The 2009 Reno Air Race would be my very first experience of this kind. (See the gallery above.) Sure we’ve had more than a few Air Force and Navy air shows in Hawaii but nothing like Reno. The trip to Reno-Stead was inspired mainly by my father’s life long fascination with aircraft and flying; in part by a chance meeting earlier this year, in Hawaii.
I had done some architectural work for a regular client and the home owners happened to be Mr. & Mrs. Mike Brown. Yes, that same Mike Brown of Reno Air Race fame! Captain and patriarch of the 2006, gold medal, “Mike Brown Air Force”: September Pops, September Fury, and Big Boss Man. I knew very little about pylon racing and probably insulted Mike by asking, “Is it like the Red Bull?” He sorta straightened me out and outlined his experiences and small fleet of very impressive aircraft. I was hooked! And I promised myself that I would bare witness to a “real air race”, this year!
Well, we did it! Although it was “a day late and a buck short”. While at Reno-Stead, I constantly wondered, “Where is Mike?” The MB Air Force was no where to be seen. Only after returning to Hawaii did I realize why. Apparently, late 2008, Mike had made the decision to retire from air racing and sold EVERYTHING. I felt like more of an ass for making the Red Bull comparison!!! The reasons are the Browns’ alone and I respect that… I just wish I could have had the chance to see the MB Air Force fly, at least once!
We actually had purchased tickets for the entire weekend but after a long, MB-Air-Force-free Saturday, we decided not to return on Sunday. With MB absent, I was far less enthused to watch the Unlimited’s. And I knew enough about Strega to know that she and her new pilot would more than likely win their class… it’s no fun when you know who is gonna win before the race is run.
I am glad we attended the 2009 Reno Air Race. I may return. But I am sure there are many who were also very disappointed by the lack of the MB Air Force. I am glad I met Mike Brown and his lovely wife, when I did, and I wish them all the very best that life has to offer!