Moose Peterson reports:
It’s Day Four at the 50th annual Reno Air Races… Who will finish the day moving up? With only one day left to the races, position is everything, so the pushing of the pilots and aircraft to their limits is a big part of the drama. The day started early with Formula and Biplane racers taking to the air, and finished with the Unlimited Class and a tremendous thunderstorm in close succession.
If you’ve never come to the Reno Air Races, the welcome ceremony is performed at noon. It is done incredibly well with lots of history, introductions and fan-thanking which is so much fun. The fans in the stands, which is why the races exist, can often be heard over the racers, especially the orange shirts in Section 3. The whole place goes ballistic as the national anthem ends and the CAF Wing flies overhead with their vintage warbirds in formation; you just can’t help catching racing fever!
As you might expect, the Unlimited Class is where many focused their attention. Matt Jackson in Strega started at the end of the pack for the Silver Heat, due to a DQ in the previous day’s race, but by the end of the heat, he had lapped all, and advanced to the final Gold Heat on Sunday. Sawbones put in a solid performance putting it up to the Gold Heat as well. Miss American DQed during the heat, which dropped it back to the end of the Silver.
The Gold Heat was the last race of the day and everyone’s eyes were turned to the skies. Steve Hinton in Voodoo did what everyone expected, flew an amazing race with incredibly clean lines turning in a top lap speed of 504.
Nearing the end of the Unlimited Gold Heat, Hoot Gibson in 232 was coming down toward Home Pylon when he experienced engine problems. Three loud, audible pops and he was pulling up in a mayday. He landed safely but at this moment, it’s not known if this is his final day of racing at Reno for the year.
The day ended with a tremendous thunderstorm clearing the field. We were just setting up an evening’s shooting with John Bagley’s Ol Yeller, John D’Alessandris #15 and Clay Lacey’s Ms Van Nuys. These three aircraft raced in the 1964 Reno Air Races, the first one. Well as you can see, the thunderstorm found us. Sending nearly all for cover, the sun broke through to bring a rainbow over home pylon.
Here’s the official results of the fourth day’s racing:
Unlimited Gold Heat 1
Steven Hinton in Voodoo 487.323
Hoot Gibson in 232 Sea Fury DNF but qualified
Unlimited Silver Heat 2
Matt Jackson in Strega 433.670
Jet Heat 3A
Pete Zaccagnino in Just Lucky 505.641
Jet Heat 3B
Scott Krause in Hot Section 418.726
T6 Gold Heat 2
Dennis Buehn in Midnight Miss 111 242.334
Michael Pfleger in Midlife Madness 213.617
Sport Heat 3A
Race 39 399.426
Sport Heat 3B
Tom McReynolds in Poky 314.837
Sport Heat 3c
Tim Cone Lancair Legacy 270.982
Birch Entriken in Joey 186.846
Brett Schuck in Warriors Creed 162.101
Formula One Heat 3A
Steve Senegal in Endeavor 248.337
Sunday is the last day of racing, and there will be undoubtedly some great competition as it’s all or nothing on that day. If you ever were thinking of coming to the races, Sunday would be the day. With gorgeous clear skies, tons of great fans and some amazing aircraft, I can’t wait to tell you the results tomorrow!
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.