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Thread: 232

  1. #31

    Default Re: 232

    I guess rather than talking hypotheticals about the current and future owners, that leads to the question of how to grow the class beyond the existing field? It’s an indication of a poor state of affairs when the future of the class is questioned because one owner decides to not race or sells his plane.

    Throwing more money at the purse isn’t a practical solution unless there is a confirmed sponsor. Letting sport planes is dangerous because of wake turbulence so that is out too. So how do you encourage and invite more owners of heavy, prop-driven planes?
    "young" Thomas

  2. #32
    Join Date
    Jul 2014
    Location
    Henderson, Nevada
    Posts
    13

    Default Re: 232

    In this age, every greatly contested sport eventually optimizes itself to the point of being obscenely expensive to operate. Unapologetically, this is done in the pursuit of WINNING.
    In our time honored, yet relatively obscure motorsport of Unlimited Air Racing, we have enjoyed neither extensive sponsorship, nor great prize money to off-set the exorbitant cost of going fast. Yet a few great men have in most years, brought their dream machines to NCAR, to push that dangerous envelope a bit further in the quest to be the fastest man and machine, in the fastest sport.
    Yes, they were mostly self-funded and no, the prize money was not commensurate with their effort. But they built their fantastic machines and raced on that ragged edge anyway; in the quest to be the best and be added to a storied list of air racing names that begins with Curtiss, Turner and Doolittle.
    Thanks to men with that level of brass and appetite for victory; our history now includes names like Greenamyer, Shelton, Destefani and Hinton, along with their wonderful machines and those who challenged them around the pylons.
    As a fan, I believe that these great men and other winners that I have not space to list here; hold dear above all, that they are remembered for their accomplishment at the PINNACLE of RACING and not for how much prize money they took home.
    In light of events in recent years; I wonder if there are any special men, partnerships, or consortiums who have the “right stuff” and the appetite to stand with those giants at the top of this historic group; or has it all been left to accountants to define what can be dared?

  3. #33
    Join Date
    Aug 2007
    Location
    San Diego, CA
    Posts
    1,897

    Default Re: 232

    I would think one of the biggest issues (which almost contradicts itself) is the feeling of "what's the point" especially with a purse lower than it was before. There ARE Gold-worthy Unlimited's left, the reason for them to come is less and less when there are no planes to race against (definitely taking Tiger's side with this one). The course I am really hoping that the Unlimited class goes, is something along the lines of "history repeats itself". Goldfinger & Miss America type Mustangs and 3350-Furies show up and run around at 400-450 trying to chase Dreadnought down. Slowly modify here and there (especially if some sponsor comes on board with some money to make it worthwhile), and catch Dreadnought. I personally believe for the next few years Dreadnought will be the plane to beat, until the planes "in the works" (maybe Precious Metal, Furias, and hopefully Tsunami), come back and fuel that heated 500mph racing that isn't present now. As of now, I enjoyed watching Miss America and Sawbones battle it out, even though it's not 500, you still don't see and hear that anywhere else. Sport class was also VERY fun to watch and it's only going to get better (I know that won't ever be enough for some people to attend though).

    I am really hoping that Tsunami is the revival that the class needs, it's one Unlimited that we can all watch progress monthly and cross our fingers that one day it will be back around the sticks. It may be the last hope too...
    *My Air Race Site*

    Reno from '99 to '19

  4. #34
    Join Date
    Aug 2002
    Location
    Reno, Nevada
    Posts
    2,647

    Default Re: 232

    I would rather see a closely competitive field at 400 MPH than just a couple of planes at 500. It's all about the racing. I don't think anyone has done this for the money since the immediate post war racers. Those pilots tat know, in all the classes do it because for them it is FUN. We all spend ridiculus amounts of coin on things we enjoy.
    I show early every day for the formula's, bipes, and I am starting to really appreciate the sport class. Heck, with a little inside info I am actually starting to follow the jets more, now that I see that there really IS some real racing there.
    Sure I love the unlimited, they are the reason I started going so many years ago. I have also seem their numbers rise and fall several times and am sure they will again once a new generation of racers gets "the bug".

  5. #35
    Join Date
    Jul 2003
    Location
    Maui, Hawaii
    Posts
    737

    Default Re: 232

    Quote Originally Posted by Leo View Post
    I would rather see a closely competitive field at 400 MPH than just a couple of planes at 500. It's all about the racing. I don't think anyone has done this for the money since the immediate post war racers. Those pilots tat know, in all the classes do it because for them it is FUN. We all spend ridiculus amounts of coin on things we enjoy.
    I show early every day for the formula's, bipes, and I am starting to really appreciate the sport class. Heck, with a little inside info I am actually starting to follow the jets more, now that I see that there really IS some real racing there.
    Sure I love the unlimited, they are the reason I started going so many years ago. I have also seem their numbers rise and fall several times and am sure they will again once a new generation of racers gets "the bug".
    "I have also seen their numbers rise and fall several times".

    Isn't that the truth. Everything goes in cycles.

