Reno Air Races 2014: Voodoo Gets the Win

Reno Air Races 2014 David Harsay

The 2014 edition of the National Championship Air Races at the Reno-Stead Airport west of Reno, Nevada, concluded this weekend. While many of the usual suspects, such as Strega, Voodoo, Precious Metal and Czech Mate, competed in the Unlimited Class, which features the fastest airplanes in the competition, this year's race provided a lot of extra excitement.

Bill "Tiger" Destefani, the owner of Strega who has handed over the highly modified P-51D to Steve Hinton Jr. and Matt Jackson during the past few years, took back the controls of the speedster. While Destefani had not raced since 2008 when he won the Unlimited Gold, he showed the crowds on Saturday that he still has the right stuff. Destefani came from an unfavorable start position and, from centerline photos, it appears that he beat Hinton Jr. by no more than a spinner. Comments on social media from many Reno veterans said it was one of the most exciting races they had ever seen.

But we will never see the official results of Saturday's photo finish. Strega was disqualified by the contest committee for "not maintaining course altitude."

Without Strega, Sunday's race was all Voodoo and Hinton Jr., who won his sixth straight Unlimited Gold title. Hinton Jr. finished more than four seconds ahead of Sherman Smoot in Czech Mate and more than 50 seconds ahead of the rest of the group. Thom Richard had a good run this year flying Precious Metal, but he was disqualified in the final race for cutting the showline.

Steve Hinton and Voodoo (Photo by: Lonnie Perkins)

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Pia Bergqvist joined FLYING in December 2010. A passionate aviator, Pia started flying in 1999 and quickly obtained her single- and multi-engine commercial, instrument and instructor ratings. After a decade of working in general aviation, Pia has accumulated almost 3,000 hours of flight time in nearly 40 different types of aircraft.

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