Schneider Trophy race a centenary milestone
Saturday 21st September 2013, 10:00AM BST.
AIR-RACING enthusiasts from all over Britain and Europe are expected to set their compasses for Alderney later this month.
For the second year in a row the island is to host the prestigious Schneider Trophy race as part of the Alderney Air Races, which take place over 28 and 29 September.
This year it is a particularly special event because as well as being held away from its usual home in the Solent, 2013 marks its centenary, it having first being staged in Monaco in 1913.
The Schneider Trophy was created by Jacques Schneider, a financier, balloonist and aircraft enthusiast, as a prize race for seaplanes. The initial purpose of the trophy was to encourage technical advances in civil aviation, but competitors being what they are, it soon developed into a contest for pure speed. The idea was sound, but nobody could have envisaged just how rapidly such developments would happen. The very first race was won at a speed of just under 46 mph, yet by 1931, the winner’s speed had increased to just over 340 mph.
The event involves a six-lap, 100-mile course that follows the island’s south coast to Fort Raz, across to Fort Albert, then to the Breakwater, the island of Burhou, around the Casquets Lighthouse and then due east, back to the airport.
Alderney Flying Club event organiser Ralph Burridge said: ‘When Alderney was asked to host the Schneider Trophy in 2012, it was definitely a ‘feather in our cap’. To be asked to host the centenary race is definitely the icing on the cake, especially when in addition it is almost certain that both British and European champions will also be decided that weekend. Alderney may be small in size, but when it comes to aviation events there is nowhere bigger.’
In order to encourage more local people to take part, the Royal Aero Club Records, Racing and Rally Association (3Rs) has come up with an offer whereby pilots can enter the 17th Alderney Air Races weekend for just a single payment of £45. This will cover the entry fee for both races, and an FAI competition licence, as well as membership of the 3Rs, to the end of the year. The FAI licence will need to be validated prior to the races, but the required flight check can be carried out prior to the races by one of their check pilots.
One person already enticed into taking part is local pilot Tim Bailey, who will be swapping his Virgin Atlantic Airways 747 for something rather smaller. The VAA captain and his navigator wife, Sue, will be putting their Alderney-based Cessna 172 through its paces.
The Schneider Trophy on show at the event will be a very close replica of the original, which together with the 1931 race-winning Supermarine S.6B aircraft is on permanent display in the London Science Museum’s Flight Exhibition Hall.
- Any local pilot wishing to know more about air racing or the Alderney Air Races can either contact Ralph Burridge on 01481 822297, mobile 07781 101961 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.