Ashfield: Race ace targeting prestigious King’s Cup victory

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AMBITIOUS pilot John Kelsall has set his sights on winning the prestigious King’s Cup after finishing runner-up in this year’s British and European air racing Championships.

The 63-year-old Sutton flyer had high hopes of clinching the two titles going into the final weekend of racing in Alderney on 28th and 29th of September.

Kelsall, a member of Sheffield Aero Club, Netherthorpe for the last 20 years, closed the gap on the leader of the 16-race series to just three points with a third placed finish in the first race of the weekend.

But his hopes of completing a comeback in his Van’s RV7 aircraft in Sunday’s final race were thwarted by bad weather, which forced flying to be abandoned.

There was double disappointment as that race also doubled up as the contest for the 100th edition of the illustrious Schneider Trophy, which was first competed for in 1913.

Even so, the former Mansfield Metal Box apprentice, now a company director, finished the campaign by claiming the Sonic Air Racing Trophy and the title of Best Performance in a Home-built Aircraft.

Kelsall, who competes against pilots from as far afield as the Balearic Islands and Malta, now has his sights firmly set on winning the King’s Cup in 2014. It was first presented by King George V in 1922 and has been won by some of aviation’s iconic names.

“It was very disappointing when things had been set up so well for that final race,” he said. “But overall I’m very pleased with how the season has gone.

“The King’s Cup has to be the aim for me because it is probably the most famous air racing trophy in the world and it is the only one of the major ones I haven’t yet won.”

Racing took place in a host of locations around the United Kingdom, as well as in Abbeville, France.