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
He will be missed by many."
- James Clymer, Crew Chief, Lickety Split
Race Team -
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
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.
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.
© 2000 Tom Philo all rights reserved
photographer contact email@example.com