California air racer Steve Senegal has become the first person to win an air race in China after clinching the Air Race 1 China Cup in Wuhan.
Senegal, from San Bruno in California, held off World Champion and fellow Californian Tim Cone as they battled wingtip-to-wingtip for the top honors at Hannan City Airport, the first-ever air race to be hosted by the People’s Republic.
Cone, winner of the Air Race 1 World Cup event in Thailand in 2017, initially led the Gold Final field in his Cassutt racer named “What Airplane Honey,” but after three laps had to succumb to the superior pace of Steve Senegal’s super-sleek Arnold AR-6 “Endeavor,” lapping the 3.07 mile course at over 240 mph, according to race officials.
Third place was taken by Philip Goforth, a former Alaskan bush pilot in his Cassutt “Annie.”
“I am very proud to be the first ever winner of the Air Race 1 China Cup,” said Senegal, who is a United Airlines captain. “China has certainly shown that it has aviation and air racing in its heart and we look forward to coming back again.”
“The hospitality and welcome has been fantastic, and the crowds are very knowledgable about Air Race 1,” he continued. “I will remember this win for many years to come.”
The Silver Final held earlier in the afternoon demonstrated the international nature of the Air Race 1 China Cup, with victory being scored by Genoa, Nevada, aircraft mechanic Steve Tumlin, ahead of Stanislav Damiron of France, and Trevor Jarvis of Great Britain. It was the first race victory for Tumlin as a pilot, after spending several decades as a top crew member in the race paddock.
“Bringing air racing to China has been a major triumph and the public have fallen in love with Air Race 1,” said Jeff Zaltman, CEO of Air Race 1.