Yves Clarke will be competing in possibly the fastest motorsport on the planet in Thailand this November
A Swimbridge airline pilot will be competing in the ‘Formula One of air racing’ in Thailand later this month.
Yves Clarke will go up against 17 other highly-skilled race pilots at the Air Race 1 World Cup from November 17-19.
The commercial airline pilot, 46, will be taking part for the first time when the action kicks off at Thailand’s U-Tapao Naval Airbase.
Each race sees up to eight pilots go head-to-head on a tight oval circuit at speeds of over 450 kilometres per hour just metres above the ground.
**** Watch Yves talk about his racing experience. Video: Air Race 1
Yves will be flying a single seater Cassutt aircraft for the Outrageous team in the event, which is presented by Chang Beer.
Yves told the Gazette he hoped to enter another two or three races next year.
He said his interest was sparked when he made his annual pilgrimage to the Reno Air Race in Nevada, USA, ‘the Mecca of air racing’.
He said: “I went about 10 years ago and really fancied getting into it but it was only really last year that I met a guy to help me do it.
“It’s a friendly community of people, they are lovely people and it’s great fun.
“I have a very fast aeroplane, but I want to take it easy and find my feet, learn the ropes, but I have a very good handle on how it all works.”
Yves said he felt it was more like ‘the NASCAR of air racing’ where cars race around a tight oval track about three-and-a-half miles long, rather than Formula One.
He added: “You can’t go lower than 50 feet and the good thing is the spectators can see the entire thing, you can watch all the action all the time from the grandstand, it’s quite spectacular.”
As for the danger element, he said it was all about his team doing things right, adding: “Any form of aviation is unforgiving of bad preparation.”
Yves is a former hang-gliding and paragliding enthusiast and a graduate of the Pilot Racing School in Reno.
Jeff Zaltman, CEO of Air Race 1, said: “Including Yves, we’ve signed a very strong and diverse pool of race pilots for this year’s World Cup.
“Not many people have the skill or expertise to race an airplane, so there aren’t many of these pilots around. But we’ll see the best of the best in Thailand.”