Reno Diaries 2022 – Ep. 5

Ari with Jeff LaVelle’s Mustang, Sweet and Lovely

Happy to report the Gold Sport pilots got on the course today! Unfortunately Andy Findlay had to pull off after two laps, leaving Jeff in the lead. Sounds like the spray bar fitting got clogged and cylinder six got too hot. Air quality in Reno remains unhealthy so we’re all still hacking… A pleasant site.

On Thursday I woke up to some commotion in our Sport Class group chat. There were rumors swirling that the ADI truck was dispensing a mixture of 80/20 water/methanol, not 50/50 as we’d expected. Jim Rust, whose engine suffered a badly scuffed piston from thermal runaway previously, had used ADI from this truck.

Tom Wilson and Ariana Rayment.

Rust’s crew chief, Robbie Grove, seemed to validate the rumor through testing. “We used our own hydrometer to check it and the mixture was 80% water. It’s supposed to be 50% water. It’s kind of a good thing because we thought we messed up somewhere else.”

Jim Rust’s Glasair III.

ADI stands for anti-detonation injection and does exactly what it sounds like: prevents detonation. The water/methanol mix helps cool the induction-air temp and increase detonation margins. Something that’s vital for race pilots running extremely high turbo boost and making big power.

Tom Wilson at work, capturing some photos of Race 39.
Sport pilot James Stringer enjoying an adult beverage. Insert Jimmy Buffett lyrics here.

“On Sunday it worked good because we used our own mixture,” Robbie continued.

Rust was able to go out for a test flight last night and is happy with the results. There are signs of detonation in all six cylinders though, so he’ll have to run a lower power setting, unfortunately.

Stores selling out of distilled water has been a sort of running joke for us Sport people who run ADI. Us crew chiefs haul countless jugs with us each year. I was able to procure 30 gallons total from two Safeways before I left for the races. It’s better to be safe than sorry!

Finite supply of distilled water.

I spent most of Thursday and Friday walking around, playing spectator with my friends. We ventured out of the pits and had fried food and Coors Light, bought Rare Bear hoodies and drooled on warbirds. Kids took over the Sport Class pits and the sound of laughter replaced engine noise. There wasn’t a wave of anger surrounding the fact that operations were suspended. Just uncertainty. A lot of “What a weird year” remarks. There was nothing we could do about it so we all made the best of it. After all, our “Out of Office” signs were still up.

The Sport pits have gone to the kids!
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Ariana Rayment
Ariana Rayment is an instrument-rated private pilot from Tacoma, Washington. She discovered her love of flying through her former purchasing role at Glasair Aviation. She loves the Reno Air Races, where she stands alongside Jeff LaVelle as his crew chief and pals around with her friends in Sport Class.


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