This four-hour feature is packed with information and personality, as director Mark Chiolis interviews every living Unlimited Gold winner of the National Championship Air Races. These remarkable men, aged from the low twenties to their seventies, are among the fastest humans on the planet, and the fastest-ever behind a spinning propeller. They openly share their insights and recollections with us mortals, and it’s surprising how similar their piloting experiences are to those of the rest of ours – and how different!
Each of the interviewees is casual and open, happy to talk of the good times, the scary times, and the occasional bad times; their dreams when they started and their ideas, today.
The Unlimited winners, always an exclusive club, are rarer still in this year’s entry list: Darryl Greenamyer has retired from Unlimited racing at least until his 4360-powered special – (more on that in the video) gets ready; Mira Slovak retired after winning the first Gold in 1964; Bruce Lockwood has stopped flying altogether; Skip Holm and John Penney aren’t entered in 2012; Steve Hinton flies the pace plane; Ron Hevle and Mike Brown don’t compete any longer; Clay Lacy is running his corporate flying empire; Bill DeStefani has handed Strega over to younger hands; and the Sanders brothers, Dennis and Brian, share turns in Dreadnought. Only they and Steven Hinton (Steve’s son) are Chasing Reno Gold.
Of the winning airplanes, only two-time winner Dreadnought, ten-time winner* Rare Bear, nine-time winner Strega, and September Fury are still flying. The breed is getting rarer each year, and attrition and price inflation are culling the available warbirds, fast. That makes this DVD more a treasure; Unlimited Air Racing as we know it is folding in on itself, and its new regulations are keeping a lot of other prospects out – the good times are right now!
It’s not just the pilots who contribute, either. The top names in Reno speed – Pete Law, Bill Kerchenfaut, and others give up some of their secrets. History is provided by Bob Hoover, Grand Marshal for some 30 years; and current insights by RARA (Reno Air Racing Association) officials, bring us up to the minute.
Any fan of the Reno Championship Air Races, of air racing, or of the heroism and hard work that go into a championship motorsports effort will gain a lot by watching this video. It’s more education than entertainment – but so is college, compared to a movie; and which does your soul more good?
Available on DVD and high definition Blu Ray.
* Rare Bear, if you count all the #77 wins, has a total of 10 wins; 8 under its current name. Strega has a total of 9.
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