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!