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"A Race To Remember"

The 39th Annual National Championship Air Races and Air Show, September 12-15, 2002

Part 1 / Part 2 / Part 3 / Part 4 / Part 5 / Part 6 / Part 7

Inside the Pits

As in motor car racing there are also pits at the Air Races in which the racing teams work on their aircraft for  the duration of the Reno Races. And there is always something to be done or improved to get every horse power out of the planes.

Argonaut u. Tugnaut "Argonaut", the Hawker Sea Fury of the well known Sanders -Brothers with it`s own tractor, the "Tugnaut"
Miss America Race #11 "Miss America", Air Racing legend and one of the fastest racers of the Unlimited Silver Class this year equipped for the first time with a modified racing RR-Merlin engine. 
Rare Bear A legend is back - Lyle Shelton`s F-8F Bearcat, which made it`s last appearance in 1999, was longingly awaited by the fans. Lyle Shelton won 6(six) titles in the unlimited class and John Penney the seventh in 1994..
Miss America Tender loving care for "Miss A" - such a multi million dollar baby needs a really complete service...  
Bearcrew The "Rare Bear" is plagued with the same two problems for several years: engine failures and missing sponsors. Here the two engineers of the team are sharing their knowledge...
Miss America Team Nothing can be achieved withour teamwork - the whole Miss America Air Racing Crew around Dr. Brent Hisey (kneeling without a hat).
Rare Bear ...but even when the team worked until late at night they didn`t manage to get Race #77 ready for the qualifying. So we have to hope for 2003...
Miss Trinidad Preparations for an engine test run of the Yak-11 "Miss Trinidad". This modified unlimited Racer is flown by Thomas Camp.
Riff Raff Yes Jim -  you will have to use all of this roll of  kitchen paper if you want to completly polish the Sea Fury. And where was the rest of the team???
Risky Business Nightshift for the welder of the team "Risky Business". It was the last season for the fast P-51 of Bill Rheinschild.
Cloud Dancer Jimmy Leeward's P-51 "Cloud Dancer" stood almost all of the time alone in the pits - there simply were no considerable problems.
Precious Metal The only Rolly Royce "Griffon" in the competition - Ron Buccarelli`s "Precious Metal", truely one of the most glamorous aircrafts of the Unlimited Class. Also remarkable: the contrarotating double propellers.  
Voodoo Also Bob Button's heavily modified P-51 "Voodoo" ran precisely like a clockwork. So Pilot Matt Jackson flew his rounds to sit afterwards quite relaxed between his "jobless" crew in the pits. 
Strega Also in this year bad luck for the favourite "Strega": in the qualifying the lower part of the engine cover flew away - not altogether harmless at 470 MPH. 
Dago Red Every year the same picture - in the pit of the "Dago Red", which celebrated it´s fourth title in 2002, a lot of work was done through day and night. 
Ron und Bill Ron Buccarelli (left) und Bill "Tiger" Destafani, Pilot and owner of the "Strega" #7 discuss the incident. 
KGBee And compared with the unlimited class that had all their pits under the open sky - as the Yak3"K.G.Bee"...
Strega Some nightshifts had to follow for the team and the volunteers of the other teams because the engine of the six times champion had to be completely striped down...
Biplanes Pit ...all of the competitors of the Biplane, Formula 1 and Sports Class had to arrange themselves in 2 hangars...
Strega ...and it also showed the willingness to work during the following engine tests but due to some remaining technical problems Bill "Tiger" Destefani and his P-51 couldn´t fly in the final.
Biplanes Pit ...even when on the first impression it doesn`t look  too spacious  - it`s ok as long as there are no more coming.
Critical Mass A lot earlier hit the fate Tom Dwelle and his "Critical Mass". Caused by a defective undercarriage the once in northern Germany deployed Sea Fury fell on it`s body while taxiing - the end for another favourite. 
Formula 1 Pit Here the Team "Outrageous" offers a glance underneath  the cowling. All Formula 1 aircraft are powered by the same type of engine - a Continental O-200 with 100hp.
Czech Mate And also the extremly modified Yak-11 "Czech Mate" had to face severe problems. Through a failure of the prop adjustment the engine overwound and for a seriuos engine check of any damages wasn`t enough time left. 
T-6 Pits Also the T-6 Class is lined up in formation on the apron of Stead Airfield.
Please click here for  >>>Part 3




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