SARL Race Report for November by Pat Purcell

Pagosa Springs Race
By Pat Purcell

There has been a lot of racing across the US during September and October.   The cooler temperatures are welcome but the rainy weather conditions have played a factor in pilots being able to attend a race. The rain has also played a factor in getting the racers in the air.  Great weather in

Pagosa Springs, Colorado where racers gathered for the fifth consecutive year on September 21.  Jeff Barnes in his RV-6 dominated the race with the exception of the season opener where Jason Rovey bested him.  Jason just returned from flying his rookie season at the Reno Championship Air Races. Jason was faster than ever on the closed course, flying his #391 RV-8 to victory at 228 mph. Jason’s all-time best on the open course.

Mike and Mark Patey were on hand from Utah.  The twin brothers are always up to something.  They recently exchanged their six cylinder engines for eight Lycoming cylinders.  Mark acquired an Eclipse jet and flew it to Pagosa Springs to make an exhibition run.  He was timed and as it turns out, Mike and his Legacy with the TSIO-780 ran faster.

Leonard Felix brought the first Heavy Metal entry of the year flying his SNJ-6, providing a roaring good show for all. Klaus Savier, of California, dominated the Formula Blue Class in his record holding Long EZ.   Many racers coming from the East, (The Texas crowd), were unable to make it due to weather.  None the less, a great group flew the picturesque route over the Rockies, whom finished safely and successfully.

Northwoods Race
By Pat Purcell

The Northwoods race at Waupaca, Wisconsin offered spectacular fall colors, an added treat for those arriving on Friday.  The evening social included a presentation by air racer, Bill Brennard.  The race was scheduled for October 5, 2013.   Bob Axsom and Jeff Barnes arrived early to beat the weather and to guarantee that points would be added to their totals.  In the end, the weather beat all but Bob, Jeff and one intrepid Cherokee pilot.   The Friday evening program was cancelled. On Sunday, Heat One was run with the only three aircraft that had made it to the start.  YUP, Jeff beat Bob again.

Saturday October 12th was scheduled for Heat Two, the remaining entries, and the much anticipated program by Bill Brennard.   Bill worked for and raced with Steve Wittman in the late 40’s and early 50’s.  He flew his favorite Formula 1 Buster to many wins and was in the winner’s circle more times than not.  The racers were privileged to have him share his experiences with them.
Scott Gusakov in his Glasair III was top speed.  Scott is racing all the eastern events with his wife as co-pilot and Edison as co-co-pilot.  Edison is a dog and has a special bench seat in the Glasair,   Race 540 is quite a team.

The Factory classes were a Piper parade.  There was a Twin Comanche setting a Class record, a Comanche 250, a Cherokee Six and a Cherokee 150.   Air Venture Cup organizer, Eric Whyte flew the Comanche 250, the “Swedemobile.”  This plane was the only ship ever owned by AirVenture Cup co-founder Erik “Swede” Anderson, who passed away suddenly this year and has a very special place in our racing history.

Cleveland Revival Air Race
By Linda Ely

The Cleveland Revival Air Race was held on October 12, 2013 by Linda and Mike Ely in Cleveland, Texas. Though the 2013 Cleveland Air Race Revival was weather delayed no one seemed to lose heart.  Airport managers Clay and Darline Dean were excited about continuing the race; not having hosted one before they felt they needed help with the logistics.  That’s what the Sport Aviation Racing League (SARL) Chairman and Founder, Mike Thompson does. He drew up the course, certified it “SARL-approved” and made trophies. Then the Deans contacted their local Chamber of Commerce and invited the public. The Chamber promoted and supported the event with banners gracing every entrance to the city.

The season point races are hot in both the Experimental and Production categories. Going for the Gold in Experimental, Jeff Barnes (Race 411) and Bob Axsom (Race 71) continue their tight battle.

Bob Wiseman, a co-worker, flew his Mooney to “observe” a race before committing to race.

I said, “You can best observe from inside a race plane, so have my seat.” He didn’t hesitate, after I introduced him to Captain Mike of Team Ely, the two began talking about race strategy.  As they took off and made the diving turn to the start line in our Grumman Cheetah (Race 55) Mike spotted Race 2E, the Cessna 182 flown by Dean Woods not far behind and tasted competition.  The Cessna was hot on his tail through the first three legs, finally making the pass at turn three.  We knew he was 500 feet below us and when he called turn three – I called turn three, and rolled. I looked straight down my wingtip and there he was; both of us in steep banks, our arcs looked synchronized. The two planes remained close with Mike using the Cheetah’s sharper turning capabilities to make up for slightly slower speed crossing the finish a mile behind.

While Team Ely didn’t have competition in Class, the 182 provided some great competitive fun, and now Bob, our guest navigator and retired Navy P3 Orion pilot is hooked. We expect to see his Mooney very soon.

Nick Stokes (Race 310) wanted to push his Cessna 310 a bit harder this year. The college student flew the Cleveland course last year but didn’t push it then. This year, he said, he wanted to see what it would do. Hearing him on the radio making passing calls was exciting; his airplane was really showing him what it could do.  Nick’s mother had been a bit nervous about him racing so he invited her to ride along. She was a good sport and seemed to be looking forward to it, but with reservations. However, you couldn’t wipe the grin off of her post-race face; and without reservation she said, “This is addicting! It’s so much fun!”

Mike Smith (Race 35) and Mike Patey (Race 32) made it in through weather, exciting the crowd with their grand entry (a formation fly-by) announcing their presence.  Even the DJ turned off his music as all eyes were toward the north, hearing the three-mile final call, and then in no time, zoom!

The two front-runners flew the race higher than the rest of the field. Mike Patey said afterward that he had to go miles wide around a couple of turns due to weather, yet he still had a very fast time and seemed pleased with the way his machine was running.

In the back of the pack was a Kelly D (biplane), its pilot, William Oliver (Race 53) having a great time on the short course chasing a Decathlon flown by James Whitson (Race 92), and two local Kitfoxes.
The Kitfox rivalry was between two friends, Mark Clevenger and Tom Street, both Southwest pilots. Friday night as Clay Dean put the finishing touches on the barbeque, while Tom was in his hangar, Mark was accusing Tom of doing some secret speed mods.   No wonder their race was that close; just seconds apart!

The best of the non-racing part is the new airport managers. They’ve not only embraced SARL but their vision for all the good their airport can do. Clay is a successful businessman who began learning to fly later in life.  He wasted no time earning his CFI and spreading the love of aviation and of Christ. Clay and Darline are passionate about flying Pilots for Patientstrips.  Mentoring youth is high on their list too.  In fact the ramp workers, and most of the ground help was handled by the high school and college kids whom Dean has been working with.  Each kid will receive a free flight lesson in exchange for their help at the race. These are respectful kids who say, “Ma’am” and “Sir,” who look you in the eye during a conversation. They share their excitement about their first solo and how many airplanes they’ve been in so far. They help out at the FBO after school to earn flying lessons.  When the race was over, Clay looked around the FBO at all the kids still hanging out, exhausted and happy. “Here – this is our future. I love having them here.”

The Deans have brought a new excitement to their local airport and their community – what a great place to be!
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