If you think that Reno Racing is just a bunch of guys that hop in their planes and go ripping around the pylons, then you might be surprised at just how much preparation goes in to each and every heat and race. Peeking in on just the Sport Class (remember, there are five other classes of racing at Reno), the day starts with a morning update from Class President Bob Mills, filling the pilots in on the planned schedule, anything that came out of the morning RARA brief, and discussion items from the previous day’s flying.
The morning brief is where rumors get tamped down, and straight poop distributed, or as straight as anyone can figure out. This year has been a tremendous challenge due to the fire smoke—it has disrupted schedules across the board, and so far, there have only been two Sport heat races completed, both of them for Medallion players. There has been lots of discussion around the tent on the weather and smoke, and Mills makes sure to let everyone know how RARA is dealing with the ever-changing situations and possible scenarios. He lets folks know the schedule as best he understands it, and it can even change during the briefing as evidenced by a change in a start time coming in as a text message in the middle of his brief.
Safety, as always, comes first, and even minor situations are brought up front eh previous day and discussed to the satisfaction and understanding of not just those directly involved, but of everyone in the class. There are no secrets in the briefing, because safety is above board and up front. No one likes sitting on the ground when the smoke rolls in, but everyone’s questions are addressed and answered as best they can be.
Friday’s brief was efficient and quick – and then followed by hours of waiting. This year’s Sport pits at times reminds one of a squadron sitting standby, ready to jump and run for their planes, but casually relaxed until that call comes. Everyone wants to be in the air racing – but because they know what’s going on, they do their best to be patient and ready in case the smoke clears.