Friday, August 29, 2014

Reno Air Races – 2014 - Here we go!

The 51st National Championship Air Races are just around the corner. While the teams are putting the final touches on the racers, packing the tools and trailers and trying to remember what they forgot, let’s take a look at what to expect.


At this point, we have 14 aircraft on the roster. Again, the numbers are down, but the FAST ones are all scheduled to be there.

Last year’s winner, Voodoo, will be back to challenge all comers. The team has been working diligently all year to make some secret speed mods. They expect to be faster than ever and have 3 engines to utilize. One for Qualifying, one for Racing and one to make sure they get home.

Nelson Ezell and his crew believe they have found the missing horsepower in the Rare Bear’s 3350. Stewart Dawson will be in the pilot seat once again and ready for the challenge. Will all of their hard work pay off? I certainly hope so!
After a catastrophic inlet failure last year, Rare Bear’s little sister, 232 is also ready for the Gold. Sanders Aeronautics and AeroChia have done their magic on the inlet.  Hoot Gibson is back in the pilot seat and Sea Fury fans are looking for everyone’s favorite astronaut to finish in the top three.

Sea Fury 232 could be a spoiler this year

Strega has been a giant question mark again this off-season. First Tiger was retiring her, and then coming back. Then, he attended PRS, but didn’t fly. Then rumors of her being sold, and then unsold. No rumored sightings of Strega test flights and no good gossip. What will we see on the ramp? I hope we see Tiger and Strega in all their glory!

Will Strega be there? 

After coming back from a wild few years of changes by the Shafter Skunk Works, Czech Mate was in impressive form last year, only to suffer a landing incident after the races.  Another year of hard work and they are back again. We look forward to the mighty Yak and her grand pilot, Sherman Smoot, to make some waves out there.

Will the Giant Killer bring home the win this year

Dreadnaught had a difficult off-season but will be ready to go – as they always are. Brian Sanders is the primary pilot this year and we look forward to him doing what he does best.

The Precious Metal team has been working all year on the Griffon Powered Mustang. Haven’t heard any good gossip about speeds or mods, but we know they are looking to win. Good luck to Thom and the team.

The final likely Gold Competitor, Sawbones, had a gear collapse a few months ago and the team has been burning the midnight oil getting ready for the races. She will be there again this year, with a hard working crew and Curt Brown in the pilot seat.

Miss America has decided to stand down this year. I know I will miss having her on the ramp and will miss the team from Oklahoma led by pilot-owner, Doc Hisey. All the best to you guys, I hope we see you again on the ramp.

You Tigercat fans will be happy to know that La Patrona, Rod Lewis’ beautiful Tigercat will be there. And Corsair fans should be happy to know that Jim Tobul is bringing his gorgeous Corsair to race for the first time.

Doug Matthew will have his stunning Mustang, The Rebel and the Seghetti’s Sparky will also be there. Sanders will be bringing their other 2 Sea Furys -- Bristol-powered, 924 and 2800-powered, Argonaut. 

Sparky! The Jelly Belly Mustang! 

This group should lead to some amazing racing. I cannot wait to see who walks away with the big trophy on Sunday! Is in the year of the round engine? Or will Merlin Power take another one? How about that Griffon?


The Sport Class has the largest number of entries ever this year! Again, they will be running four races, instead of just the usual three. Will Jeff Lavelle be our winner again this year? Or maybe John Parker in the Thunder Mustang will be the one. Will Kevin Eldredge with his Titan Engines Sponsorship make some waves? Or, will it be Lynn Farnsworth in his Super Legacy or someone else?

The Sport Class will be exciting, with so many fast aircrafts and interesting aircraft.

Aberle’s Phantom is the favorite again this year.  Jeff Rose is bringing his new Mong – Reno Rabbit and Jake Stewart will have Bad MoJo there. Both these aircraft could be spoilers.

I will be back in Ruby this year. So, stop by the Biplane Hangar and say HELLO!

Dasher and Ruby are BACK in 2014

Last year, Vito Wypraechtiger was able to capitalize on a small mistake by favorite, Steve Senegal to capture the win. This year, we expect Steve to be the favorite again in Endeavor.

With only 13 entries this year, I know IF1 will be working on adding new members to their class. So, if you’re interested in racing next year in any class, especially Biplanes and IF1, let me know!

The teams in IF1 have a great time balancing hard work and fun!

Last minutes withdraw from John Zayac leaves the race to returning veterans Dennis Buehn and Nick Macy. But keep an eye on Mike Kennedy, from Airplane Repo fame to have the crowds around this year.

