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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Aug 2007
    San Diego, CA

    Default 2020 Sport Gold Synopsis

    I've come to enjoy making this thread every year. This year is a bit different with all of the uncertainty about Reno keeping teams more quiet than usual during the off-season, but let's get some discussion going!

    Reno 2019 showed what it really takes to win Sport Gold. This was the first time I've felt like there were at least a half dozen planes capable of 400+, and that hope fell flat. That being said, I am going to change the 2020 synopsis to reflect the "Primary" Gold contenders, and the "Secondary" Gold contenders. This will make sense as you read.

    As always, a full and unbiased report of all the Sport Gold racers for Reno 2020!

    (By Race #)...

    *PRIMARY GOLD CONTENDERS* - Aircraft proven capable or showing intent to win Sport Gold.

    #6 (N726DW) ~Lancair Legacy~ "Lucky Too": The return of Vicky Benzing's Aerochia prepared Legacy can't come soon enough. 2017 was the most recent outing for Lucky Too, and Vicky more than proved what the plane is capable of. At the time, Lucky Too was the fastest Legacy to turn the pylons at Reno, and held that title until the One Moment reign began. Vicky has a lot of responsibilities on her plate at Reno, and 2020 is expected to be no different. With rumors of the return of the Darkstar jet team, and her plans to field "Race 64" in the Unlimited class, we might just have to wait to see this awesome Legacy back around the pylons.

    #8 (N5S) ~Lancair Legacy~ "Race 8": After personal things sidelined Dave Sterling from racing his Legacy in 2019, Dave is more than ready to return and go for the crown. This is a fast plane, simple as that. Although I'm not too sure Race 8 will ever be able to compete with a Lancair like One Moment, I am more than ready for Dave to prove me wrong. If nothing else, Race 8 is a has the speed to push the fastest Gold planes to the breaking point and be right there to take the top spot.

    #24 (N430R) ~Glasair III~ "Race 24": If there is any Sport Gold contender that I think has the drive to dethrone the champs, it's Jim Rust in Race 24. I was thoroughly impressed by the 2019 showing of this speedy Glasair III from the qualifying speed just shy of 380mph, to the notable attempt to make some moves in Friday's Heat 2A. For a race plane that was only in year two of development, this was very impressive. Rust is determined to pick up where he left off in 2019 after fixing the issues that put him out of Saturday's Heat 3A, and adding more speed mods to this classy race-prepped Glasair III in the off-season. I am curious to see how Race 24 and Race 8 compare with each other!

    #30 (N115YP) ~Lancair Legacy~ "One Moment": It's easy to keep this description short and sweet. Andy ran flawlessly in 2019 qualifying in the top spot, and winning each race of the week. The team knows there will always be room for improvement, and there are definitely teams gunning for them harder than ever now that One Moment has two Gold wins under it's belt.

    #39 (N123AJ) ~Glasair III~ "Race 39": Jeff LaVelle's 2019 race week was a roller coaster ride. From the spectacular airshow smoke mayday in Thursday's Heat 1A, to the DNF's and DNS's the rest of the weekend, it was a difficult week for the world's fastest Glasair III. Jeff has made his intentions clear, and will finally have a new race engine ready for 2020 after years of beating up the engine that brought Race 39 to the top. 2019 showed the last signs of life on this engine, and who knows what Race 39 will be capable of with a fresh engine up front. This should be good!

    #42 (N42XT) ~NXT~ "Relentless": Relentless is back! I am always one to give credit where credit is due, and Kevin deserves an applause for finally getting Relentless back in shape. Sunday's 2nd place finish was a tad under 360mph, but for the first year back with a refreshed NXT, Kevin did a great job keeping up with the competition. I'm excited to see what else Kevin has in store for his quest to reclaim the Sport Gold for the NXT airframe.

    #67 (N167BP) ~Thunder Mustang~ "Swiss Thunder": Although Swiss Thunder has never been as fast at Blue Thunder II, it's just a matter of time until the team gets this plane dialed in to aim for the top spot. 2019 saw a race-prepared Falconer V12 dropped in, but troubles plagued the engine from qualifying until a DNF on Saturday put them out for 2019. If there is any Thunder Mustang that can pick up where Blue Thunder II left off, this would be that plane. Fingers crossed the race-prepared Falconer can hold through race week just once to see what Swiss Thunder can really do.

    *SECONDARY GOLD CONTENDERS* - Aircraft proven not yet capable of winning Sport Gold.

    #44 (N23LF) ~Lancair Legacy~ "Miss Karen II": I was very hopeful for a strong return of Lynn Farnsworth's Legacy, but the 2019 race week showed otherwise. Lynn's golden year was 2015 when Race 44 was able to finish Sunday's Gold race at over 375mph, but 2019 did not see a return to these speeds. I believe it is going to take some real time and dedication to get this Legacy up to speed with the front runners, but it sure does look pretty!

    #47 (N477CM) ~Glasair III~ "Mojo": Looking up consistency in the dictionary, you would find a picture of Bob Mills and Mojo. This is the Dreadnought of the Sport Class, a plane that rarely has trouble and always places near the middle of the Gold pack when there are real fast contenders present. I don't see Mojo ever being up to the standard that Race 39 is, but I am always interested in the mods that Bob does to this simple and elegant Glasair III.

    #181 (N181KG) ~Lancair Legacy~ "GA1": This was the Super Legacy I had placed a lot of hope on. This plane was built from the ground up to be a racing Legacy, and it just hasn't shown that yet. There are definitely some teething problems holding Race 181 from climbing up the ranks, but Karl made his intentions more than clear stating that the goal is not to win Sport Gold, but to race the plane safely and finish the race week somewhere in the Gold. This is a little disappointing, but each pilot has their own outlook on risk vs. reward and I will always be glad to see this Lancair on the pylons.


    Updates to follow!
    Last edited by GRNDP51; 05-20-2020 at 02:52 AM.
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    Reno from '99 to '19

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