In 2009 Stevo shook up the seasoned Gold Race pilots in his first race at Reno by flying a super tight and clean course line and setting a new course record of 491.822 MPH in the beautiful red and white P-51 Strega, Race 7, owned by Tiger Destefani.
All eyes have been on Stevo since the first race four years ago with his fellow competitors.
We all witnessed the respect and support given to Stevo by the seasoned pilots he challenged in the Unlimited Class. All genuinely thrilled to watch him consistently win the Unlimited Gold in Strega – fair and square …with no one holding back in their desire to win the Gold and, an engraving with their name on the beautiful silver-winged trophy.
Fans may be torn this year – which will they root for, the beautiful P-51 Strega, Race 7 , flow by Matt Jackson this year, or Stevo, now flying Voodoo, Race 05?
Hinton’s competitors may feel they have an edge and an opportunity to win the Gold this year – at least the door seems open.
Strega’s flown fast but muscled thru a few troubles in the last few days – making it more of a challenge to earn a Gold Race position for Sunday Unlimited Gold.
Earlier in the week, Strega lost part of its canopy during a heat which would have qualified her for the Gold on Sunday. So, yesterday while making up for that missed opportunity, Jackson pushed hard to win Heat 1 of the Unlimited Silver Race.
While going for a pass of Race 47, the P-51D Mustang Ole Yeller, piloted by John Bagley, Strega flew out of bounds and was disqualified or given a DNF (did not finish), as well as Old Yeller.
Voodoo has performed well, but hasn’t produced the performance or speed to win the Gold for a few years.
The $64K dollar question: Will Hinton be the determining factor that finesses Voodoo to a win this year?
Or will the sheer power and consistency of the winning P-51, bring Strega and its new pilot Jackson, over the home pylon first?
Either way, it sure makes for a fun weekend of racing!
Good Luck and God’s Speed Racers!
Kimberley West, WarBirdBabe
Check out Matt Jackson’s credentials in the informative article written by Caroline Sheen of Air & Space Smithsonian http://www.airspacemag.com/flight-today/sticks.html
…Through photography, creativity flows and spreads around the world, quietly benefiting everyone in its infinite exchange of beauty and grace…
Each year, world class photographers meet at Stead Air Force Base in Reno, Nevada to capture breathtaking pictures of grand aircraft – old and new, exceptional pilots, race fans and many of the small intricacies that most eyes overlook at this extraordinary event, The National Championship Air Races and Air Show.
Ultimately, feelings of awe, joy, excitement, and many other emotions unique to each individual, are captured in these photographs, all in a collective moment in time.
As these photographers share their best pictures taken each day, I am endlessly amazed that we are at the same event, with the same opportunities to capture the same images.
The combined talent meeting each year for one week in September is unparallelled, the photographs are breathtakingly beautiful and quite moving. I am humbled and grateful to be among my talented friends.
The following pictures are only a few photographs taken under the pylons that my exceptional friend from Japan, Mr. Tatsuo Sakurai took in 2010 and 2012. I’ll be posting another collection of his photographs from 2012, that not only showcase his immense technical talent (as seen here in these perfectly clear pictures of Jets and other aircraft flying at speeds of up to 500mph), but also his incredible artistry that transforms simple things into beautiful photographs.
We’re all looking forward to the Air Races, and the best aviation photographs taken by the best aviation photographers!
Kimberley West, WarBirdBabe