|AAFO.COM UPDATE: 04-02-00
by: Wayne Sagar
With the passing of Reno
Air Race veteran, Lloyd Hamilton, one could only wonder,
what might be the fate of his beautiful "Race 15
Furias"? The airplane has not seen competition since
Lloyd last brought her to Reno '97.... Would this
potential contender ever see the high desert pylons of
Reno again? Could we possibly be afforded the luxury of
Furias adding her "corncob" song to that of
Dreadnought? Would she be returned to stock configuration
as Lloyd had said he might do with her?
Another question had been on my mind since Reno '99.
Would the man I met in 1997 as an airplane builder/owner,
someone who over the course of the last three years has
become my friend, climb back into the saddle and race
again? I like hanging around Bill's pit.... The lovely
women on the team think I'm too thin and usually feed me
whenever they see me... I like that in a race team! I'm
always hungry at Reno.... I could only hope.
Actually dreading what might be the answer, I held off
contacting Bill for quite a while before finally calling
to ask the questions I needed to ask. I've grown
accustomed to seeing his sometimes stern, most times
jovial face in the pits at Reno. The highly professional
attitude of the entire team brought a special flare to
Air Racing that would be missed should they not return.
Bill and his team are racers, I know that many in the
sport shared my hopes that they would stay in it.
Several weeks ago, I talked with Bill Rogers about
racing and his plans for the future... He had some very
good news for me. He was looking at three different
aircraft, with designs on bringing one of them into
competition at Reno. Lacking the immediate ability to
lock me in the hangar vault, Bill Rogers, ever the cagey
Texan, did not tell me -WHICH- airplanes he was looking
at, just that they were Sea Fury's. You might be able to
keep what you're doing a secret way up North in Everett,
but not in the hot bed of Air Racing that is California;
information finally leaked out, we learned that Bill was
taking a good long look at Furias. Bill Rogers likes big
engines, I should have known as soon as he said Fury, the
one with the biggest engine out there would be his
"My new partner, Dale Stolzer and I, are pleased
to announce, that we are the proud owners of one 4360 and
one large red shipping case" was Bill's somewhat
surprised response to my prying questions when I tracked
him down at the Furias hangar in Santa Rosa today. (I
simply have to remember NEVER to play poker with this
man!) After convincing Bill that I not only knew where he
was, but also what he had for breakfast this morning, he
let go a little more information. The airplane will
continue to race with the number 15. Though a new paint
job is in her future, no details were given on the new
paint scheme at this time. The MA2 team and some of the
Hamilton Racing Team will join to form the crew for
Furias. There is nothing concrete yet on pilot, sponsors,
time frame or much beyond what we mention above... The
goal will be to get the airplane airworthy, fly it to the
shop in Everett, Washington, getting it race ready for
HISTORIC PHOTO GALLERY AND SLIDE SHOW
BY NEAL NURMI
This airplane has within her the
potential to be a major contender, 4,360 cubic inches of
potential to be exact! In 1986 her 28 cylinders pulled
the airplane to over 433 mph in qualifying. With a proper
"going over" by Rogers and Company, it's very
likely the airplane can exceed that speed. This
engine/airframe combination has proven successful in the
past, there is no reason to doubt that Furias will be an
airplane that bears close watching.
So, to the already impressive potential entry list for
Reno 2000, we add one more hot airplane with a very BIG
engine... The return of Furias does put a new face on the
outlook for Reno 2000. Let's take a look at how this
thing is shaping up so far....
Who actually shows or does not show at Reno, is always
best determined by the airplanes you see on the ramp on
Monday; entry lists, rumors, hot tips notwithstanding....
There are simply so many things that can come up, the
best information on who will be there, is who is there.
Keeping in mind that this is the "silly season"
and some of what we present here is "best
guess" based on current information available...
let's look at what we can come up with for a potential
R2K Unlimited Gold Contender entry list:
Strega, Dago Red, Critical Mass, Voodoo, Dreadnought,
Risky Business, Miss America.... These are all
potentially top Unlimited finishers who did well last
year and will, likely show for 2000... Rare Bear... last
word, from John Penney, has her coming.... Add to this
list, two more potential contenders, likely to show up...
Czech Mate and the old Miss Merced being prepared in the
Sanders Bros. shop. This is shaping up to be quite a
show! Throw in a few unknowns.. Like.. just what will the
reported acquisition and installation of the
"last" slow nose case and a new prop do for
Riff Raff? Will we see the Griffon powered Precious
Metal? Will Jack Frost manage to finish and enter the
airplane we've referred to as Red Heat in previous
articles, now commonly known as Frost Bite? Will Dan
Martin, who despite a pylon cut, managed a third place UL
Gold finish in his beautifully prepared Ridge Runner,
change his mind and bring her back again? So many
possibilities.. so many airplanes... Who did I miss?
..... We could see two 4360's running at Reno... I take
that back THREE... There are also rumors that that Bob
Odegaard's beautiful number 57 Super Corsair might make
the trip around the pylons this year; this is mind
boggling! I can't wait!
So there you have it, complete with a first
"silly season" report; you know about as much
as we do at this point... I think we always say this...
This is going to be the best Reno yet!
Count on us to keep you abreast of the Furias status
as the months tick off towards R2K!