a big, big moment.”

The last person to step on the podium in Chiba was American pilot Kirby Chambliss, who had a strong run this time around as well. None of the three pilots had earned a position on the podium yet this year, and the race turned the overall standings upside down.

After four races, Chambliss moved to second place overall while Matthias Dolderer clung to the top spot with a 10-point lead despite a disappointing eighth place in Japan.

One reason for the upset was the changing weather conditions, which provided additional challenges for the aerobatic pilots as they barreled through the twisty pylon course above Tokyo Bay.