By Pete Shirk
Throughout the years, air racing at Reno has been a variety of aircraft and competitors. Races have ranged from wide-open competition to predictable win-by-predominant favorite. This year was wide-open competition, and although ultimately taken by a familiar pilot and machine, the combo was different than in the past.
Reno air racing has been interesting in the last several years with musical chairs being played by some of the top pilots who have rotated between various machines. Steve Hinton Jr. (“Stevo”) made racing history by winning at the age of only 22 in 2009 flying Strega, then following it up with wins in 2010, 2012, 2013 all in Strega, and then 2014, but in a different aircraft (Voodoo). Historically, top pilots have not moved around much. It has become interesting to see how someone who was a winner in one aircraft did when he went to another aircraft and a different team. There is a fair amount of “team chemistry” involved.
This year’s competitive scene saw the emergence of five top aircraft flown by highly experienced pilots. However, not all the machines made it to Reno.