Legendary ‘Strega’ to compete at Reno with new pilot

The Reno Air Racing Association (RARA) announced this week that legendary Unlimited & Warbird Class (UWRC) racers “Strega,” “Precious Metal,” “Argonaut,” and “Dreadnought,” are the latest entrants into the  most recognizable racing class.

In a surprising twist, “Strega,” (pictured) which has been flown to victory the past four years by defending champion Steve Hinton, will be flown by Air Race veteran Matt Jackson.

This year Hinton will be flying another Air Race favorite, the purple and yellow P-51 Mustang “Voodoo.”

These latest additions round out one of the Reno Air Races’ most competitive racing fields in the history of the event, which will take place at the Reno-Stead Airport Sept. 11 -15, according to officials.

“With these latest additions to the Unlimited & Warbird Racing Class, we have as good of a racing field as we have ever had and one that is absolutely befitting of our special 50th event,” said Mike Houghton, president and CEO of RARA. “We are ecstatic to announce that we will have the most recognizable racing planes and pilots in the world and one of the most competitive national championships in the event’s storied history.”

In taking the helm of “Strega,” owned by race champion Bill “Tiger” Destefani, Jackson will be piloting the winningest plane in the history of the Reno Air Races’ Unlimited division. He will be trying to unseat Hinton, who has won Unlimited Gold in each of the four years that he has competed in Reno.

The Breitling-sponsored “Precious Metal” will be piloted by longtime race pilot and Formula One Gold Champion Thom Richard, who will be looking to win his first Unlimited Gold victory.

Additionally, brothers Dennis and Brian Sanders will be flying the fan-favorite Sea Furies, “Dreadnought” and “Argonaut,” respectively.

All told, there are 16 Unlimiteds scheduled to compete in the UWRC, and more than 113 planes total racing, with more to come, in Reno’s six racing classes.

“This year’s event will feature some very unique storylines and we know, at the very least, we’re going to see a new face or a new a plane on the winner’s podium when all is said and done,” said Houghton.

In addition to six classes of racers flying in the “World’s Fastest Motorsport,” this year, attendees can entertainment including the L-39 Patriot Jet Team, the Breitling Jet Team “Jetman,” and a bevy of individual air performances from some of today’s most talented aerial stunt pilots. Entertainment will take place on land as well, with high-speed performances from the popular Smoke N’ Thunder Jet Car.

For more information: AirRace.org


  1. Greg W says

    Tiger must have a big sponsor, did he not state last year that Strega was to be retired unless he found a sponsor due to the extreme cost of staying the fastest? I’m glad they are racing, it was I thought poor a few years ago when the Rare Bear did not race because it was not fast enough for the Gold. Well neither is Air Biscuit and it’s great to see it run every year. It is well known that one cannot make money in air racing it is simply pure sport for the love of racing, that is part of what makes it so special. So every one go fast, fly low and turn left, we all hope “you’ win but we all want you to run!

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