Race week is here, and airplanes from all over have come to Reno, Nevada to see who is fastest – and the largest single class of racing machines are the homebuilts – Sport Class, to be specific! Of course, we don’t want to discount the Formula 1 and Biplane classes, most of which are homebuilts as well. But regardless of the class the enthusiasm and energy of pilots and crew members are evident as you walk the pits and hangars. The Sport class racers have literally run out of hangar space, spilling out into the ramp area previously occupied by the T-6 Class on the west end of the pits.
Weather was cool, but not cold, on Tuesday as qualifying continued for all classes. Monday saw many qualifying runs filling up the heat race rosters, and final qualification runs will be allowed on Wednesday morning. Heat races begin after noon on Wednesday, and racing will continue until Sunday’s finals. With the fastest Sport qualifiers running in the neighborhood of 400 mph, this year promises speed, speed, and more speed!
As we walked the pits and talked to participants today, we learned that both of the two fastest qualifiers in Sport class on Monday are working on engine issues. Blue Thunder, last year’s champion, is working on a damaged piston, but expects to be up and running for the week’s racing. Unfortunately, Race 33 – second fastest on Monday – mayday’ed out on its second Qual lap with serious engine damage (most likely a thrown rod), and is not expected to fly again this week. The Sport class features a wide variety of aircraft this year, including Thunder Mustangs, Lancairs, Glassairs, and a large number of RV’s and Rockets – plus a few unique other homebuilts, such as the purpose built racing NXT and at least one Extra
The qualifying speeds in Sport range from 403.411 (Race 39, a Glassair III) to 202.967 (Race 64, an RV-7).
Check back frequently here at Kitplanes for updates as the week’s racing continues to heat up!