Reno Air Racing: Reno '98 Action Report

RENO '98
Day 4 Update

So much has happened over the last two days (and we still have 3 more days of racing action left) that it’s really hard to figure out were to start...... But start we must so I’ll just get right to the nitty gritty.

Due to a decision made by RARA concerning qualifications, several Unlimited Class planes were allowed to re-qualify. The biggest jump was by Bill Rheinschild and Risky Business. He improved his time considerably to post a 430.466 mph qualifying speed.Other aircraft that were able to improve their qualifying speeds includes Miss Ashley II (437.376mph) and Voodoo (452.549mph). Dago Red also took to the pylons during the last qualifying period, but never called the clock. It was rumored that they were having some problems, but after talking with team manager Bill Kerchenfaut "All that we intended to do was to get pilot Bruce Lockwood some more time on the course. The plan was to qualify Dago Red within the top 5 aircraft, which we have done. The only lap that counts is the last lap on Sunday - and we plan on leading that one".

Shortly after taking the course in the Unlimited Class Heat 1a, Race, Dan Martin flying #20 Ridge Runner, called a terse "did I just lose my trim tab?" over the race control frequency. "I didn't see it" was the reply from Steve Hinton in the pace plane. Big problem for Martin...the trim tab had indeed departed the airplane forcing a "MAYDAY" from the veteran racer. Martin pulled up and circled in formation with Hinton while Steve looked over the damaged rudder. An immediate landing was not deemed necessary. Dan was able to land without incident after the last airplane took the checkered. Following the race, a closer look showed the amount of damage caused when the trim tab departed the rudder. A new rudder assembly would be necessary. As darkness approached the crew was busy preparing a replacement rudder and trim tab for the aircraft. It looks very good for Ridge Runner to return tomorrow.

Of note is that Rare Bear *is* located at Stead airport (by the static military aircraft display) in the Aviation Classics’ hanger with the engine removed and a sign asking for donations to help defray the costs of replacement. I know we’d all like to see Lyle Shelton return soon.

Updating the T-6 controversy...... Following a protest by participants in the T-6 class concerning possible illegal cylinders on race #21 Mystical Power, the airplane was disqualified for refusing to pull a cylinder off their engine for a tech inspection. The protest on Wednesday delayed the posting of the results of qualifying times for this class until Thursday.

Our deepest sympathies go out to the family of Formula One Pilot, Dick Roberts. Roberts lost his life when his aircraft crashed following the heat race he had just participated in. Details on the cause of the accident are sketchy at this point. (click here for the RARA press conference, broadcast in Real Audio)

story by: Mark Kallio and Wayne Sagar

Note: We earlier reported that Team Risky Business missed Heat 1A and would be relegated to starting tomorrow's Bronze Heat 3B as a result. This was in error as the top 5 qualifiers were exempt from today's' racing (rule changes, ya gotta love em!)
Our apologies to Team Risky Business and the readership for this error. 

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