California 300 Air Race: First Event of the 2004 National Air
By ANN Contributor Pat Purcell
Southern California provided ideal
weather and the start location for the first event of the 2004
National Air Races. French Valley Airport, Murrieta (CA) was the
start/finish for Tuesday's California 300 Air Race. The competition
was so close that mere seconds separated the entire field.
The winner of the 2003 Marion Jayne Perpetual Trophy for the
highest scoring entry for the overall event has taken the early
lead in a quest to become only the second two time winner of this
Race 13, Bob Samson and Carol Burns of Fort Worth (TX) flew "Big
Blue" -- their Piper Lance -- to victory. Roaring into second
place, Race 25, Stu Morse, Daytona Beach (FL) and Jim Clarry of
East Islip (NY) in "Tiger Lily" the Grumman Tiger.
The winners of the 2003 Renaissance 300 just about pulled off a
repeat when the third-place finishers in Race 3, Charles Robinson
and Maisie Stears of Kalamazoo (MI) came oh so close with "Sweet
Potato" the Piper Geronimo giving it her all.
Race 1 grabbed Fourth Place. This all-woman team now leads in
the quest for the Best All Women's Team Award in Honor of the 1929
First Women's Air Derby. Denise Waters of New York (NY) and Nancy
Toon of Atlanta (GA) made their mark in a Grumman Tiger.
Fifth Place to Race 29, Larry Morris, Concord (NC) and John
Dawson, Richmond (VA) in "Cumulus Bound" a Beech Baron. Watch Race
29 as they head across the continent, they have the fastest speed.
But will that help them gain ground on the leaders?
Race 8, Sixth Place went to Fran Bera, of San Diego (CA) and
Patricia Prentiss, Corona del Mar (CA) in a Comanche 260. They're
favored to move up as Fran sports a record of air race wins few can
Race 5, Sixth place, Susan Theurkauf, Pasadena, (CA) and Sue
Ballew, Greenbrae (CA), are flying a Cessna 172XP. Race 10, Eighth,
Don and Tookie Hensley of Mohave Valley (AZ) in their Cessna 172
have the race credentials to come from behind. Race 41 in Ninth
place looks to be another "stretch runner." Shelby Bowles of
Waldorf (MD) and Jim Reed of LaPlata (MD) say they have "Wild
Thing" under control, so watch that Cessna Skymaster. Race 11,
Tenth place features rookie racers, Linda and Ron Lunsford and
Linda Love-Quiggle of California City (CA) demonstrated some
outstanding flying in a Mooney Executive.
The US Air Race, Inc. continues it's perfect safety record with
its cross country air races. The skilled pilots competing in the
2004 California 300 flew a flawless, penalty free race.
Over the next 5 days they will cross the United States on the 2100
Mile Marion Jayne Air Race and conclude with the Cleveland 300. The
stage is set, the early leaders are out there. Who will go the
distance? We are going to see some amazing flying!