F1 Shaping Up

Vito Wypraechtiger’s Scarlet Screamer features a new wing but no great jump in speed this year. The Swiss’ race team is crewed by Austrian, German, Italian and New Zealand personnel; the engine and airframe live in California.
Vito Wypraechtiger’s Scarlet Screamer features a new wing but no great jump in speed this year. The Swiss’ race team is crewed by Austrian, German, Italian and New Zealand personnel; the engine and airframe live in California.

Qualifying is often telling the tale with racing around Reno’s pylons, but when the heat races start the reality of Sunday’s Gold money races begins to take shape.

So it was interesting to watch Lowell Slatter in Fraed Naught put a whole bunch of clear airspace between himself and Steve Senegal in consistent front runner Endeavor in this mornings Gold heat race. Clearly someone has worked some magic into Fraed Naught’s 253 mph aerodynamics for 2016 as the airplane has made a big jump from mid-pack to the front row of F1 racing. Such large improvements can’t be made with horsepower alone in such a tightly regulated class.

Finishing third today was Vito Wypraechtiger in the world’s fastest tube-frame F1 racer, Scarlet Screamer. The Swiss racer, like Slatter, was quick at the start, but was easily passed by the slow-starting but clearly faster Endeavor once the first lap was underway. Vito made a race of it for a couple of laps, then audibly dialed back to cruise power as he wasn’t going to catch Senegal and wasn’t going to be caught by a trailing Thom Richard in Hot Stuff. Thom has been having one of those years, changing cylinders yesterday, and while sounding good, didn’t have the speed to take a battle forward in today’s race.

Senegal posted a 249 mph average speed, Vito 233 mph and Thom 231 mph.

Better racing was to be found for fourth, where Steve Temple in Madness barely bested James Jordan in Miss Min. The pair ran together at 220 mph.

Also well matched were Des Hart from Scotland flying Chaos Theory and Justin Meaders, a paraplegic using hand controls in Quadnickel. They discussed things at 206 mph for sixth and seventh.

Quadnickel is unique in air racing: it’s fitted with hand controls for pilot Justin Meaders.
Quadnickel is unique in air racing: it’s fitted with hand controls for pilot Justin Meaders.

Post race the word was “Same old, same old” in the Endeavor pits where the crew chief said he “wish there was something I could change.” Vito reported the engine was working perfectly—like so many F1 racers Vito’s O-200 comes out of the Ly-Con shop—and said he had a new wing on his Cassutt III-M. We would have liked a word with Slatter in the Fraed Naught pits, but not unexpectedly no one was around. Things are like that when you’re going fast and there aren’t any problems!

Tom Wilson

Tom Wilson is a professional magazine writer and nurtures an ongoing affair with all things internal combustion. His writing is most often found in automotive magazines, but aviation is his first love. Working as a line boy, he learned to fly while in high school, but still hasn't mastered the art of keeping a paper chart in an open cockpit.

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