The Edmonton Airshow, held at Alberta’s Edmonton/Villeneuve airport (CZVL) since 2014, is planning to hold an air race at the 2019 show, scheduled for August 17 to 18. And if things go the way airshow president and CEO Richard Skermer hopes they will, Villeneuve airport will eventually join other airports on the air race circuit and become the site of the semi-final race before the finals in Reno, Nevada.

This year’s race will be a demonstration event only, and will be limited to Van’s RV-6s. Sixteen contestants have been lined up for the race, which will be modeled after the Air Race Championship held at the 2017 Portugal Air Summit, an annual air show and air race held in that country.

Skermer touts the Villeneuve airport as an ideal site for competitive air racing, citing the flat terrain, lack of neighbours or structural impediments, yet only a few minutes from a major city. He says that is a combination the Reno Air Racing Association is looking for.

Organizers hope to host a full-scale air race next year, and envision the event eventually rivalling the Calgary Stampede’s chuckwagon races for popularity and economic spin-offs.