Seventeen jets are scheduled to race this year – including a Marchetti S211, a Dehavilland Vampire and the Iskra. All the others are the usual L29s and L39s.

This is now the second largest Class at Reno. Interestingly enough, the two largest classes are also the newest. Coincidence? 

Wrap up…

I know that the Reno Air Race Association (RARA) has an exciting show planned with Concerts, Drone Races and a great list of Performers.

Live Airshow TV will be airing the races on their website this year also, so you should be able to watch from your cubicle if you weren’t able to get the entire week off to join us. 

Again, I wanted to give a special thanks to all my fellow Air Racers, Pilots, Owners, and Crew Members for putting in the time and making this event so special every year. And to the people of RARA, thank you for continuing to innovate to build momentum; to the volunteers for giving your time and making it happen; and to the fans who come out each year in heat, cold, rain, and snow, to watch us do what we love.

See you there!
Marilyn Dash
Ruby Red Racing

All Photos used this month are from Rob Miller and Anthony Taylor – Thank you, Phred and Hopper!

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

2014 Unlimited Racing Roster

This is what we have as of August 1st - there are always changes. 

More soon! 

Friday, August 1, 2014

Airventure Cup 2014

As we are going to press, we are still enjoying our time at Airventure 2014, or, as it is commonly known in the Aviation World as Oshkosh.

The AirVenture Cup just wrapped up for the year. This year going from Mitchell, SD to Mankato, MN and then on to the finish line at Wausau, WI. At that point, everyone would fly to Oshkosh to put their aircraft on display and spend the next week telling stories about their adventure on the 400 nm race course.

This year’s AirVenture Cup is the 17th running and celebrates the world's fastest cross country air races. Harking back to the spirit of the Bendix Trophy, the AVC is flown to “unite aviation's rich history with its promising future.” 

This year’s AVC had several familiar faces in the ranks. Creighton King of Formula 1 and Cassutt fame was there, and unfortunately had a canopy issue and did not make it to Oshkosh as he had hoped. He is busy repairing some damage so he can make Reno. Fingers crossed, Creighton!

The Sport Class was well represented, with Lee Behel and his son Jay competing against each other and Vicky Benzing in her new Lancair as well as John Parker, Tony Crawford, Charlie Greer and Klaus Savier putting in their appearances.

John Parker and Blue Thunder II

It is nice to see the racing spirit moves from one venue and type of racing to another. All in the name of SPEED!

By now many of you have heard of the demise of Miss Picabo, the stunning Thunder Mustang built by Fred Roscher and flown last year by Brant Seghetti in the Sport Class. Fred went to PRS in June hoping to race his own this year. Unfortunately, Miss Picabo is a total loss after an off airport landing. Fred and his passenger, Jim Adams are okay. And that’s what really matters.

Fred Roscher in Miss Picabo

More on the Sport Class…

The news from the Sport Class is all good, with 40 entries flying in 4 heats, the Sport Class is getting ever more popular.  Within the Class they are now awarding beautiful “type” trophies for the fastest airplane of a particular type any time they have two or more of any type.

Sophomore Andrew Findlay has new turbos for his airplane is promising a lot more speed. Jeff Lavelle will be back and as fast as ever.  John Parker plans on pushing him—and based on his qualifying speed last year, he just may be able to do it.  Kevin Eldredge will bring Relentless with the full support of Titan Engines behind him, so he should be something to watch.  

Lee Behel will have the GP-5 fresh from his World Record setting flights in Mojave earlier this year. While Lynn Farnsworth has Aerochia’s undivided attention this year, so expect him to be fast as well.

The tally shows 2 Thunder Mustangs are entered, 4 Super Legacies, 2 Super Glasairs an NXT, and a GP-5! They won’t all make it into the Gold Championship—one or more will be Silver.  Imagine that much speed! 

Lee Behel racing in the Jet Class in American Spirit

Bottom line is – Lee and his team have done an amazing job of publicizing and leading the Sport Class. I remember their first years on the ramp with just a few aircraft. Things have changed.

More News

Next month we’ll cover more about what to expect in each of the classes. But for now, we know RARA is expecting 18 Unlimiteds and relatively full fields in all the other classes.
If you haven’t already done so, buy your tickets and we’ll see you on the ramp!  

Special thanks to Anthony Taylor for his photos again this month!

Until next time.. Fly low, fast and turn left!

Marilyn Dash
Ruby Red Racing