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2005 Reno National Championship Air Races
Reno Stead Airport
September 10, 2005
Air Race Photo Report
Story and photos by: Wayne Sagar

LOADED FOR BEAR

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Let The Games Begin!

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One healthy race prepared engine in the beautifully presented modified P-51 Mustang on the ramp and two spares sitting ready on the trailer. Just what you need to beat the Rare Bear?

"They need to beat US" replied Bill "Tiger" Destefani today Saturday, September 10, at the Reno Air Races.

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With that statement by the cagey veteran race pilot, now race team owner and mentor, the gamesmanship of "pit racing" officially began. Racing in the air begins on Monday, racing in the pits began today but the racing on the "airwaves" began weeks ago with information and misinformation freely passed among pit wags populating the Internet.

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People ask questions of race teams, answers are given, information is passed. Information best decoded with a pinch of salt ringed with "secret" sauce for presentation and it's all part of the action of the World's Fastest Motorsport!

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To be sure, Tiger has two beautiful engines sitting highly visible on the trailer. Spares or intimidating props on the stage where this extremely enjoyable drama is being played out?

Some airplanes are here looking healthy. Buttoned up and ready for action... others yet to land, with tales of various woes accompanying their late arrivals...

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Spare race engines, trick new racing modifications, engines making metal bits so big you can see threads and read part numbers on them!

Problems and solutions? Or players in the drama?

One thing is certain... Being here and playing the game with the actors is absolutely delightful!

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One other thing for certain... There is going to be some of the best racing in the history of the sport here in the High Desert north of Reno, Nevada!

Along with the much awaited return of the battle between the Italian Witch and the hungry Bear in the Unlimited Division, there is much more happening!

Say... SEAFURYSEAFURYSEAFURY really fast? Then say it AGAIN several times and you begin to get an idea of what the competition between these big English fighters will be like.. Lots of them and REALLY CLOSE together is what can be expected in this highly competitive grouping of similar airplanes!

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It doesn't stop there, very competitive action is expected in each racing division.

  • Recovering from a very harsh reality check at Oklahoma City, the IF1 racing division will have several hotly contested battles.
  • Biplanes have a new and very interesting entry that may well walk away from the field...
  • The T-6 events will likely turn out to be a "grudge match" between several highly competitive players who very much want that Gold Trophy on Sunday...
  • Sport division has two of its main players, as of late today — late arrivals — with questions surrounding them... more gamesmanship?
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If you're sitting at your computer reading this and have been thinking you can safely sit this year out and not miss much. Get on the phone, call the local Reno, Nevada, hotels. Call your favorite airline, get an airline ticket and get your butt here to Stead or count on missing one of the best years in the history of the Worlds Fastest Motorsport!

Story and photos by Wayne Sagar

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