On July 9th 2011, a lot of firsts occurred.
Big Sky Air Race was the first Sport Air Racing league event ever in Montana.
We had First class racers, First
class weather and a First class scenic race route.
It was our first time organizing a race and we had 16 first time
racers. 26 racers from as far away as Texas, Arizona, Nevada, Utah, Washington, Idaho, Montana and even Canada registered
for the Inaugural event in Three Forks Montana.
Cody Folkvord of Headwaters Flying service opened his doors to welcome
everyone on one of the nicest days of the summer. Over 100 people lined the ramp area to witness the start and launch of a
wide range of aircraft.
Alan Crawford's "Spirit of America" Lancair was first to go and set the tone
of the day. FREEDOM! The flashy Super 6's of Mills and Brownd along with Flick's Harmon Rocket raised the testosterone
of everyone within earshot. Stu V's Glasair RG went out trying to chase them down.
The Bennett's big Bonanza
had stage fright with Rovey's RV-8 sneaking in behind them, so had to start later. So the RV Blues of Jason, Travis, Thompson
and Carroll took off next.
2 RV-10's had dropped in to watch but with the RV Gold wide open, they decided to race
against each other.
The rest of the start is a blur for me. Harley is a polished Swift, Chris Woodard in his Varieze,
Scott Richardson in his turbo Mooney, RV Blues of Mallot, Haynes & Klewin roughly in that order. Tim Bovee's Mustang
II and Danz in his LongEZ filled out the FX Red, followed by Everett's Comanche. Local pilots Al in a Cherokee 180 and
a Hollister's 182 were in there somewhere.
About this time Dennis G in period Barnstormer clothing, wow'd the
crowd with his immaculate Black and yellow 1929 WACO.
Youngest pilot, 18yr Alex K decided to test his mettle in the
family PA-28-140. Batting cleanup was Jim Booth in a radial engine float equipped Supercub. …I was hoping he wouldn't
be needed for a water rescue along the lake route.
The course was challenging, scenic but racer and spectator friendly.
Feedback from the turn marshals and folks along the lake was overwhelmingly positive. One cabin owner along the lake left
a phone message saying "come back, that was the best". The Island turn was lined with people on the shores and boats.
Bob Mills' "Nasty" was the star. Turn 5 wrote "BADASS" on his roster. Turn 6 spotter thought
he could see the floor of Bob's plane as he rounded the corner.
The Three Forks crowd didn't have to wait long
after the last racer crossed the starting line before the red/white/blue of Race 02 came screaming home. Alan's speed
of 276mph was best of the day.
Other notables were: Rovey's 220mph to redeem himself against the Bennett's
212. Bob thinks Jason may have sabotaged their starter to throw them off their game. Young Mr. Koch with his barely dry pilot
certificate flew the family Cherokee to a 1st place in FAC5. Dennis' WACO set a SARL FAC2FX class speed record at 127.08mph.
can't speak for everyone, but from what I saw and felt we had a BLAST!
Get ready for Big Sky in 2012!
Carroll, Race Director, Big Sky Air Race