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Reno Air Races 2006
Reno, Nevada
September 09, 2006
Reno Air Race Report
by: Wayne Sagar

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The look of the Reno Stead Airport changed drastically today as the Reno National Championship Air Races ramp-up for the 2006 event. With the smattering of airplanes evident yesterday (Friday) changing to nearly the entire field of racing aircraft in-place in their respective pits today.

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The line up of competitors in each class has shaped up to the point that this year's racing may offer some of the best competition in years! Arguably, the most notable difference this year is the return of the highly competitive Bill "Tiger" Destefani as pilot of his six time national championship winning "Strega". Strega returns this year, re-engined and ready after the frustrating 2005 appearance where two of three engines brought by the team to power their effort failed before racing actually began.

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With Merlin engine failures on the tip of everyone's tongue, one race pilot took the time to make a bold statement with the production of a limited edition T-shirt design, which he wore defiantly in the pits today. Apparently, the Roush produced "bottom end" for the WWII Rolls-Royce engine has not worked well when pushed with the additional manifold pressures used in race-power settings. Engine builder Mike "Sparrow" Barrow has has his hands full (and then some) this year while sorting through numerous bearing failures. Abandoning the Roush components for, at least, one competitor, has proven (so far) to be the solution.

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Old favorites as well as some much anticipated newcomers were present on the ramp. Robert Odegaard's veteran "Cleveland Era" F2-G "Super Corsair" will once again grace the pylons of Air Racing in actual competition, this fact alone would make the 2006 trip to the Reno National Championship Air Races worthwhile!

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Reasons to attend this year certainly are not limited to historic racers returning to the field! In addition to the potential for some exciting racing in the Unlimited Division, drama and anticipation abound in ALL of the Divisions this year. From Sport to IF1, the 2006 edition of the "World's Fastest Motorsport" promises to be the most exciting in the sport's long history in the high desert north of Reno, Nevada, USA!

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