DETROIT – The only races seen at the Detroit River on Saturday were the ones shown on jumbo video screens.
Wind forced the organizers of the Red Bull Air Race World Series to postpone qualifying rounds.
Twelve pilots had been expected to reach speeds of up to 230 mph as they zipped through inflated obstacles in the river. But winds gusting to more than 59 mph prevented the planes from flying as scheduled.
A qualifying round was rescheduled for 2 p.m. Sunday.
Hundreds of people lined the river front to watch the race. Many left within an hour of the cancellation announcement, but others simply turned their chairs away from the river and toward the big screens, which showed a previous race in San Diego.
Whitney St. Amour and Justin Brahce, both of East Lansing, were among them. The flights were delayed a few times before being canceled, so St. Amour said the two killed time by drinking and were waiting “for the buzz to wear off.”
St. Amour said after watching the wind blow a chair away, she could see why the races were called off.
“It’s understandable _ safety first,” she said.
People arrived as early as 8 a.m. to line up outside the gate at Hart Plaza. The rounds were canceled a little after 3 p.m. after a few delays.
Gary and Diane Hakenkamp flew from Omaha, Neb., to see the show. The two planned to return Sunday to try again to see the planes.
Diane Hakenkamp said she didn’t fault the organizers for calling off the flights, but was disappointed all the same. “It would’ve been nice to just see the planes go by,” she said.
Organizers said refund information would be posted on the race’s Web site.
Detroit is hosting the third race in the 10-race series put on by the Red Bull energy drink.
On the Net:
Red Bull Air Race World Series: http://www.redbullairrace.com