by Marilyn Dash
Last month we looked at some of the highlights and lowlights of the 2010 National Championship Air Races in Reno, NV. This month, I wanted to look at some of the lesser known stories and answer some of the questions being asked by the fans.
There was some amazing racing going on, but not always for the Gold. How many of you were able to catch some of these epic races hidden away in the background.
In the Sport Class Silver, there was a three way race for third which was nothing short of amazing. Bob Jeffrey had 1st place all wrapped up with Scott Nelson nipping at his heels. Did you see the race for third? This was between Dave Morss, Earl Hibler and Pete Zaccagnino. The final results had them crossing the finish line in less than 2 seconds between them. The race was close, but not the closest of the week.
Dave Morss was flying his personal aircraft because his project for Team Driven was unavailable in time for the races. While we anxiously await the new ride, we appreciate the fact that Dave made this year’s races VERY close – in more than one class.
I should also mention two of my favorites in this race. Rick Vandam flew my friend’s Glasair. Rob Monaghan has been announcing for the Sport and Super Sport Classes for several years now. He has built two Glaisairs and is an integral member of the Sport Class. Unfortunately, for professional reasons is not able to race, but his aircraft is not under such restrictions. He had long time Reno Racer, Rick Vandam flying his plane for him this year.
My other favorite in this race is Dick Ogg in his Glasair. Dick is finishing up his tenure with this aircraft and preparing his Lancair Legacy to race in the future. While not currently finishing up front, his plans are to be more competitive in his new aircraft. More on this as it gets closer to completion.
Credit: Tim Adams
Caption: Some of the best racing comes out of this hangar
Jets - Silver
The Gold Jet Race was all about Curt Brown in the front and Mike Mangold trailing closely behind. But, if you saw the Jets Silver Race, you would have seen a gaggle of L29s mixing it up the entire race. In fact, during the first race of the series, the Jet Provost came out of nowhere to pass them all. But, on the final race on Sunday, it was three L29s flying aggressively to the finish.
Thom Richard was far ahead in his Iskra, Cliff Magee in a close 2nd place in his L-39 and then Heather Penney, daughter of John Penney, finished ahead of John Kopkshoom and Greg McNutt – even with a cut pylon. Thom bumped to the Jet Gold, so Cliff was given the win. However, the racing in this class between these relatively stock L29s was a whole lot of fun to watch.
Credit: Bruce Croft
Caption: L29s providing close racing in the Jet Class Silver
Last month, I mentioned the Biplane Bronze as some of the best racing out there. Since we are talking about close races, I wanted to make sure I brought it up again. The picture below shows four of the six aircraft crossing the finish within half a second. This was some outstanding flying and some very exciting racing.
Credit: Tim O’Brien
Caption: Some of the best racing was in the Biplane Class
It always seems the great race is for third. This time, in the T6 Silver there was Chris Rushing in Honesty Entry followed closely by Ken Gottschall and Chip Woods. Chip and Ken finished within .16 second, which means they were likely elbow to elbow crossing the line.
T6 racing is always close because of the nature of the class. Relatively stock aircraft – so similar in speeds and set up make for some interesting finishes.
Credit: Matty Ratliff
Caption: Historically the T-6 Class has provided very close racing
Unlimited Silver – the Battle of the Mustangs
This year, the Unlimited Silver race became the Battle of the Mustangs. We had Rob Patterson in Lady Jo, Brant Seghetti in Sparky, Mark Watt in Geraldine, Dave Morss in Jerry Gabe’s Polar Bear, Rob Gordon in Speedball Alice and Dan Martin in Sal Rubino’s Grim Reaper. This was a close race and so much fun to watch.
Rob Patterson bumped to Gold and John-Curtiss Paul finished behind the Mustangs in his P-40N, Parrothead followed by Doug Matthews in his gorgeous Corsair.
Because the Unlimited Gold was unable to run due to the weather, this was the race to watch – and what a race it was.
Credit: Bruce Croft
Caption: The Battle of the Mustangs, Polar Bear and Geraldine
I know you are going to think I’m crazy, but the race between the Wildcat, “Air Biscuit” and the T-28, “The Bear” was some of the best of the weekend. Again we see Dave Morss battling it out, this time for second place, with long time air racer, Brian Sanders in Tom Camp’s Wildcat. I’ve spoken to several people about this race and have to say, if you missed it – you must have been sleeping. They were wingtip to wingtip nearly the entire race. It looked like fun from the ground; I bet it was even more fun in the air.
The race was won by Jim McKinstry in the Yak 3 known as Shiska Su’ka. Chuck Greenhill in his stock Mustang, Lou IV and John Maloney in the FW190 finished behind Dave and Brian. There will be more in an upcoming column about the FW190. Stay tuned – because you don’t want to miss this.
Questions and Answers
Before the races, we have “silly season” when rumors are flying and stories are told. After the races, we have a different type of season – this is more along the lines, “did you hear…”. I want to answer some of the questions which came up after the races were over and clear up as much as I can.
Yes, John Penney and Dave Cornell have both retired from the Rare Bear team. This was not really news – because before the races started, both had said this would be their last year. No drama, no screaming matches as the rumor mill would like you to believe. It was handled professionally and with great forethought.
Next year, the Rare Bear will have a new pilot. The front runner for that seat is Stewart Dawson, but nothing official has been announced. Dawson has been listed as the Alternate Pilot for several years and is quite capable of the job. He also attended PRS last year in Rare Bear.
Lots of questions were also running around about Darryl Greenamyer. Darryl did not make it for 2010, but that is because of engine trouble on the race plane which could not be repaired in time to make the races. The team intends to make 2011 – so don’t fret.
As of now, 2011 is looking great. We have new racers being built or modified in nearly every class. All of the Unlimited Gold contenders were ready to race on Sunday, which means they should all be ready for 2011. The Super Sport has another year to make things happen, and I know they will.
Until next month, don’t forget to Fly Low, Fly Fast and Turn Left.
Ruby Red Racing