That’s a wrap, people! It’s been a difficult year, to say the least. From the races being on hold due to weather to an extremely devastating and fatal L-29 crash, it’s been an extremely different vibe here and my sincere condolences go out to those who lost jet racer Aaron Hogue. Sport Class held each other a little tighter yesterday.
Andy, Jeff and Jim all maydayed during heat 4A yesterday. They started strong, were sounding good and looking good, then before I knew it all three pulled off and declared an emergency. I didn’t have a good view of Jeff, but watched Jim Rust land on runway 18, a closed runway, and nearly hit the dirt before stopping entirely. His propeller wasn’t moving, but you better believe Robbie Grove’s mouth was. He was worried Jim was going to go off the runway.
This trip is my one big vacation of the year. It’s always hard to leave my September family and this dry city we call our second home. I am, however, excited to get back to sea level and more importantly, my closet. I can’t wait to wear jeans that aren’t covered in Lucas oil! Like the scene in Always when Pete gifts Dorinda a dress, I’ll be screaming, “Girl clothes!” as I ditch my airplane tees and return to florals (for like… a day).
In other news, look who came to see me! It’s Harry DeLong, Ted Setzer and Jim Muldoon. Harry is the former Sales and Customer Service representative at Glasair Aviation and Ted is one of the founders who went on to be President then R&D lead for various projects. I was lucky enough to work with both of them before they retired. Muldoon aided in the construction of Race 39 in Arlington, Washington and is someone Jeff refers to every time he mentions his build.
This year’s top three Sport Gold winners were all housed in the Thunder Dome during race week. I went over there directly after to congratulate them and when I asked to borrow a broom to sweep up some fiberglass, Mike (a local mechanic who dwells in the T-Dome) said, “Why? We already swept everything out there!” I’m still laughing.
The first three years I worked with Jeff he left Race 39 in Reno at the end of the NCAR and road home with me. These are some of my fondest memories. We’d talk about everything under the sun, cycle through our inside jokes and laugh and morph back into our old selves; the calm, fun people we were pre-Reno. The races were officially over and we became friends again. The best part about these road trips? He’d drive well over the speed limit. I don’t think he even noticed he was doing it. I suppose 60 mph feels like 25 after having clocked nearly 400 all week.
Thanks for reading my words and I’ll see you all next year!
Video production takes a bit longer than writing a news post, so if you enjoyed following the races through my daily diary, here’s how it went down through the video camera lens.