# SDS At Reno 2018

Discussion in 'Supplier / Manufacturer Announcements' started by rv6ejguy, Sep 17, 2018.

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1. Sep 17, 2018

### rv6ejguy

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We are very proud to have won the this years Reno Sport Class Gold championship on Andrew Findlay's Super Legacy, finally dethroning the tremendously dominant Jeff LaVelle who'd won it something like 7 times. This marks our second Gold win after the first ever EFI win back in 2010. Andy has the best team in the sport and is an awesome guy to work with. We can't thank him enough for this win and his promotion of our product. Andy had a race average over 400mph. Simply awesome.

You'll see SDS on at least 2 other Sport Class racers next year.

Mark Frederickson also did well with his Lancair 320 being the fastest 320 in the field and finishing a close second to a twin turbo 550 powered Legacy who should not have been in the Medallion Class. Hardly a fair matchup. Mark dominated last year against the other 320 and 360 powered aircraft in class.

Last edited: Sep 17, 2018
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2. Sep 17, 2018

### wwalton

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Congratulations! It was awesome to watch from inside with Andrew, thanks to live online coverage. It’s time to acknowledge the reality that the true Unlimited class is Sport Class. With the only really fast planes sitting it out in Heavy Unlimited class Andrew was like 15 MPH from their Gold pace. Bravo and way to make the sponsor of the whole race, Stihl, look good.

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3. Sep 17, 2018

### TarDevil

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A true Unlimited - and awesome race - would be sport class with the CI restriction removed. Current Unlimited races, unfortunately, will be a Sanders parade for the foreseeable future.

4. Sep 17, 2018

### rv6ejguy

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Nobody has even come close to tapping the hp potential in the current rules which could easily double what the top engines are making now. Rule makers need to make sure they dont price most folks right out of the class. IMO the air cooled engine isnt the ticket in the future. Turbo V8s are probably the cheapest way there.

Sport Class is the only hope of drawing enough people to Reno to keep it going. Unlimited as it is now, is sadly on its way out. End of an era.

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5. Sep 18, 2018

### mcrae0104

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The sense that we've seen the last of the giants was palpable in the atmosphere this week. I haven't looked at attendance numbers but it seemed to be quite low. I do hope that people will see the excitement in Sport class and keep coming out to the races.

6. Sep 18, 2018

### BJC

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Andy:

What slowed down Jeff Lavelle this year?

BJC

7. Sep 18, 2018

### BoKu

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I was there Saturday and Sunday, and my sense was that the crowd was every bit as large as you could reasonable expect, and seemed to be both larger and more cheerful than last year. The races might not be the mass-market draw that it has been in decades past, but they are still a must-do event for aviation enthusiasts of all types. If the stands seemed a bit thin, it probably just means that they have too many stands; a holdover from days when air racing had less competition for attention, and perhaps when the competitors were more relatable.

The moment I knew the races were going to do OK was when Andy Findlay came down the front stretch having pulled a clean pass on Jeff Lavelle, and everyone everywhere cheered. It seemed that enough people knew what they were watching, were engaged enough with Andy's years-long epic battle, that I was and am sure that plenty will come back next year for the re-match.

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8. Sep 18, 2018

### BoKu

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I believe that he was having landing gear issues all week; something about the nose gear not fully retracting. On every takeoff I saw, he had to extend and retract the gear a couple times to get full gear door closure, and I think that sometimes even that didn't do it. Late in the Sport Gold race he started smoking hard, but got a good finish before pulling up for a mayday and a deadstick landing. In the pits the lower half of the cowl was covered in oil. We didn't get to see them pull the plenum, but it had all the hallmarks of a rod through the case.

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9. Sep 18, 2018

### Victor Bravo

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One race per year, located on one end of the country, with no "big money" prizes to drive technical innovation at a large scale. How many racing classes of any kind (bicycle, skateboard, motocross, kayaks, cars, ornithopters, etc.) can survive in that environment?

Then, after pylon air racing has been in existence for 80+ years, Red Bull just walks in and rewrites the rulebook entirely, and there are millions of people worldwide who see and support their event. Professional competition teams are built and funded, the sport was immediately made TV friendly, cameras in the airplanes, big bright colored "pylons" the crowd can see, real prize money, real professional media coverage, etc.

Anything that could legitimately claim to be the "world's fastest motorsport", and had an 80 year head start, and THEN blew it under those circumstances.... they did it to themselves. A large part of this is the mentality and motivation of the unlimited racers themselves. They treated it like a private yacht club and didn't give a s**t about maturing it into a major international sport. They didn't see the homebuilts and sport class as being important or worthwhile and when the homebuilders and innovators started going fast the Unlimited owners just buried their heads in the sand and barred them from competing.

I love the Merlins and the radials as much as anyone. I was the 16 year old kid in the stands cheering for the big purple Bearcat in the late 1970's. I dreamed of being an air racer as much as any kid in the stands ever dreamed of it.

But the Unlimited guys and the RARA have nobody else to blame for the slow demise of unlimited air racing but themselves. Sooner or later they will go away. The only worthwhile pursuit at this stage is to promote air racing at the innovative levels (F-1, Sport, Super-Sport) and perhaps even the creation of a "new" unlimited class one level above Super-Sport.

