Unlimited Air Racing Dead?

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TarDevil

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I wouln't call it a dedicated racing design any more than I would a Glasair.
We'll just have to disagree on this. It was purpose built for Sport Class racing, per Jon Sharp. Jon tried to fit the production rules then established by RARA, but make no mistake... it was designed first as a racer as opposed to the other two aircraft.
 

TFF

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The problem about racing is this. The crowd wants to see packs of ten almost bumping into each other with lots of passing. Racers want to buy a victory and have no one close; they want the best so there is no contest.

Whatever direction you make a rule to address, you will have people hate it. Racers and watchers love creative rule interpreting; promoters call it cheating. Drama is what people want. Internal and external. People getting away with something and getting caught is what everyone loves. A story. Strip it all away and no one cares. NASCAR is about to find out about this in a big way with their new rules next year.
 

BoKu

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My standard sermon on this is that the Unlimiteds subsisted on the social, economic, and mechanical leftovers of WWII, and by now all that stuff is pretty much used up. It was great fun while it lasted, but its time has come and gone.

If we want to continue watching pylon racing, we have to accept that the Unlimiteds are now unviable, and do everything we can to support and promote the classes that still have a chance.

In IF1 and Sport we have classes that have some semblance of affordability, and Sport Gold is starting to make the keening howl formerly the sole province of the Merlin. In Jet we have gobs of speed, thunder, and fury. And of course there are biplane and T6 class, and I'm told that for the kind of folks who like that kind of thing, that's the kind of thing they like.

Oh, and did you see our wingtips on five airplanes this year (four Jets, one Sport)? I'm sure hoping that the races will be on for next year so I can see them all again.
 

mcrae0104

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Yes, saw the tips on the jets, but I didn’t know about Sport. Which one?
 

tspear

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No idea on how to do it safely, but I would think Reno Racing would get a huge boost to take the pro-am concept from golf.
e.g. Have a class for stock Bonanza's with instructors in each plane, spaced and required to run a little higher....

Tim
 

BoKu

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Yes, saw the tips on the jets, but I didn’t know about Sport. Which one?
Number 49, Bob Mills' Rocket Six. They're the smallest practical tip for RV-4 through RV-8. Down low they yield a 3 knot advantage over a flat cutoff tip, and their reduction in wetted area probably gives the same again over the factory "bat wing" tip. We still have to do testing to find the crossover altitude, but we've already sold two or three sets beyond what we put on Bob's airplane.
20210918_113423.jpg
 
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Victor Bravo

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It was purpose built for Sport Class racing, per Jon Sharp. Jon tried to fit the production rules then established by RARA, but make no mistake... it was designed first as a racer as opposed to the other two aircraft.
^^^^^^^^^
I also know this to be 100% true.

Steve Ericson and Jon absolutely designed the Nemesis 2 as a racer, and made it big enough to put a second seat in for the one and only sole purpose of meeting the rules at the time, which required 2 seats and at least 5 kits having been sold.
 

tspear

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I would pay to go around the pylons in an open cockpit biplane at a good speed. That would be a blast.
Just another pro-am idea for Reno to get more people interested. :)

Tim
 

964SS

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I’m fine with just having Sport Class, F1, Bi-plane, T6, and jets.
The unlimited class is an invitation only exhibition now. Eliminate it and open up the other classes to more heats, increased competitors, etc.
 

Tiger Tim

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My biggest problem with the races at Reno is that I have my own fly-in that weekend so I can never go.
 

speedracer

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It’s been discussed in the past, but I think perhaps we’ve reached an inflection point. The Reno Unlimited purse no longer seems to attract anything but stockers. It’s a far cry from what it was only a few years ago, let alone 10, 20 years +. Witness today’s outcome, with places 1-3 taken by the Sanders’ stock(ish) Sea Furies.

I like the Sanders family and everything they’ve done to keep warbirds alive, so I’m not complaining about them. But DQing what is arguably the only race plane—Miss America—for high flying (which was no higher than past years) is about the last nail in the coffin. I don’t see Miss A coming back, Voodoo’s retired, Sherm no longer wants to tempt fate flying Czech Mate, Tsunami languishes in reconstruction, Rare Bear seems forgotten by its owner, and Tiger can’t seem to be bothered to field Strega again.

On a brighter note, IF1 seems as strong as ever, and Sport Class is perhaps as fast as ever with great performances from Jeff Lavelle, Andy Findlay, Jim Rust, and sprited competition from Kevin Eldridge. Time will tell whether these other classes can carry the event. I hope we will soon see Sport Class eclipse the 450+ mph performance of the Super Mustangs of yesteryear—maybe there is another golden age around the corner.

Is this sport doomed to die, or is this just the point where it’s no longer viable to modify warbirds relative to the purse?
Jeff Lavelle dominated the sports class for several years then took a year off. I wonder why? A couple years ago I watched him blow his engine and make a great deadstick landing.
 

TarDevil

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I don't think RARA wanted to box themselves into heavy iron in the unlimiteds... their hand was forced a bit to protect smaller entrants. They've no easy way out, unless the Sanders parade stays home.
The new unlimited will be a segue from the current sport class once the current rules are exploited.
We're going backwards, sorta. As mentioned already, warbirds took over air racing when they were plentiful and cheap. There was some regret at the time because the "Golden Age" chapter was closing. The new Golden Age is here and RARA needs to embrace it. Sport Class should be the featured Gold race on Sundays and purse money focused on the same. Put the money where it belongs.
 

speedracer

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The problem about racing is this. The crowd wants to see packs of ten almost bumping into each other with lots of passing. Racers want to buy a victory and have no one close; they want the best so there is no contest.

Whatever direction you make a rule to address, you will have people hate it. Racers and watchers love creative rule interpreting; promoters call it cheating. Drama is what people want. Internal and external. People getting away with something and getting caught is what everyone loves. A story. Strip it all away and no one cares. NASCAR is about to find out about this in a big way with their new rules next year.
A few years ago RARA decided to try something different, to please the fans, I guess. An F1 heat started with the slowest guy FIRST and the fastest guy LAST. The fans loved it but the racers were ready to run for the hills..... WAY too dangerous.
 
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