In September 2009 the Red Bull Air Race came to Porto and Gaia, on the River Douro. Sadly, it may be the last time the event comes to Porto because not only was there a plan to move it to Lisbon in 2011, but the whole of the 2011 season has reportedly been cancelled while Red Bull goes through a re-think and some headquarters restructuring.
A planned race in Portugal for 2010 was cancelled due to the rangling over which city (Lisbon or Porto) would host the event. So we were lucky to enjoy the 2009 event in glorious sunshine with, purportedly, three quarters of a million who attended over the three days.
Standing on a bridge near the start of the course, we enjoyed good views of the competitors as they came in from Foz over Arrábida bridge to take up their runs. Spectators near the Alfandega (customs house) could enjoy prime seating in a grandstand looking across to Gaia, while those around Ribeira and Cais de Gaia saw the magnificent views of the pilots spinning up over the Dom Luis II bridge to take their return journeys’ through the Breitling-sponsored course.