Strega Out for '98
|FlightLine Update 06/05/98-
There is no way to put this mildly - Strega will not be attending the 1998 Reno National Championship Air Races. Due to more pressing matters, Bill "Tiger" Destefani has been unable to continue on repair efforts and according to crew chief Bill Kerchenfaut, "Strega will not be ready in time for this years' event". The aircraft still sits in the hangar, in much the same condition as after the unglorified trip to her Bakersfield home, awaiting her eventual repair and restoration.
AAFO will update this article as facts become available.
To think that the most dominant aircraft for the last 6 years will not be at Reno is hard to imagine. The competition for top honors between Strega and Rare Bear has been one of the most anticipated match-ups throughout the history of air racing. It's quite ironic that even though Strega had been considered the underdog more often than not, it was her crossing the finishing line first - and her crew drinking the Champaign on Sunday evening. This pays testament to the aircraft, to Tiger's tenacity as a pilot and to dedication, hard work and team spirit of the the crew. -Together- they have been a very hard act to beat, a fact which they have proven time and time again.
I'll pick no bones about it, I have been and shall always be a fan of Team Strega. Since my first Reno event, I fell in love with the sleek lines and power of the aircraft. Over the years I have come to respect and admire the accomplishments of the pilot and crew. Just about every year that I've attended Reno the Rare Bear has set the standard for speed at the events. But for me, rooting for the underdog has always been more fun - especially when they actually win! Yes, Strega has been my favorite - and Reno won't be the same without her.
As of this writing no time table has been set for Strega's return. Some that I have talked to have even speculated that she has seen her last race. To be honest, the future is hazy for Team Strega as there is no way to tell which direction it will turn, but it's far too early to be putting the lid on the coffin. Nothing has been cast in stone yet!
From this reporters perspective - Team Strega and "Tiger" have already cemented themselves into Reno legend - and legends never die........ nor do they just fade away!
FlightLine encourages our readers to support the
Strega repair effort by going to the