Race for Unlimited Gold is on at Reno! Strega vs. Voodoo!

Voodoo Race 05

Voodoo Race 05

Race 7 Strega, P-51D, Steve Hinton Jr. Pilot

Race 7 Strega, P-51D, Steve Hinton Jr. PilotThe 50th Anniversary of the Reno National Air Races Championship is providing a few changes in who’s piloting your favorite war bird planes.

Steve Hinton

Steve If you’re a fan of the Unlimited Class, then you know the last four years Gold Race was won by the youngest pilot in the Unlimited Class, Steve Hinton Jr., affectionately known as Stevo.

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

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