Nigel Lamb brings new "dreams" to Malaysia

Posted on: 30th Nov -0001

Photo Credit: Balazs Gardi

Having flown with both the Golden Dreams and Breitling Jet Team in Malaysia, Britain’s Nigel Lamb has more experience in the region’s skies than any other pilot in the Red Bull Air Race World Championship. When the series makes its first-ever east Asian stop in steamy Putrajaya this weekend, the crowds will be cheering him in thrilling high-speed, low-altitude action like they’ve never witnessed before. 

PUTRAJAYA (Malaysia)– Fierce competition above Putrajaya on May 17-18 will mark the first time the Red Bull Air Race has come to Malaysia – and indeed all of east Asia – but it won’t be the first time in the region for Nigel Lamb. In the 1990s the Rhodesian-born resident of Oxfordshire spent five years touring Malaysia with the Golden Dreams aerobatic team, and just last year he returned with Breitling Jet Team. As the Air Race takes to the skies, however, Lamb will be striving not just to entertain, but to win. Friday’s training runs gave him a precious opportunity to try out his strategies at the racetrack over Putrajaya Lake.

“The line here is pretty simple, I think – it’s not a complicated track,” says Lamb, the series’ third-place finisher in 2010 and currently ranked in the top eight overall. He goes on to explain, however, that when flying up to 370 kph and pulling as many as 10 Gs, things aren’t as straightforward as they seem. “In the end, it’s very difficult; because even though everyone’s thinking it’s a pretty benign, simple track, to be fast you’ve got to take risks with your angle and your lines – and then you start to see pylon hits.”

Lamb and his crew will spend hours analyzing data before the weekend’s packed agenda of Qualifying and Race Day competition, and like all the teams they’ll be scrutinizing how pilot and plane have performed so far in Malaysia’s high humidity and temperatures of over 30 degrees C. It’s a far cry from the UK, where Lamb and fellow Air Race pilot Paul Bonhomme will enjoy a home country advantage when the series comes to Ascot in August. But Lamb seems unfazed by the tropical temperatures.

“Malaysia is great. The people are fantastic, and it’s one of the easiest places in southeast Asia, in my opinion, to operate airplanes,” says the popular pilot, who has performed in over 1,770 displays in more than 30 countries. “I’ve always enjoyed Malaysia – it’s a lovely place.”