Accredited: Sport Air Racing

Scott Prewitt (314) and Dan West (270) on the Madras, Oregon race course. (Photo: Mark E Loper)

Showing the way forward in a soon to be post-Reno world, the Sport Air Racing Council was accredited by the FAA after a successful demonstration race in Madras, Oregon last Saturday, August 26, 2023.

The single demonstration race followed FAA requirements to show SARC has the knowledge and expertise to hold a pylon event. Participation was limited to six planes and pilots, all running 240 mph or slower, plus a pace plane. According to a very happy SARC President, Bill Beaton, the race went off perfectly, from accommodating FAA observers down to the weather. The race was held within the 23rd Annual Airshow of the Cascades air show on a 4-mile course.

FAA accreditation means the SARC is now recognized by the FAA as an approved event, paving the way for SARC to hold races anywhere in the U.S. The Sport Air Racing Council’s concept is to hold their single-class Sport races within existing airshows around the U.S. and likely Canada. These races will then lead to a championship race held at the National Championship Air Races. The NCAR races will be held at whatever venue and event the Reno Air Racing Association comes up with to replace the going away Reno-Stead site.

Steve Senegal (dark flight suit, center) took the win at Madras. Bob Mills, Sport Class president and pace pilot is at far right. (Photo: Mark E Loper)

The accreditation earned at Madras is the latest accomplishment showing SARC is the first of air racing classes (Formula 1, Biplane, Unlimited, etc.) in formalizing a set of rules, pilot training regime and organizational structure to carry air racing forward.

Insurance remains the turbulence for future air racing, as underwriters are leery of fast movers such as Sports’ Gold division which regularly tops 400 mph. Slow movers, such as the self-imposed 240 mph group run at Madras are insurable, meaning the Sport Bronze and likely Sport Silver racers can find insurance immediately, along with Formula 1 and Biplane racers when those classes reach out with their own race initiatives. The plan is to walk before running, demonstrating increased pilot training and conservatively designed race courses can improve air racing’s risk in the eye’s of the underwriters.

SARC’s next event is the big final Reno races September 15-17, 2023.

Below are comments by Bob Mills, the Sport Class President, plus the SARC press release covering the Madras race.



RE: Sport Class “Next Generation Air Racing” Takes Flight at Madras Oregon Airshow of the Cascades

At the Central Oregon Airshow of the Cascades in Madras, Oregon this past weekend, the Sport Air Racing Council (“SARC”), a subsidiary of Sport Class Air Racing Association (“Sport Class”), earned FAA accreditation as an Air Race Organization (“ARO”). SARC President Bill Beaton said “we are pleased to be recognized by the FAA as an ARO, which allows us to conduct single-class air racing events on approved race courses at select new venues”. He added, “it is an important development in the sport of Air Racing, that supports a path of smaller races that generate knowledge of, and excitement about, the National Championship Air Races, historically hosted by the Reno Air Racing Association each September.”

The Madras airport hosted its 23rd annual Airshow of the Cascades August 25-26th, which included a demonstration of air racing on a 4 mile course. Rick Allen, Airshow Director, shared the excitement and offered congratulations: “We are proud to be the Biggest Little Airshow, home airport of the Erickson Collection, and now the ‘Birthplace of Next Generation Air Racing’. Aviation enthusiasts and Airshow fans were treated to ‘NASCAR in the sky’, with high-performance, kit-built airplanes flying around the pylons, and we are keen to see more of it”.

“Our Sport Race Class has dreamed big, and worked hard to expand and have more places to conduct air races safely, to share our sport with more Air Race and Airshow Fans, and to keep our race pilot proficiency high”, said Sport Class President Bob Mills. “We have over 60 qualified race pilots, 25 years of experience in pylon air racing programs, structured ARO capabilities, and now exciting new venues for race teams to show what they’ve got”, added Mills.

The next opportunity to see Sport Class and other class racers pushing 400 mph and more, in what the Reno Air Race Association and Race Fans call “The World’s Fastest Motor Sport”, is September 13-18, 2023 at the Reno National Championship Air Races, held at Reno Stead Airport.

For more information and sponsorship opportunities contact:

Bill Beaton
Sport Air Racing Council
Ph. 403-829-9722
[email protected]

Rick Allen
Airshow of the Cascades
Ph. 541-815-4380
[email protected]

Bob Mills
Sport Class Air Racing Assoc.
Ph. 775-544-3511
[email protected]

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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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