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Wed, May 31, 2023

Reno Air Racing Association Seeking Venue for Future Air Races

Holding Out for a Hero

The Reno Air Racing Association (RARA) announced on 30 May 2023 that it is accepting bids from airports and localities seeking to partner with the organization for purpose of hosting future air racing events.

On 09 March 2023, the Reno Air Racing Association’s board of directors regretfully announced that 2023’s 59th National Championship Air Races—spanning 13 through 17 September—are to be the last held at Reno, Nevada’s Reno-Stead Airport (4SD).

In a letter addressed “To Our Loyal Fans and Passionate Community,” the race’s board of directors stated: “While we knew this day might come, we had hoped it wouldn’t come so soon.”

The beloved event’s death-knell was sounded by the Reno-Tahoe Airport Authority, which alleged the region’s significant 21st Century growth precluded safe air racing. Across the world, Aviation in all its forms—from business jets to Part 121 air-carriers to air-shows—has been targeted by climate-zealots bent on reducing mankind’s aerial exploits to kite-flying.

To the subject of the National Championship Air Races’ future, Reno Air Racing Association chairman and CEO Fred Telling set forth: “We are incredibly excited to look at this next evolution of the National Championship Air Races and the ways in which we can further grow the event for current and future generations of air race fans. This year’s event will be a celebration of our legacy and allow us to springboard forward as we search for a new home for the event. We’re thankful for all of the interest we’ve already received from prospective sites and look forward to an exciting RFP process.”

The National Championship Air Races are a vibrant facet of aviation’s culture and history. The only event of its kind across the wide world, the annual air racing series attracts tens-of-thousands of global patrons and has, since its 1964 inception, supplemented Nevada’s economy with upwards of $100-million.

Among the myriad questions surrounding the future of the National Championship Air Races is the matter of format. Potential partner-venues may acquiesce to convention and host the event over a number of days at a single location. Contrariwise, the races—after the fashion of the eminently popular Formula One automotive and Moto GP motorcycle racing series—may be broken up into a larger, multi-city succession of rounds.

Reno Air Racing Association board vice-chairman and Request For Proposal (RFP) committee lead Terry Matter remarked: “Our RFP selection committee is excited to get to work on this project and to see the possibilities for the event’s next home. We have a talented group of 12 members made up of other RARA board members, race pilots, engineers, and consultants who have been chosen for their combined knowledge and familiarity with the detail and scope of what it takes to produce, manage, and market the National Championship Air Races. With their expertise, we feel confident we will select the best location for the event’s continued success.”

Appositely billed The World’s Fastest Motorsport, the Reno Air Races have, for decades, thrilled spectators with head-to-head competition across seven aircraft classes ranging from hot-rodded STOL airplanes to highly-modified WWII fighters. The latter machines—primarily P-51 Mustangs, F-8F Bearcats, and Hawker Sea Furies—are capable of straight-line speeds in excess of five-hundred-miles-per-hour.

The yearly event is among aviation’s high sacraments and occasions displays of engineering brilliance, masterful airmanship, and raw courage demonstrative of the very best of humankind’s intellect and spirit.

Historically, the Reno Air Races have comprised two-and-a-half days of qualifying followed by four-and-a-half days of multi-aircraft heat racing divided into seven-classes: STOL Drag; T-6; Sport; Biplane; Formula-1; Jet; and the main-event Unlimited Class. The competition culminates in the Unlimited Class Gold Race—an incomparable syncretism of speed and sound that imprints upon the eyes, ears, and soul like a Led Zeppelin/Who double bill at Red Rocks with pyrotechnics by the U.S. Army’s 56th Artillery Command.

Parties interested in attending the Reno Air Races’ 2023 swansong may purchase tickets via the FMI link below. The perennially-popular races draw immense crowds; turnout for the final Reno event, however, is apt to be record-setting. Ergo, ticket-seekers are encouraged to make haste.



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