Tuesday, September 23, 2014

2014 NCAR Review – Part 1

The 2014 National Championship Air Races (NCAR) will be remembered for record breaking moments, many infractions and one terrible loss. Let’s get started in Part 1 of our two part review

International Formula 1

IF1 already had a great year. They were able to add a race in Spain earlier this summer with a handful of our racers heading over there to race and monitor the event. It seems there will be even more races for them in 2015. That is great news for a truly competitive class with a reasonable financial entry point. (Hint– to all those wanna be racers out there!)

This year at NCAR, the racing was amazing as always. So many of these race planes are evenly matched which creates close, competitive racing.

Steve Senegal in Endeavor set a course record with 267.289 mph, beating Jon Sharp’s old record of 263.188 set in 1999. Senegal also took the Gold on Sunday for his 5th win. Congrats to Steve and Team Endeavor!

Steve Senegal in his Record Setting Racer, Endeavor
Credit: Anthony Taylor – http://warbirdfotos.com/

Last year’s winner, Vito Wypraechtiger qualified third behind Steve Temple in Madness. Madness was later DQd for low flight in a Gold Heat and was moved back to Silver only to move back to Gold later in the week.

Elliot Seguin and Justin Phillipson qualified 4th and 5th respectively – finishing with Justin in Third and Elliot in Fourth. Again, great, competitive racing – fun to watch – if you wake up early enough!

Congrats to the whole crew. IF1 seems to have their future dialed in and I know it will be fun to watch!


Tom Aberle also broke a record this year – his own - going from 260.811 mph to 274.091. This was partially due to a change in the course length for the biplane class, and partially due to magic. That’s the only thing that makes sense – having a normally aspirated 360 cubic inch engine on a biplane go that fast – it must be magic.

The reason the course length was changed was to continue the consistent 3.0 Gs at the fastest potential lap. From the RARA Rules:

IN 2003, RARA chose to employ an OPTIMUM RACE PATH based upon a speed and G-force provided by each Race Class to determine the minimum radius turn and a more representative circuit around the pylons. No pylons were moved at that time, yet the course lengths increased due to the difference in distance between pylon to pylon (straight line distances) and a curved track which is more representative of the path that can be flown.

Therefore, the Biplane Course is now 3.3417 miles based on a speed of 275 MPH and 3.0 Gs.
Jake Stewart and Karl Grove kept the heat on Tom during the week. Unfortunately, Tom was unable to compete on Sunday – so in the end, Jake Stewart was crowned the victor in Bad Mojo.

Biplane Winner, Jake Stewart in Bad MojoCredit: Anthony Taylor – http://warbirdfotos.com/
Team Ruby (me!) moved into the Gold. Probably the best laps I’ve ever flown just happened to be my 2 qualifying laps on a perfect Tuesday morning. This put me on the back row of the Gold Races and gave me the privilege of being passed by Tom – several times.

We ended up 5th in the Gold because of two low flying calls for racers finishing right in front of me. So, a Fifth in the Gold – and my best previous result was Third in the Silver. We were happy to say the least!

Another word about Biplane Racing.. if you are interested in racing with us, let me know and I’ll help you get the right information. We are a great group of people who love competing and flying.

Team Ruby before the Sunday GoldCredit: Anthony Taylor – http://warbirdfotos.com/


This class abides by a very strict set of guidelines. Race planes must be one of the three different types and variants of WWII trainers – the AT-6, Harvard, or SNJ. They use 650 HP, nine cylinder Pratt & Whitney R-1340 radial engine. Teams are not allowed to increase the cubic-inch displacement of their P&W power plant. However, they may optimize the engines by balancing the pistons, polishing the heads, cylinders and blower and even polishing the carburetor. Teams are also allowed to remove the rear seat to reduce weight. The T-6 Class course is 4.9352 miles based upon a speed of 250 MPH.

This year, Dennis Buehn was unbeatable qualifying first and finishing each race in first place. John Lohmar in Radial Velocity was a strong and consistent second place. Chris Rushing in Baron’s Revenge was a solid third place.

Dennis Buehn in Midnight Miss III
Thanks to Roger Cain

The T-6 Silver had Joey “Gordo” Sanders taking the win. If you were anywhere near their pits this year, you probably met some or all of the stars of Airplane Repo from the Discovery Channel. Mike Kennedy was an alternate pilot for Gordo. Kevin Lacey is a regular at NCAR and any other fun aviation event. He was accompanied this year by Heather Sterzick, the newest member of the Repo crew.

Part 2

That’s all for now – but stay tuned for the next edition – where we’ll review the results from the Sport Class, Jets and Unlimited.

Until then, you know the drill… Fly low, fast and turn left.

Marilyn Dash
Ruby Red Racing

Monday, September 8, 2014

RIP - Lee Behel

TwoZeroWest Photography: 2012 Reno Air Races &emdash; Lee Behel in "GP-5"
Photo courtesy of Two Zero West

The Reno Air Racing family mourns the loss of a wonderful friend and competitor.

Earlier this year, Lee broke several records in his beautiful GP5.

Thursday, September 4, 2014

Twas two nights before Reno.... by Karen Mross

Twas two nights before Reno
The car is not packed.
The plane is ready.
So at least there's that.
Not that we do much
We race as is
Thankfully our pilot's
One of the best in the biz.
This annual trek
To our high desert home
A whole 'nuther family
And memories roam.
The sound of the engines.
The crisp morning air.
When even a run up
Can make your day fair.
Old friends and new ones
Await a great week.
To Race at Reno
It's not for the meek.
A Carmelite Covent
Keeps us all in their prayers.
I am so thankful just
To be headed up there.
Here's to a week of glorious racing
And fun for the pilots and crews.
The 51st Air Race is about to begin.
The best of the best at what they do!

Gracefully submitted by Karen Morss
Wife of Dave Morss
Both are mentors to so many of us!