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Airrace Good News for Air Race competitors

Around New Zealand Airrace Good News for Air Race competitors

Last minute developments have allowed Maurice Kirk to compete in the Around New Zealand Air Race, after a few maintenance issues cast doubts on whether his machine would be fit to fly by race start date. Just this week the aircraft was signed off to fly in New Zealand, and to compete in the two week long event.

The flying veterinarian from South Wales intends to head to Australia in his WWII-era 90 hp Piper J3 Cub following the New Zealand race. Maurice competed in the London-Sydney Air Race in 2001 in the same aircraft, registered G-KIRK.

Other entrants have received equally good news in the week leading up to race start. The Air Angels, an all-female team flying for charity have confirmed their entry, after a lack of funds nearly prevented them from joining the race. The team, consisting of Zali Brookes, a student pilot at the Otago Aero Club and club instructor Sandra Shallard will be flying a Cessna 172 aircraft in the race.

Their aim is to raise awareness for the Skylight trust, a non-profit organisation that supports children and young people who are facing change, loss and grief.

An appearance by Zali on TV One's Breakfast show on Friday, accompanied by Race Director Mat Wakelin assisted the Air Angels with both their goal of raising awareness of Skylight, and raising the remaining cash to help with covering the race entry fee and the hireage costs of their aircraft.

Meanwhile, race organizers and competitors alike are busy in their preparation for the race, which kicks off with entrant registration and aircraft scrutinizing at Auckland's Whenuapai Airforce Base on Saturday. Friends and well-wishers are welcome to visit Whenuapai on Saturday, and to watch the race start on Monday morning. Aircraft will be started 30 seconds apart, with the fastest machines setting off first as a safety measure.

Day one will see the race flying around Cape Reinga for a lunch stop at Kerikeri and an overnight at Tauranga. From there on the format will be two days of flying then a rest stop to allow time for participants to catch their breath, and also allow time for catching up with the schedule if weather stops things from going entirely to plan.

Supporters are encouraged to get down to their local airfield to welcome the race as it passes through their local region. More information, including race updates, rules and links to the websites of competitors and sponsors can be found on the race website http://www.airrace.co.nz.

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