Reno, Nev. – Sunday, Sept. 14 concluded what was one of the most competitive National Championship Air Races in recent histories. Throughout the week, nearly 120 pilots, across six classes of airplanes, thrilled fans with racing that was intense and extremely close. Unfortunately, the results of Sunday’s thrilling Breitling Unlimited Gold Race have been called into question by some fans and pilots. Five-time reigning champion, Steve Hinton, won his sixth National Championship flying the P-51 Mustang “Voodoo.” Sherman Smoot and his Yak-11, “Czech Mate,” finished in second place. Unofficial race results had Thom Richard finishing in third place in the P-51 racer, “Precious Metal.” On Richard’s second lap, the Contest Committee Judge responsible for judging the East Showline ruled that Richard had crossed the showline. This is a violation of Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) rules and regulations and, according to official race rules, results in disqualification. This led to Dennis Sanders and “Dreadnought” finishing in third place.
According to the official race rules the ruling on a showline cut is not open to appeal. The Contest Committee Judges are positioned on the showline and have a clear view of the aircraft position and flight path relative to the showline. Due to the lack of calibration and standardization in the placement of cockpit cameras, cockpit video is not normally reviewed by the Contest Committee. In this case, the Contest Committee did review the aerial cockpit video from Precious Metal and determined that it clearly shows the flight path on lap 2 to be east of all the other laps flown. RARA works very closely with all six race classes, as well as the FAA, to ensure a safe and competitive event. And, as a National Championship event and the only one of its kind in the world, RARA is committed to working with all of its race officials and the class organizations to maintain the integrity of each race result. RARA has integrated new and advanced technologies into the timing and recording of the event and is committed to work with the FAA and the appropriate race classes to evolve race rules to maintain the highest degree of objectivity and accuracy in each and every race. We very much appreciate the support and engagement from all of our loyal and dedicated race fans. It is with their help that “the world’s fastest motorsport” will continue far into the future. # # #