  6. #36

    Default Re: 232

    I think one thing that is a little different now is back when this all got started you had more guys who owned the planes they flew, and did it by spending every dime they had to get it to the show. Working tirelessly and doing whatever it took to get to race. A volunteer crew of friends and family.
    Now, when an owner hires a team and pays a pilot to race his plane, they expect results. When they come up short, someone has to take the blame. Everyone involved can get stung.
    Also, the roots of this goes back to the days of the $6000 P-51 Mustang. A lot of money back then, but not the same as $2,000,000 is today.
    Also, 2011 was a disaster that I hate to remember. I was so surprised that anything happened after that at Reno. Thank goodness that we still have the races at all, in whatever form they are.

  7. #37

    Default Re: 232

    Adjusting for inflation, $6000 in 1950 is the equivalent of $60,000 today. Aviation and especially warbirds have become more expensive with insurance, increasing value. etc.

    $60,000 gets you into IF1, Biplanes, or low end Sport.
    "young" Thomas

  8. #38
    Join Date
    Sep 2011
    Location
    Santa Fe, NM
    Posts
    181

    Default Re: 232

    Quote Originally Posted by toldjaso View Post
    I think one thing that is a little different now is back when this all got started you had more guys who owned the planes they flew, and did it by spending every dime they had to get it to the show. Working tirelessly and doing whatever it took to get to race. A volunteer crew of friends and family.
    Now, when an owner hires a team and pays a pilot to race his plane, they expect results. When they come up short, someone has to take the blame. Everyone involved can get stung.
    Also, the roots of this goes back to the days of the $6000 P-51 Mustang. A lot of money back then, but not the same as $2,000,000 is today.
    Also, 2011 was a disaster that I hate to remember. I was so surprised that anything happened after that at Reno. Thank goodness that we still have the races at all, in whatever form they are.
    As much as we want to forget 2011, the unlimited class has never really recovered. Look at the size of the field before and after: Before: 2003-26, 2004-27, 2005-27, 2006-30, 2007-29, 2008-24, 2009-25, 2010-24, 2011-28. After: 2012-19, 2013-14, 2014-14, 2015-13, 2016-11, 2017-18, 2018-15. That's why the potential loss of 232 feels even larger than just one racer.
    Last edited by Ken Adkins; 03-26-2019 at 01:35 PM.

  9. #39
    Join Date
    Aug 2007
    Location
    San Diego, CA
    Posts
    1,897

    Default Re: 232

    Quote Originally Posted by Ken Adkins View Post
    As much as we want to forget 2011, the unlimited class has never really recovered. Look at the size of the field before and after: Before: 2003-26, 2004-27, 2005-27, 2006-30, 2007-29, 2008-24, 2009-25, 2010-24, 2011-28. After: 2012-19, 2013-14, 2014-14, 2015-13, 2016-11, 2017-18, 2018-15. That's why the potential loss of 232 feels even larger than just one racer.
    Although 2012/13/14 were the last real years of a solid Gold field (5 or so top dogs), I would still say RARA is doing well in other ways. They have really been working on putting together an Unlimited "field" rather than a Gold race. I think this is VERY important to make sure the bronze & silver guys feel appreciated since bringing a warbird to race isn't cheap no matter how fast it's running. Look at 2015 vs. 2018, 2015 the only out of the ordinary additions were Grim Reaper and Lylia, last year we had very good representation with Goldfinger, Crusader & Eagle's Wings, Bunny & Kingcobra, Blondie/Speedball/Lady Jo all back together again, Fred's Lady B, and even if only in 2018, Miss America was back! If RARA continues in a direction of filling the bronze & silver with museum stockers, I think that would be an awesome way to help keep the field healthy while the gold racers are at a sort of standstill. I love to see stockers round the pylons with race numbers on for the weekend, I think it looks killer!! I would be incredibly surprised if the field is any less than 20 in 2019
    *My Air Race Site*

    Reno from '99 to '19

  10. #40
    Join Date
    Sep 2004
    Location
    Houston, TX
    Posts
    206

    Default Re: 232

    Quote Originally Posted by GRNDP51 View Post
    I would think one of the biggest issues (which almost contradicts itself) is the feeling of "what's the point" especially with a purse lower than it was before. There ARE Gold-worthy Unlimited's left, the reason for them to come is less and less when there are no planes to race against (definitely taking Tiger's side with this one). The course I am really hoping that the Unlimited class goes, is something along the lines of "history repeats itself". Goldfinger & Miss America type Mustangs and 3350-Furies show up and run around at 400-450 trying to chase Dreadnought down. Slowly modify here and there (especially if some sponsor comes on board with some money to make it worthwhile), and catch Dreadnought. I personally believe for the next few years Dreadnought will be the plane to beat, until the planes "in the works" (maybe Precious Metal, Furias, and hopefully Tsunami), come back and fuel that heated 500mph racing that isn't present now. As of now, I enjoyed watching Miss America and Sawbones battle it out, even though it's not 500, you still don't see and hear that anywhere else. Sport class was also VERY fun to watch and it's only going to get better (I know that won't ever be enough for some people to attend though).

    I am really hoping that Tsunami is the revival that the class needs, it's one Unlimited that we can all watch progress monthly and cross our fingers that one day it will be back around the sticks. It may be the last hope too...
    Wouldn't 232 be in that mix (Sawbones and Miss A) if a "stock" 3350 was installed? Would she be considered a super stocker then? Seems like a more affordable option to keep 232 rounding the pylons, if someone wanted to do so. Just spitballin'.

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