Reno National Championship Air Races results |

Reno National Championship Air Races results

Photo by Tim O'brien

The age old saying; “plan your work and work your plan” could not have held more true as Nick Macy of Tulelake shattered records and brought home the gold in the AT-6 Class as the 49th annual Reno National Championship Air Races concluded of its five-day run on Sunday.

Macy’s skill and his proven “Six-Cat” prepared by re-known performance builder Larry Klassen of Grass Valley brought him the top qualifying speed of 241.089 mph, followed by a record shattering 246.047 mph during Thursday’s Gold heat race. Macy never looked back and went on to grab Saturday’s Gold heat at 243.288 mph ahead of Dennis Buehn of Carson City, NV in “Midnight Miss III”, another Klassen prepared airplane which pressed Macy hard around the pylons at 242.636 mph.

The pressure intensified during Sunday’s Gold Championship as the six fastest planes roared onto the course. Macy held his pole position slightly ahead of Buehn and John Lohmar of Fort Worth, Texas flying “Radical Velocity,” before sailing to victory with yet another all-time record for the AT-6 Class at 247.317 mph, ahead of Buehn’s 244.948 mph and Lohmar’s 243.887 mph.

Macy’s winning combination and persistence shattered the previous record established in 2008 by Ken Dwelle of Lake of the Pines in “Tinkertoy” at 244.523 mph. In addition, pace plane pilot, Jim Booth credited the perfect weather conditions at Reno/Stead Airport over the weekend.

“The mild temperature and breezes went a long way to optimize ability to attain those speeds at a facility that usually sees 30 mile-per-hour gusts”, Booth said.

Macy also credited his time spent in practice with Booth at the Nevada County Airport in the days prior to the races.

The Unlimited Class also proved exciting with seven radically modified finalists battling fiercely during Sunday’s Gold championships. Famous P-51 Mustang racer, “Strega” was initially followed closely by “Rare Bear” and “September Fury”, highly modified F8F Bearcat and Hawker Sea Fury respectively.

In the end, it was “Strega” piloted by 3-time champion Steven Hinton Jr of Chino who captured the gold handily at 477.523 mph ahead of former Space Shuttle Astronaut, Robert “Hoot” Gibson, flying “September Fury” at 456.746 mph. Hopefuls “Rare Bear” and “Precious Metal” pulled out of the race with mechanical problems, but landed safely following the eight-lap race.

Other gold championships included Tom Aberle of Fallbrook in the Biplane Class flying his modified Mong Sport, “Phantom” to victory at 246.454 mph. The Formula One class went to Steve Senegal of San Bruno in his AR-6 “Endeavor” at 253.817 mph. Rick Vandam of Reno, Nev. took the Jet Class in his L-39 at 490.629 and Sport Class champion Jeff LaVelle of Mukilteo, Wash. raced his “Glassair III” to the checkered flag at 393.552 mph.

The Reno National Championship Air Races is the longest running event of it’s kind and is the fastest motor-sport in the world. Six classes of racing was augmented by world class air show performers including the Patriots L-39 Jet Demonstration Team, plus fly-bys and displays of some of the most exotic of airplanes.

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