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Thread: 2021 Sport Gold Synopsis

  1. #1
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    Default 2021 Sport Gold Synopsis

    Alright everyone, back to our regularly scheduled "Silly Season" programming. This has easily become my favorite thread to make every year, and as usual, Sport is looking competitive as ever. There has been some recent news for a handful of racers, and PRS has added some more clarity about what we can expect this year. Please add anything you know!

    Something that Reno 2019 made clear was that even if a plane looks fast on paper, it takes a HUGE amount of effort to get to the top. 2019 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, this year's list will be sorted by perceived potential/performance based on history, rather than by race number. Only the aircraft that have confirmed their likelihood of attending, or are very likely to attend are listed. The speculative/unconfirmed list of aircraft is further below.

    Enough explanation, here is a full and unbiased report of all the Sport Gold racers for Reno 2021!

    *CONFIRMED/LIKELY TO ATTEND* - (By Perceived Potential/Performance)

    (1.) #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. *2021 Update - As Team One Moment continues to refine the airframe and get every microknot possible, the most recently disclosed modification is a fancy carbon fiber panel coupled with new ADI controls courtesy of SDS*

    (2.) #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! *2021 Update - I have not heard any news about Race 39, but Jeff did attend PRS with his stock Glasair III. More to come?*

    (3.) #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.

    (4.) #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. *2021 Update - Relentless has recently been listed for sale again, but Kevin does plan on campaigning the NXT at Reno this year. The most recently disclosed mod is a handcrafted carbon fiber intake tube. Very fancy stuff!*

    (5.) #3 (N477CM) ~Glasair III~ "Mojo": Mojo takes on a new race number alongside her new owner this year - Sean VanHatten! After a devastating (and terrifying) qualifying incident in the Havoc Air Racing Super Glasair III at Reno 2019, it was time for Sean to decide what the next move is. That next move is spelt M-O-J-O. Word on the block, Sean is VERY confident that Mojo is going to be a force this year. Let's wait and see?

    (6.) #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. *2021 Update - I have not heard any recent news about modifications or experimental race-prepared V12's, but fingers crossed there is some secret stuff in the works*

    (7.) #? (N#?) ~Lancair Legacy~ "?": One of the new Sport racers to grace the sticks (and one I have been aching to see in person) veteran race pilot and speed mod guru Tom McNerney will finally have his immaculately built Super Legacy at Reno this year. Similarly to Karl Grove's Super Legacy, Tom's was built from the ground up with racing in mind, so the mods to get to the top of Gold were built into it right from the start. As Sport racing goes, it could take a few years for all the bugs to be worked out, but count on Tom's Super Legacy to be a real contender in the Gold class from here on out.

    (8.) #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. *2021 Update - Karl has been posting plenty on his social media accounts about his AC-Aero Centurion water/methanol injected crazy game changing engine going into the plane. We will finally get to see this experiment in action come September!*

    *UNCONFIRMED* - (By Race #)

    #6 (N726DW) ~Lancair Legacy~ "Lucky Too": The return of this awesome 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. Back in 2020, some rumors floated around that Brett Schuck would be flying the Super Legacy at the races, but I haven't seen much about this in recent months. Fingers crossed this still happens!

    #33 (N33XP) ~Lancair Legacy~ "Race 33": I wouldn't be adding Race 33 to the list at all if I didn't hear about Andy Chiavetta slyly posting a video of the iconic Super Legacy getting a new engine. I have no idea what this means, but have high hopes it's time for Race 33 to make her well-deserved return to Reno.

    #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! I have not heard if Lynn plans on racing this year.

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    Updates to follow!
    Last edited by GRNDP51; 06-09-2021 at 07:24 AM.
    *My Air Race Site*

    Reno from '99 to '19

  2. #2

    Default Re: 2021 Sport Gold Synopsis

    While he won't be in the gold, it's still a development. Paul Downing #36 has a new firewall forward. He had a schedule conflict that kept him from racing in 2019, but looking for ways to go faster for 2021.
    "young" Thomas

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