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Pylon Race #6 Print E-mail

Report by Anthony McDonald; video Jon Stychno

It seems with every pylon race this year with the exception of one month the wind and turbulent air has had pilots saving their airplanes multiple times every heat, not to mention death defying approaches and landings. Despite the horrible flying conditions ten pilots signed up to compete. The gossiping and catching up with friends and fellow competitors got the races started later than usual.

First to fly was the T-28/Corsair class with seven pilots. Brian Young, Wylie Walters, Dave Mercer, Paul Kohlmann, John Reade, Doug Moore, and the one and only Corsair pilot Phil Leech rounded up the roster for the class. The first heat Brian Young won in dominating fashion leaving the rest of the field to suggest a complete tear down and inspection of the winning plane. The second race in heat one had the first pilots of the day "buy the farm". First up was Dave Mercer splattering his bright red T-28 right in front of the pits. One lap eight Phil Leech lost his motor and left a smoke trail around the south pylon and called for a mayday landing but came up short. Phil's Corsair ended up in the vines upside down and relatively undamaged. This left only Wylie making solo laps and taking the win. Heat two race one turned out to be a shootout between Brian, Paul and Wyllie. Brian again won followed by Paul then Wyllie. Race two had only two pilots Doug Moore and John Reade. In the beginning laps John had a malfunction with his elevator which led to some aerobatics on the back stretch with Doug in hot pursuit. John won the race and Doug made a beautiful landing in badly turbulent air. Impressive for any pilot I thought. Heat three saw all remaining five pilots fly at once. The finishing order was again Brian, Wyllie, Paul, John, and Doug. Heat four had only four planes. After a bad countdown the race was on. Wylie came across the line and finished first followed by Brian, Paul, then John. The north pylon was cut once by Wylie and twice by Paul so this changed everything. Brian got the win followed by Wylie who had lapped the rest of the field, then John, and Paul cut out of the race. Brian won the day followed closely by Wylie then John. In the over all points race Brian is in first then Wylie in second, and Paul coming up to third.

Reno 450 had only two pilots. In the only heat of the day Steve Cole was three quarters of a lap ahead of Brian Young when tragedy stuck! Steve came around the north pylon and smacked the runway at full speed, leaving the wing on the runway while the fuselage leaped thirty feet high proceeding straight and true but shedding parts still remaining in the lead almost until the south pylon as Brian flew on to victory. Steve as always provided a high intensity exciting crash. Brian won the day but Steve leads the overall points race by only three points! Needless to say that was a wrap for Reno 450 with only one airplane left in the class.

The Dogfighter class was again flown by John Stychno and Brian Young. John won the first two heats. But in the third heat Brian jumped the start but was neck and neck with John. The were shadows cast on both airplanes at different points of the race that's how close the racing was! But all for nothing both pilots cut out of heat three. Heat four was again tight almost formation flying with John taking the win. John won the day and retained first place in the over all points race.

EF-1 only had four entries. John Stychno, Steve Cole, Jacob McDonald, and Tony McDonald. The first heat was won by Steve, followed by John, Jacob and Tony other than turbulence at the north pylon everyone made it back in one piece. Heat two was almost a repeat of heat one with the only exception being Jacob and Tony swapping third and forth places. Heat three started by Tony jumping out in the lead followed by Steve and Jacob. As Steve banked and then yanked around the South pylon tragedy Struck! Steve's Invictus seemingly exploded under the immense G loading. Jacob was fortunate enough to fly through Steve's debris field with no damage. Tony and John raced hard smelling "blood in the water" knowing the points leader was down and put on a good show! But as racing goes it was all for nothing as both Tony and John had multiple cuts leaving Jacob the win as he flew the coarse slow and wide thinking he had damage to his plane. Heat four saw Steve win with his back up Proud Bird followed by John, Tony, then Jacob. Steve still ended up winning the day, Jacob in second, followed by John. Steve is leading the over all points race by only five points with Jacob in second, and John in third. There is only six points separating first, second, and third.

So if you didn't make it to September's pylon race well you missed a great day of racing and plenty of carnage! If you have the need to step out of your comfort zone then come and be part of the show next month.

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