Thursday, November 5, 2015

Reno Air Races 2015 Recap – Part 2

Last month, we covered the Unlimited Class at the Reno Air Races 2015. While we saw some amazing races in that Class, we saw pretty terrific stuff in ALL the Classes again this year. There are SIX Racing Classes at Reno each year. All of them are filled with dedicated racers who spend every day of the year thinking about and working towards that one week in September. Let’s recap three more of the classes and we’ll finish up next month with the final two. Enjoy!

International Formula 1

IF1 really lived up to the International moniker this year with the Air Race 1 Championship spanning three continents. Tunisia was the first race, with Spain following closely and Reno being their grand finale. With Reno being a separate championship – there were 2 winners.

Thom Richard won the Air Race 1 Series in his new Hot Stuff custom built Formula 1. But this is about Reno, so let’s get back there.

Incredibly Close Racing in IF1 
Credit Anthony Taylor

The IF1 Class was destined to see some amazing racing. There were 16 aircraft in the field – 8 in Silver and 8 in Gold. Depending on your Qualifying Speed, you are placed in Silver or Gold. But in IF1 you are able to “Bump” similar to the way the Unlimiteds do their pairings.

Of the 8 final aircraft in the Gold on Sunday, anyone could have won it all – depending on their start, their flying and some luck. The Race was really between Steve Senegal, Vito Wypraechtiger and Elliot Sequin. Steve and Vito have battled together for years and both have won the Gold in the past. Elliot has made some major upgrades to his Wasabi Special. 

After tossing it back and forth all week, Steve Senegal overcame a low call on Saturday to win the Gold on Sunday – in a nail biter.

Changing Runways – IF1 Wind Walk
Credit: Tim Adams

Great racing – seriously edge of your seat, jumping up and down and yelling at your favorites – type of racing. You need to wake up early and head out to catch the 8am races!


While you are there at 8am, you can also catch my Class – the Biplanes. This year had all the focus on Tom Aberle and his custom built Phantom. Tom set a Qualifying record of 284.454 … in a BIPLANE!  To give you an idea of how fast that is – he’s almost 130 mph faster than the slowest Biplanes – and nearly 50 mph faster than the fastest T6 Qualifier.
Tom also set race record of 264.656 this year during the Saturday Heat Race.
The biggest issue the Biplanes had this year was with the howling winds. Neither the IF1s nor the Biplanes handle these types of winds very well because of our small size and light weight. Two days of Qualifying/Practice were called off for Biplanes due to the ridiculous winds.
The weather is always interesting at Reno. We just learn to live with it.

Caption: World’s Fastest Biplane – Phantom
Credit: Tim Adams


The T-6 Class had some great racing again this year. Nick Macy led the Qualifiers, but was seriously challenged by John Lohmar, Dennis Buehn and Chris Rushing. The first Heat went to Nick. The second to Dennis and the final was all Dennis. This is Dennis’ third year in a row winning the Gold.
The other fun thing the T-6 Class did this year – a new Drag Race. Two Racers line up on the runway, flag drops – they both go for it. One lap and the checkered flag! This has been talked about for a few years – it finally debuted this year and it was a big hit!
And for you Sea Fury fans, Eric Woelbing, the new owner of Miss Merced and Furias, raced his T-6 this year – Bare Essentials. He indicated that Miss Merced would be back at Reno soon. Furias is not flying yet, but let’s keep our fingers crossed – we may see two old favorites back on the ramp in the future.

Great T6 Racing
Credit Tim Adams

Next Month
Next month we’ll recap the Sport Class and the Jet Class. These are the two highest growth classes at Reno.

Until then… Fly Low, Fly Fast and Turn Left!  

Marilyn Dash
Ruby Red Racing