Moose Peterson reports:
Oh my, third day of racing here at the Reno Air Races was packed with excitement, topping the already high bar set by the first and second days here at Stead Airport. The Biplane and Formula classes continue to show some really great racing. Steve Senegal in his David Hoover AR-6 “Endeavor” with its beautiful lines with great speed ended up topping the Formula One Heat 2A, while Bill Parodi in his Cassutt III-M “N-A-Rush” went to the front in Formula One Heat 2B.
The start for Formula and Biplanes is in itself pretty exciting. Lined up in rows, two or three aircraft each, the crews are with their planes almost until launch. If you listen in the races’ radio communication channel, you can hear the air boss tell the pilots and crews, 5 minutes, 3 minutes, 2 minutes, and that mark the starter changes flags, crews race off the runway and the rpms start to crank up. Then in sections they take offs, each wave of racers taking to the course. Many changes in the lead start in some heats before the aircraft leave the tarmac. It is classic air racing at its finest.
The T6 class Silver Heat was a great race. With their start in front of the thunderstorm descending on Stead, they jumped on the course. Gordo Sanders in his T6 “Big Red” firmly took the lead and held on to it comfortably. Later in the pits, Gordo Sanders and Nick Macy celebrated their years of racing at Reno, 10 for Sanders and 25 for Sanders. Though Nick Macy and his Six-Cat are out of the race for 2013, it was a huge celebration in the grandest tradition of air racing.
The Jet Heat 2A was another of the day’s great races. With the backdrop of the pending afternoon storm, Pete Zaccagnino in his L-29 Delfin “Just Lucky” delivered a solid flight earning him the #1 position for tomorrow. The Jets are quite something to watch race. Being fortunate to be in the media providing Pylon vantage point for the race, the speed, noise and color suck you into the race as the jets scream overhead. With the gorgeous storm clouds background, it was a killer race!
The most anticipated race of the day was the first Unlimited Race of the week. The silver heat included Matt Jackson in the highly modified P-51D Strega. A Gold Racer, Jackson was last in the silver heat when a canopy failure caused him to not qualify days before. Coming down the chute, Jackson was far behind the pack but by the end of the first lap, he had already passed three racers. By the end of the second lap, all but one and by the end of the sixth, he had lapped nearly every racer twice. It was a helluva performance but it came with a price. When the results for the race were published, Jackson was DQ – by Contest Committee for a West Showline cut. The winner of the Silver Heat Unlimited Class was Curt Brown in Sea Fury “Sawbones.”
What does this mean for Jackson and the Strega Team looking to win, taking the trophy from Steve Hinton an the Voodoo Team? Tomorrow will add the next chapter in what is turning out to be an amazing race week at the Reno Air Races, and Warbirds News will continue to bring it to you!
For more of Moose Peterson’s amazing warbird photography, check out www.WarbirdImages.com. He also runs an interesting photography website, and has authored an E-Book, Taking Flight – Your Start into Aviation Photography in which he imparts his expertise in aviation photography, illustrating the most effective techniques for improving your warbird photography efforts, whether you’re a beginner or a seasoned pro. Being an “E-Book,” it contains tutorials, slideshows, sliders, links and videos, and it automatically updates, so you should never need to buy a later edition.