LAUSITZ (GERMANY) – With perfect weather greeting German pilot Matthias Dolderer as he arrived for his home Red Bull Air Race at EuroSpeedway Lausitz on 3–4 September, he and fellow Master Class pilots Kirby Chambliss (USA) and Nicolas Ivanoff (France) took a flight of the area ahead of the racing action. Among the sights they discovered in eastern Germany’s Lusatian Lake District was the largest lake in the chain, the glittering Senftenberger See, which is symbolic of a proud dual heritage.
Since 1844, the Lusatian region has been home to mining of lignite coal, which for years was a vital source of energy for Germany as well as jobs for the hard-working local population. Today, with most of the mines closed the area has become a popular holiday destination, due largely to the man-made lakes created when former mining pits were filled with water. Marinas, sandy beaches and the warm hospitality of those dedicated locals attract over half a million overnight guests each year, and the recreational development is still continuing. In fact, the EuroSpeedway Lausitz itself – the continent’s only oval super speedway – was built on the site of a coal mine.
While the scene was tantalizing, the pilots can’t afford to take a holiday yet. With three races to go in the season, Dolderer is at the head of the world championship standings. He’s counting on the fans at the EuroSpeedway to help take him one step closer to the title by cheering him to a home win this weekend. Hoping to steal the victory as well as the hearts of the crowd, pilots such as Chambliss, Ivanoff and the two men currently in second and third overall – Austria’s Hannes Arch and Australia’s Matt Hall – have something distinctly different in mind.