The North American P-51 Mustang
Reno 2013
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P-51 Mustang at Reno 2013
Unlimited Race Class
story and photos by Curtis Fowles

The Unlimited Class was reformed during the summer as a work around when the FAA, RARA and the past unlimited class did not agree on rule changes. The good news is we raced with the fastest unlimiteds available today. The bad news is a few unlimited owners chose to stand down. With only 16 Unlimited Class racers on the roster and 2 no shows, the field was down in numbers but not excitement.

Missed were Rod Lewis' Tigercat. That sound coming around the pylons is unbeatable. Also missing were Doug Mathews' Corsair, Tom Camp's Wildcat and John-Curtiss Paul P-40s and P-51B. Let's not forget the racers recently departed: Robert Odegaard, Howard Pardue and Jimmy Leeward.

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2013 Silver Unlimited Results:

Winner: #11 Brent Hisey, P-51D Miss America - bump to Gold

1st - #924 Brian Sanders, Sea Fury
2nd - #47 John Bagley, P-51D Ole Yeller
3rd - #12 Doug Matthews, P-51D The Rebel
4th - #44 Brant Seghetti, P-51D Sparky

2013 Brietling Unlimited Gold Results:

1st - #5 Steven Hinton, P-51D Voodoo - 482 mph
2nd - #7 Matt Jackson, P-51D Srega - 475 mph
3rd - #86 Sherman Smoot, Yak 11 Czech Mate - 456 mph
4th - #77 Stewart Dawson, F8F Rare Bear - 451 mph
5th - #38 Thom Richard, P-51R Precious Metal - 435 mph
6th - #8 Brian Sanders, Sea Fury Dreadnought - 424 mph
7th - #71 Curt Brown, Sea Fury Sawbones - 407 mph
8th - #114 Korey Wells, Sea Fury Argonaut - 376 mph
9th - #11 Brent Hisey, P-51D Miss America - 373 mph

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BIG congratulations to Bob Button, Bill Kerchenfaut, Steven Hinton and the Voodoo Crew who fought and worked hard for many years to get here. Thanks to Hoot Gibson for putting on one heck of a show, blasting 232 around the course at the fastest speeds ever for a Sea Fury. Thanks to Team Rare Bear for continually working and fighting for more speed every day during the week. Huge thanks to Thom Richard and Precious Metal who went through hell to get here and race. They thrashed up to the last minute more than once. Congrats to Sherman Smoot and his great finish after several years off.

The Reno Air Races would not be cool and have a cult-like following if it was not for all the warbird owners who put up their own dollars to come here and race. Yes there is a purse for winning, but it does not cover all the work and costs that go into racing an unlimited aircraft at Reno. Thom Richard flew from Florida and back to race at Reno.

Thanks to the crazed fans who travel from around the world to see the fastest motor sport. I talked to folks from Japan, Germany, UK, New Zealand and Australia and more. What a great and safe year of air racing. Let's get together again in the 2nd week of September 2014.

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