Tuesday, November 1, 2016

International Formula 1 – 2016 Recap

The IF1 Class always has exciting racing and this year was amazing! Most racers in other classes arrive in their best racing configuration or have a few tweaks to make during the week. But, in IF1 – they are constantly adjusting and testing and tweaking and wrenching and more then more testing. 

Anyone who walks around their side of the Biplane / IF1 Hangar will notice more cowls off than on.
You would also notice a family atmosphere and camaraderie like no other. With Kelly Goforth feeding the teams and everyone pitching in to help each other, it’s just one big, happy family.

This big, happy family is also befitting of their International moniker.  With competitors this year from the USA, Canada, Austria, Scotland, and the UK – plus crew members from Australia and Spain– they really are International!


Lowell Slatter started racing in IF1 in 2013 with his airplane Fraed Naught.  His first year, he qualified at 233mph. In 2014 he was unable to race her himself because of work constraints – and asked Justin Phillipson to fill in for him. Justin, a highly respected racer and pilot, qualified her at ... (Drum roll please) 233mph - again.

And now Lowell is back. This year he qualified at … 253mph. That is a full 20mph faster she was able to go in recent years. What changed? No one is talking – but we are very curious! Care to share, Lowell?

Lowell unseated the previous champion, Steven Senegal in Endeavor. He also went faster than anyone expected – even faster in the Gold Race on Sunday – at 256. Vito Wypraechtiger of Austria/Switzerland - placed 2nd in Scarlet Screamer. He was the Gold Winner in 2013 in the same plane.

Justin Phillipson placed third in the second year for his ShoeString Racer, No Strings Attached. . This is Justin’s fifth year – having flown Outrageous for 2 years, Fraed Naught for one and now No Strings Attached for two more years. Looks like he really is getting the hang of it and that trophy will look great among the others.

James Jordan cut a pylon and ended up in fourth – after some amazing racing during the week. Phil Goforth placed fifth – flying multiple airplanes in Gold, Silver and Bronze – more on that later. Madness, flown by Steve Temple ended 6th.

Goforth is also on the Pilot Committee – charged with getting more pilots and airplanes to Reno. He did a fantastic job on this as well. The #s grew from 13 in 2014 to 16 in 2015 to 23 in 2016! And it seems everyone I spoke with was looking for a competitive IF1 airplane to get in on the fun!

The Silver Race was won by Des Hart from Scotland. He flew Chaos Theory (previously known as Sly Dog). Des was a Reno Rookie this year, but did take part in International races through Air Race 1. I believe Des enjoyed his debut at Reno!

To clarify, IF1 does a race progression – so if you start in the Bronze and win – you can move up to the Silver and bump someone back to Bronze – the same with Silver and Gold. Each heat race result sets the grid for the next race. This way, as teams work their magic through the week, they are rewarded with a better grid spot. This explains why racers move back and forth all week, but the final standings are what we will be reporting here.

It also explains why it’s difficult to race more than one airplane in this class – hopping between Gold Silver and Bronze.  For example, Goforth raced in all three heat levels, Gold, Silver and Bronze and in three different planes, Knotty Girl, Sonic Zoom and El Bandito. He actually won the Bronze Race in El Bandito.

El Bandito

Longtime fans of IF1 will remember George and Bobby Budde form Oklahoma. George raced several different airplanes over the years, including Okie Twister, Stroker and Streaker . Bobby was a one airplane man, and that airplane was El Bandito.  

El Bandito started racing at Reno in 1968. She has a vintage look and historic appeal. That appeal is what drove Goforth to chase the airplane down over the years. He got in touch with the Budde brothers to find out what the status of Bandito was – and found out she was in a trailer in Oklahoma. 

The next thing you know, Phil is headed to OK.

While Phil and his team worked to get her going again – she last raced in 2000 – the excitement within the Class and the Budde Family continued to grow. There was a For Sale sign on her, but after the amazing showing of winning the Bronze – Bob Budde’s grandson decided it had to stay in the family and bought her. I love a good history lesson with a happy ending.

In 1996, this was said that about the Budde Brothers -- “No other two people in the sport’s history have introduced as many new pilots to air racing, nor used their own time and treasure to check out so many in Formula One aircraft, nor helped so many get seats or acquire planes in which to complete.” …  I believe Phil is cut from the same cloth. Well done.

Goforth in the Bronze Winner - El Bandito
Tim Adams Photography

Slab Wing Contest

As we mentioned in the September column – the Dash for Cash contest provided $1000 prize to the fastest Slab Wing Cassutt – that was won by Paul Newman (not that one) in Fast & Easy. Congrats, Paul!!

Rookie of the Year

With so many Rookies in IF1 this year, the decision was not an easy one. But, our friend, Justin Meaders (who we wrote in the August column) was the winner. Congrats, Justin!

Justin Meaders - Rookie of the Year
Anthony Taylor – WarbirdFotos.com 

Take-off Incident

As you probably heard – there was an incident on take-off during the Gold Final on Sunday. Two racers collided during the start. To explain, the IF1 Class (and Biplanes) does a ground start for the race. We call it a horse-race start. In IF1, all of the racers are staged in a grid (3 front row, 2 second row and 3 back row) on the runway and when the flag drops, all of them take off at the same time (slightly different from Biplanes).

Racers are given a countdown – starting at 10 minutes – when you have time to start your engines and get them warmed up, do a mag check – whatever you need to do to prepare for your takeoff. At 2 minutes the runways are cleared and at one minute the focus goes from a line flag man to a single Starter. It is a highly charged 10 minutes.

I believe because of the Incident, there may be a review of the way we do our take-offs. I’m just happy the pilots are all okay. Airplanes can be repaired or replaced. I’ll keep an eye on the discussion and will report back if/when things change.

Classic IF1 Takeoff
David Atkinson - Aviation Images Unlimited

Thailand and Air Race 1

Several of the airplanes are now headed to Thailand to perform a Race for the King of Thailand – no kidding.  Goforth, Justin Phillipson, Justin Meaders, Steve Temple and Des Hart are scheduled to be the Racers.

Looks like Air Race 1 is heating up again and the boys will be circling the globe in their sweet, little racers. 2017 will bring them to Spain, Puerto Rico, Thailand and Reno. Good luck – and have fun!  

Final Thoughts
We will continue to run through the races each month and give a close up view and recap- stayed tuned for the Best of the Rest.

Until then…

Marilyn Dash
Ruby Red Racing
Pylon Place