Going into todays heat races, which will get underway when the smoke permits, the story in Formula One is a brewing shootout between defending Gold champ Justin Meaders and Steve Temple in Fraed Naught.
Yesterday the duo put up a close 254 mph contest in Heat 1A, the pair never running far apart. Temple, who recently bought Fraed Naught (best airplane name in the Reno pits) from its long time caretaker and Formula One man about town Lowell Slatter, has Slatter in the pits with him for invaluable knowledge about the plane, not to mention F1 racing (not that Temple needs much tutoring as he’s been running in F1 for years).
Slatter put the win down to selecting the correct propeller. Fraed Naught lead off the standing start, but Meaders in Limitless (a recent Kitplanes feature plane) was right there the entire time and clearly the race was won at the start. That’s when Temple had just that little bit more at the drop of the flag.
Highlighting the importance of propeller selection, Slatter noted he had five propellers with him at Reno, yet he ended up borrowing a sixth to get the winning combination.
Meaders is running essentially unchanged since his win last year. Some onboard testing equipment has been added to eventually reduce cooling drag, a new, pointier spinner was added “for looks” but otherwise the plane is in 2021 trim.
Other news in the F1 pit is Tim Cone is “tickled pink” to be third qualifier(!) in his Cassutt 111-M. He bought the plane in 2017, removed 70 lb of leftover tabs, wiring and other abandoned effluvium and managed an impressive 233 mph in yesterday’s heat race. The Cassutt features a sleek Grove wing, just in case you thought he might be pushing a legacy Cassutt Hershey bar wing to uncharted glory.
Jake Speidel has taken over the veteran Quadnickel. We didn’t recognize the plane thanks to crew chief Fernando Solorio’s efforts. No longer the raced-weary veteran, Quadnickel has been given an aerodynamic clean-up, and inspired by low riders at a car show at their Salinas home airport, Solorio made the huge effort to apply a deep, candy apple red lace paint job. It looks good and we’ll get some photos for you whenever the smoke goes away.
Kent Washington (213 mph) was fifth yesterday in Once More; Josh Watson sixth at 203 mph. Both are flying Cassutt 111-M’s.
Sort of in the woodshed at the moment are Carl Robinson in Sleeper, a square-wing Cassutt. He DNF’d yesterday with a pinhole oil leak. Ditto Justin Phillipson in his Shoestring No Strings Attached. His oil leak was larger because an oil line came adrift. Both competitors suffered no internal mechanical derangement and will be back in action today.
Not continuing this year is Eric Dienst who made the long trip from Maple Park, Illinois only to flip completely over during a start. It was a very low speed, slow event and the plane is completely repairable once it gets home and Dienst was unhurt. Word is Dienst had help from a tailwind, due to a downwind start, one of several put on by the organizers. For safety reasons the old scatter pylon method (darn exciting, those) of getting small race planes into the air into the wind, then turned around to race via left hand turns on the course has been long abandoned. But the downwind take offs (race starts) now resulting have their sketchy moments too. Yesterday’s 1A heat was one such, complete with a bonus dust devil whirlwind and there was plenty of visible wobbling during the start.
As usual, the F1 class is putting up excellent racing. The planes are visibly fast, run close and the standing starts are right in front of the crowd as well. Fun stuff and worth getting to Stead field early to see these speedster turned loose.