October 7, 2018
Any landing that you can walk away from is a good landing! Right? Well, I suppose. This year’s race week was a little better than 2017 in that we fielded three more race planes. Meaning 16 in all. We have received several notifications from our racers that were not able to attend this year due to aircraft not quite ready to fly or race. So we are hoping that in 2019, we might break 20 entries or even come close to our magic number of 24 for a full field. The Reno Air Racing Association’s website is up-to-date with information on the outcome of all six race classes. You can visit them at airrace.org. Our winners this year were Andrew Buehlar flying Tom Aberle’s Phantom and winner of the Gold race. Our winner of the Silver race this year was Jeff Lo, flying Miss Dianne.
Also for 2018 was our own internal competition for the most consistent time from a racer’s qualification time versus their final medallion race time. We award 1st, 2nd and 3rd spots for this event. Those winners were Tony Higa in first, Casey Erickson in 2nd and Jeff Lo in 3rd. Flying around our 3.1 mile course as accurately and consistently as possible takes lots of practice and experience. Many of our racers are very good at this type of flying. Because of that, the top three awards went to three pilots who were just a bit better than many others in this contest. Each year, we award our Stan Brown trophy to the pilot who increases their speed over the previous by the largest amount. This year, the winner of this award was Anthony Oshinuga who in fact, won the same award in 2017.
With 16 racers, we planned on racing 3 heat races and the final medallion race for a total of four races each for both the Gold and the Silver cups. The first of those heat races was to be held on Wednesday the 12th. Unfortunately, the “winds of Reno” caused us to cancel those two races in the interest of safety. Biplanes are difficult enough to fly without cross winds that exceed the pilot’s ability to maintain directional control.
Another interesting note was that we fielded three 2 place Christian Eagles this year. We sort of had a race within a race, you might say. Maybe next year, we will have our own trophy for the fastest 2 place biplane.
Our annual awards banquet was held on the evening of the 12th and was well attended. We have been lucky over the last number of years in that we have our banquet at Pinocchio’s restaurant in Sparks. They treat us well and the food is always first class. This year’s speaker was Phil Starbuck. Phil is the creator of our GPS competition equipment used in our class timing competition as mentioned above.
In conclusion, everyone is looking forward to next year’s race and what winner(s) will be in the limelight. If we are able to field more aircraft as I mentioned earlier, we will look good in everyone’s eyes.