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Hall celebrates special year

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Red Bull Air Race 2019 world champion Matt Hall celebrated alongside his team and supporters at Lake Macquarie Airport on Sunday.

The Hunter-based pilot won the championship in Chiba, Japan, at the start of September, beating former champions Yoshihide Muroya and Martin Šonka to claim his maiden title.

The victory snapped years of near-misses for Australia’s only representative, who had finished as championship runner-up on three previous occasions – 2015, 2016 and 2018 – and it came just in the nick of time.

In May, Red Bull announced it would not continue past the Chiba event, citing a lack of interest outside of the aviation community.

Hall said his championship win was the culmination of years of effort to be at the top of his sport.

“It is satisfying, but the most overwhelming emotion is relief that I’ve been able to achieve it prior to the series finishing,” he said.

During the special celebration at the weekend, fans were able to meet Hall, take photos and buy merchandise, while aircraft was also on display, including the team’s former race plane – the four-time race winning MXS-R – on show for visitors.

“As an Australian who is representing Newcastle, it was just about putting on an event for everyone to see firsthand what they’ve been supporting over the years, as well as meet the team, and see the planes,” Hall said.

The 48-year-old ended his Red Bull Air Race Career with an enviable record of one world championship, seven career race wins, and 30 overall podiums. Hall will continue his charter flying and aerobatic experiences at the airport, as well as completing corporate motivational talks, next year.

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