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The original version of this article was written in 2000, shortly after Bill Rogers and Dale Stolzer bought Furias from the Hamilton estate. With the Sale of the airplane a few years ago, and its scheduled return to Reno slated for 2011, this article takes us back for a look at this airplane's history.

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by: Wayne Sagar

With the passing of Reno Air Race veteran, Lloyd Hamilton, one could only wonder, what might be the fate of his beautiful "Race 15 Furias"? The airplane has not seen competition since Lloyd last brought her to Reno '97.... Would this potential contender ever see the high desert pylons of Reno again? Could we possibly be afforded the luxury of Furias adding her "corncob" song to that of Dreadnought? Would she be returned to stock configuration as Lloyd had said he might do with her?

Another question had been on my mind since Reno '99. Would the man I met in 1997 as an airplane builder/owner, someone who over the course of the last three years has become my friend, climb back into the saddle and race again? I like hanging around Bill's pit.... The lovely women on the team think I'm too thin and usually feed me whenever they see me... I like that in a race team! I'm always hungry at Reno.... I could only hope.

Actually dreading what might be the answer, I held off contacting Bill for quite a while before finally calling to ask the questions I needed to ask. I've grown accustomed to seeing his sometimes stern, most times jovial face in the pits at Reno. The highly professional attitude of the entire team brought a special flare to Air Racing that would be missed should they not return. Bill and his team are racers, I know that many in the sport shared my hopes that they would stay in it.

Several weeks ago, I talked with Bill Rogers about racing and his plans for the future... He had some very good news for me. He was looking at three different aircraft, with designs on bringing one of them into competition at Reno. Lacking the immediate ability to lock me in the hangar vault, Bill Rogers, ever the cagey Texan, did not tell me -WHICH- airplanes he was looking at, just that they were Sea Fury's. You might be able to keep what you're doing a secret way up North in Everett, but not in the hot bed of Air Racing that is California; information finally leaked out, we learned that Bill was taking a good long look at Furias. Bill Rogers likes big engines, I should have known as soon as he said Fury, the one with the biggest engine out there would be his choice!

"My new partner, Dale Stolzer and I, are pleased to announce, that we are the proud owners of one 4360 and one large red shipping case" was Bill's somewhat surprised response to my prying questions when I tracked him down at the Furias hangar in Santa Rosa today. (I simply have to remember NEVER to play poker with this man!) After convincing Bill that I not only knew where he was, but also what he had for breakfast this morning, he let go a little more information. The airplane will continue to race with the number 15. Though a new paint job is in her future, no details were given on the new paint scheme at this time. The MA2 team and some of the Hamilton Racing Team will join to form the crew for Furias. There is nothing concrete yet on pilot, sponsors, time frame or much beyond what we mention above... The goal will be to get the airplane airworthy, fly it to the shop in Everett, Washington, getting it race ready for Reno 2000!


This airplane has within her the potential to be a major contender, 4,360 cubic inches of potential to be exact! In 1986 her 28 cylinders pulled the airplane to over 433 mph in qualifying. With a proper "going over" by Rogers and Company, it's very likely the airplane can exceed that speed. This engine/airframe combination has proven successful in the past, there is no reason to doubt that Furias will be an airplane that bears close watching.

So, to the already impressive potential entry list for Reno 2000, we add one more hot airplane with a very BIG engine... The return of Furias does put a new face on the outlook for Reno 2000. Let's take a look at how this thing is shaping up so far....

Who actually shows or does not show at Reno, is always best determined by the airplanes you see on the ramp on Monday; entry lists, rumors, hot tips notwithstanding.... There are simply so many things that can come up, the best information on who will be there, is who is there. Keeping in mind that this is the "silly season" and some of what we present here is "best guess" based on current information available... let's look at what we can come up with for a potential R2K Unlimited Gold Contender entry list:

Strega, Dago Red, Critical Mass, Voodoo, Dreadnought, Risky Business, Miss America.... These are all potentially top Unlimited finishers who did well last year and will, likely show for 2000... Rare Bear... last word, from John Penney, has her coming.... Add to this list, two more potential contenders, likely to show up... Czech Mate and the old Miss Merced being prepared in the Sanders Bros. shop. This is shaping up to be quite a show! Throw in a few unknowns.. Like.. just what will the reported acquisition and installation of the "last" slow nose case and a new prop do for Riff Raff? Will we see the Griffon powered Precious Metal? Will Jack Frost manage to finish and enter the airplane we've referred to as Red Heat in previous articles, now commonly known as Frost Bite? Will Dan Martin, who despite a pylon cut, managed a third place UL Gold finish in his beautifully prepared Ridge Runner, change his mind and bring her back again? So many possibilities.. so many airplanes... Who did I miss? ..... We could see two 4360's running at Reno... I take that back THREE... There are also rumors that that Bob Odegaard's beautiful number 57 Super Corsair might make the trip around the pylons this year; this is mind boggling! I can't wait!

So there you have it, complete with a first "silly season" report; you know about as much as we do at this point... I think we always say this... This is going to be the best Reno yet!

Count on us to keep you abreast of the Furias status as the months tick off towards R2K!


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