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"With sorrow I must report the passing of Jack Dickie, co-owner of AT-6/SNJ Race #9, Lickety Split.  Jack and his partner Skeets Mehrer purchased the former Gotcha in 1982 and returned it to racing in 1983.

Jack was unable to attend the races this year and passed away Monday afternoon following surgery to correct circulation problems to his feet.

He will be missed by many."
- James Clymer, Crew Chief, Lickety Split Race Team -

Jack was inspirational, a team builder with the unique ability to place people where they could singularly excel yet pull together as a team.  It was this unique ability that shaped the Lickety Split Air Race Team into the spirited and close knit group that it is.

Some people might look at the team and say they aren't winners, they don't try and wonder why we are racing.   Jack's philosophy was quite simple, you don't have to win to be a winner.  If you do your best, and know you did, then you've won.  Maybe someone else took the trophy home, but winners take their memories and their pride home.  That is what makes LSRT unique.  

Jack joined the U.S. Maritime Service early in WWII and served mostly in the Pacific, having a ship blown out from under him by a Japanese torpedo.  The ship didn't sink and they were able to get her to port where repairs were made.

It was during the war years that a lifelong friendship with Skeets Mehrer, also in the maritime service, was formed.  After the war they were discharged through the Coast Guard, hence the Coast Guard insignia on the airplane.

Two traits that Jack possessed - he was fiercely patriotic and fiercely proud.  If you wanted to get his dander up, put down the flag, or put down what was his.    

Race #9 is a 1942 SNJ-5.  Originally built up for racing by Pat Palmer as GOTCHA.  Pat built two airplanes/GOTCHA's, race #9 and #99, race #9 became Lickety Split. The plane was sold to Marshal Wells and raced as COMIN' THRU and a few other names.  Acquired in 1982 by Jack Dickie and Skeets Mehrer, she was brought to the Portland, Oregon area and assembled with a fresh engine; making her debut in 1983 at Reno as LICKETY SPLIT with Bob Heale as pilot.

1983 was a crazy year for a brand new team...a loose knit team with little leadership and even less experience.  What they did have was inspiration and enthusiasm, and we left with a Silver Championship. 1984 was better organized and no less successful when measured by the "Jack Dickie criteria". 1985 found me at the helm as Crew Chief, with the team gaining experience and the desire to win growing.

1986 saw a National Championship, the result of a Gold win at the North West Classic Air Races in Richland, Washington and a second place Gold finish at Reno.  We set a national race record at Richland that year which stood for many years and were fast qualifier at Reno. 

A problem in 1987 forced an engine change at Reno and last minute qualifying.  A lot of hard work that year and never really getting the airplane sorted out or finding a good race setup.

1988 found Bud Granley in the pilot's seat and a soft engine that we never did get sorted out.  We sat out a couple of years in the '90's and returned in 1996 with a new engine and new inspiration.

So it has been the last four years, a solid silver contender at Reno.

For 2001 we plan to catch up on a lot of "deferred" maintenance and, along the way, some overdue aerodynamic cleanup and additional engine and systems work.

Where will we be at R2K+1?  Ask me that the third Sunday in September.  One thing for certain, the team and inspiration that Jack built will go on.

Jim Clymer 

photograph 2000 Tom Philo all rights reserved
photographer contact
tom@taphilo.com
http://www.taphilo.com

Former Pictures of the Week

9-20-00
"Thunder Over Reno"
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9-05-00
"Cloud Dancer Overcast"
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10-01-00
"Flame Dance"
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