A Formula 1 Moment

Justin Meaders Limitless—and Justin—were unscathed after yesterdays bump in the road.

It’s Thursday at Reno which is sort of like sophomore year in high school. The new has worn off a little and it’s still a way to graduation, or Sunday in the racing world. But there are heat races to run and the odd bit of stuff can still happen.

Justin Meaders, a leading light in Formula 1, went through some stuff yesterday during his heat race. He and Josh Watson in Fraed Naught came up on some traffic and in the maneuvering Watson went inside, lightly cut a pylon and came back on course just in front of Meaders who hadn’t moved his line much. This squared Watson’s wake right on Meaders.

It was the worst turbulence he’s ever experienced, says Meaders. The violence of the bucking and rocking was enough to bang Meader’s helmeted head repeatedly against the rollover hoop and cause so much noise Meaders thought his engine or airframe was coming apart. With his head by then locked forward and down Meaders knew he had to clear out of the race and sort things out. His escape path was up, so motioning to us with both his hands because Meaders is a paraplegic and flies with a 2-stick hand control, he pulled and got his Limitless racer up and clear. He called a mayday over the radio and set about counting ailerons and wing panels. Finding all of those intact he re-affirmed normal control response and engine operation, then landed normally.

All of which is a long way to explain why Meaders ran away and hid in this morning’s F1 Silver heat race. He had to win that race to regain a slot in the subsequent F1 Gold heat (tomorrow). Typical of such situations Meaders ran high and wide this morning to not upset the real Silver race taking place below.

So, all’s as it should be in Formula 1 at the moment. Meaders is back in the Gold and everyone else seems to be putting down heat race laps without washboarding cylinders or the like. Justin Phillipson changed the oil in his Shoestring yesterday, “because it got a little hot.” That’s like your dentist saying, “You might feel a little discomfort” as he revs his drill. Those poor O-200 Formula 1 Continentals often see CHT’s and oil temperatures north of where the gauge reads, so we’re sure the fresh oil was a smart move.

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Tom Wilson
Pumping avgas and waxing flight school airplanes got Tom into general aviation in 1973, but the lure of racing cars and motorcycles sent him down a motor journalism career heavy on engines and racing. Today he still writes for peanuts and flies for fun.


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