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Air Racing News
Countdown To Reno 2003
Reno Air Racing Update
July 25, 2003

NemesisNXT Working Toward Debut
At The 40
th Annual National Championship Air Races

With "Reno 2003" just around the corner, Air Race fans from around he world are beginning to chomp at the proverbial bit for snippets of information on the "who-what-when" front for the annual meeting of the fastest of the fast of motorsport.

One of the most exciting potential entries into competition this year would be the much anticipated debut of Jon and Trish Sharp’s new Sport Division airplane "NemesisNXT."

Described on their website as "a two place, retractable gear, single engine, kit airplane of all molded carbon fiber construction allowing a very sleek aerodynamic profile. Powered by a world class Lycoming TI0-540-NXT engine and a Hartzell Three Blade Propeller, NemesisNXT will be a high performance, breathtakingly fast race plane available in kit form."

With the past history Nemesis Air Racing in mind, one would expect that the emphasis placed on "breathtakingly fast" might well be "somewhat" understated. The NXT was recently described (as it sits, nearly completed) by one of Jon’s former IF1 competitors, Ray Cote, as looking as though it is going 400MPH "and it’s not even moving!"

Many of you reading this are aware of that aforementioned history. Jon Sharp and the Nemesis Air Race team completely dominated the International Formula One Racing Division from the first time they raced "Nemesis" in 1991, until the airplane was retired after winning their last race in 1999. The list of achievements by the team is actually too long for the scope of this article but a brief synopsis includes: 47 victories out of 50 starts; 9 consecutive Reno National Gold Championships; 3 Bler̀ot Medals; 4 Pulitzer Aviation Trophies and 16 world speed records.. A very impressive record, indeed.

But regarding the successor to "Nemesis" the question on the lips of race fans this year is simply: "When do we get to see the NXT!?"

Building a completely new design air racer for Reno, or any other Air Race, could only be described as a monumental task. Add to this, the rules for the National Championship Air Racing Sport Class Division for kit-built airplanes that NXT will be raced in, that there be a total of five kits sold before any new design can be raced, and you have an extremely challenging task.

In a conversation via telephone on the evening of July 25, 2003, Jon Sharp informed us that the quest to debut the airplane at Oshkosh AirVenture 2003 had to be abandoned, but that the airplane, barring any major set-backs, would debut at Reno.

"We’re finishing up and delivering up the parts for the fifth kit, we have always not just been building one airplane, we’ve been building five," Sharp said. With time running so short, we asked Jon if the airplane would be raced at Reno or simply be on display, his answer, "if we’re at Reno, we’ll race", indicated that they fully intend to be there as competitors, not vendors!

According to Jon, the NXT is now "a whole airplane" adding, "we’ve got a bunch of people working on it, and our sponsors, Lycoming, Skunk Works, Red Line Oil, Aircraft Spruce, Fiber Cote, Hartzell, and the others… all of them, have really been jumping through the hoops for us, they have all just been an immense help to the program."

The NemesisNXT sponsors have, indeed, gone to great lengths with the new project from this very progressive team, Jon informed us that Lycoming has even created an engine with a specific dash number for the NXT series, the "TI0-540-NXT" has been designed specifically for the NXT application by the engine maker.

But will they actually be able to make Reno this year? We put this question to Jon and his reply was cautiously optimistic: "we expect first flight, sometime in August, if we’re able to fly the hours and work out all the bugs by Reno, we will be there" adding "if we make it to Reno, we expect to be competitive."

Jon and Trish Sharp form one of aviation’s unique couples. Sharing the duties of building not only a new airplane, but the new company formed around it, their dedication to this project can only be described as intense. Both members of the couple can almost always be found at their Mojave, California manufacturing facility, hands-on, making parts, contacting suppliers, keeping the books, from the smallest to the largest detail… a supremely challenging project for a married couple. Throughout, they remain a closely knit team and best of friends.

On a personal note, our calls to NemesisNXT are usually answered by Trish Sharp, who fields most of the calls to the team. On this evening’s call, the phone was answered by her husband Jon. Trish was involved in a fairly serious automobile accident earlier on the day of writing this story, an accident witnessed by Jon who was driving about 100 feet behind her. The airbag in the vehicle Trish was driving deployed and Trish and the other motorist were not seriously harmed. Jon indicated that after a few days of what will likely be a painful recuperation, he expected Trish would be back at work. "She’s pretty beat up, but no bones are broken, we expect she will be hurting for a while but she will be OK."

The Sharps anticipate a very busy air show schedule once the airplane is complete, The Nellis Air Force Base, Las Vegas Air Show is on their initial schedule and would likely be the debut of the airplane if the quest to be ready for competition at Reno can not be met.

Trish and Jon, everyone in the sport of Air Racing are pulling for you! Jon thanked us and all of the fans of his race team for their support tonight while we were speaking with him, my reply to Jon, I think, would speak for all Air Race fans, the "thanks" goes to Jon and Trish and all the people involved with this project. They are what makes this sport happen, without people like them, there would be no Air Racing!

Team Nemesis, We’ll see you in September!


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