Air International 1988-02
??? - Records at Reno
"Strega", which would emerge as the winner, at the end of the line of Unlimited racers prior to the start of the Championship race. The noses of "Dreadnought" and "Rare Bear" are just visible beyond. Also in the line-up for this climactic event, but hidden in this photograph, were "Super Corsair", "Dago Red", "Pegasus", "Stiletto", "Thunderbird", and Gary Levitz’ P-51, "Miss Ashley".
Lyle Skelton brought his old campaigner "Rare Bear" to Reno but "chances are slim", says our correspondent, "for a Bearcat to win again".
Lloyd Hamilton's Wright R-4350-powered Sea Fury "Furias" appeared with an ugly new turtleback addition. It proved slower than in 1986 and "spent the week eating engines".
The most extreme modification of a Sea Fury to date, "Blind Man's Bluff' used highly volatile, exotic fuels that led Skip Holm to declare several in-flight emergencies during the heats and resulted in three engine changes.
Two Yak-11s showed up at Reno, but only this one raced. They were both reported to be ex-Egyptian and purchased, in pieces, in France. Owner-pilot of this example, Robert Yancey, replaced the stock engine with a Pratt & Whitney R-2800 from his Corsair “Old Blue”, did the odd nip here and tuck there, and came up with a sharp little racer that took second place in the Bronze race at 370-217 mph (595,790 km/h).
The other Yak-11, which did not qualify, was named “Maniyak” (groan!).
The Merlin-engined Bruce Boland Tsunami, the only Unlimited-class racer designed and built for the purpose, is owned by J R Sandberg and was raced by Steve Hinton. It achieved 464-649 mph (747,759 km/h) but suffered a landing gear collapse before the final. It should be capable of whipping everyone with ease: perhaps next year.
Australian/Italian Guido Zuccoli's Fiat G-59B "Ciao Bella" sounded great but was not fast. It is going back to Australia following its Reno appearance.