10. Sep 18, 2018

### rv6ejguy

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RARA knows what they have to do to survive now and there are serious plans afoot to get a 2nd venue in place for 2019 and maybe more. F1 may head international after the first experiments though many cant afford the travel time or money. 2017 was the last real year of Unlimiteds. I do not see a return to the glory days. Warbird based racers are just way too expensive to field for many folks without big sponsors and there is not a wide enough audience for most sponsors to bother. We have to really thank Stihl for stepping up and saving the whole thing and they said they will be back for 2019 which is fantastic.

Jeff set the bar high over the last several years after Jon Sharps departure. We should thank him for that as he forced the others to improve their game. There should be at least one other super fast Legacy in the mix next year and some clean sheet designs are being talked about. I think Jeff will be back with a vengeance next year, hes still super fast if it hangs together. I believe he had a piston go by the looks of it. These engines are now being pushed thermally and mechanically to their limits and we are seeing a few more broken parts as it becomes a battle of the boost pressure now. I know lay people debate the hp being developed in Sport class, thinking the fast guys are around 750. I can tell you for a fact it is a lot higher than that now.

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11. Sep 18, 2018

### rv6ejguy

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RARA knows what they have to do to survive now and there are serious plans afoot to get a 2nd venue in place for 2019 and maybe more. F1 may head international after the first experiments though many cant afford the travel time or money. 2017 was the last real year of Unlimiteds. I do not see a return to the glory days. Warbird based racers are just way too expensive to field for many folks without big sponsors and there is not a wide enough audience for most sponsors to bother. We have to really thank Stihl for stepping up and saving the whole thing and they said they will be back for 2019 which is fantastic.

Jeff set the bar high over the last several years after Jon Sharps departure. We should thank him for that as he forced the others to improve their game. There should be at least one other super fast Legacy in the mix next year and some clean sheet designs are being talked about. I think Jeff will be back with a vengeance next year, hes still super fast if it hangs together. I believe he had a piston go by the looks of it. These engines are now being pushed thermally and mechanically to their limits and we are seeing a few more broken parts as it becomes a battle of the boost pressure now. I know lay people debate the hp being developed in Sport class, thinking the fast guys are around 750. I can tell you for a fact it is a lot higher than that now.

There is much more taking place than meets the eye. Andys team employs every technology you can imagine with regards to data acquisition, modeling, simulation and measurement. His win didn`t happen by chance. Every avenue was explored scientifically by experts in their fields. These are some really smart folks preparing this airplane. I was privileged to be allowed into their inner circle and was mightily impressed with the team of people he has assembled.

12. Sep 18, 2018

### mcrae0104

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Hard to say. I did see him cycling the gear and wondered why. Thanks for the info, BoKu. However, I would judge any gear door drag to be only a small part of the slower performance. Findlay really got waaaay out in front. I also saw the oil all over the left side of the cowling. It seemed that he was just pushing too hard in that last lap. I'm glad he is safe, but at the same time it is good to see some authentic competition, to the point that the machines can't always keep up.

I guess I'll have to respectfully disagree wi BoKu about attendance, although my perspective is limited since I tend to just park myself in the pits and I'm judging by the number of people crowding on the barrier. The actual attendance numbers would of course be more reliable.

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13. Sep 18, 2018

### BJC

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At the AirVenture following Jimmy Leeward’s crash, I talked to someone representing the Unlimited category. He was adamant that people pay to see the warbirds race, and that all the other classes were just time fillers.

BJC

14. Sep 18, 2018

### Riggerrob

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Since 2014, “AirRace1” has been staging Formula One races in Spain, Thailand, Tunisia and Reno. They are working hard on marketing to wider audiences.

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15. Sep 18, 2018

### Victor Bravo

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I hope you sent him a heartfelt Foxtrot Yankee from all of us whose roots lie in the unwashed time filler classes.

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16. Sep 18, 2018

### BJC

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Well, VB, I probably would have a few years earlier, but I’ve been mellowing as I get older. I did explain to him that the pylon racing classes that interest me are Sport and IF1. He seemed mystified at that. I remember walking away thinking, “You, mister, are part of the problem.”

BJC

17. Sep 18, 2018

### Victor Bravo

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To the OP and everyone who was discussing the SDS success at Reno, I apologize for throwing my personal issues into the mix. Wasn't trying to de-rail it like I did...

18. Sep 18, 2018

### BoKu

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Ross, I'm sorry I missed you at the races. Andy's airplane sounded incredible, and seemed to run strong all of the weekend I was there.

I can't wait to see what you and your team cook up for next year!

19. Sep 18, 2018

### rv6ejguy

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Sorry I missed you too, we should have exchanged cell #s the week before so we could find each other. I'll be back next year as we signed up another team for SDS after they tried the other EFI system out there- the newest one, spent over 2 months trying to get it tuned and to even idle and ended up missing Reno this year. They were not happy at all. I had a long chat with their crew chief and after seeing Andy win Gold, they are on board with us for 2019. The guys at Havoc Racing will also have a Glasair with SDS too next year and there may some others who are tired of burning pistons with the mechanical injection setups.

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20. Sep 19, 2018

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