By Dan Kane
Pylon has moved onto one of our largest events, AMA 426. This is Quickie 500 with a Jett Super Sport motor, stock APC propellers, and the racing is tight. We started with some heavy fog, but it soon lifted and the day was very humid and WARM! CD, Mike Condon has planned 10 rounds of racing over two days. On Day 1 we completed 6 rounds and the remainder will be completed on Day 2.
Below is the starting sequence for each round. In this case it happens to be an ODD round as lanes 1 &3 have already launched and lanes 2 & 4 have just received their signal.
This is the large tent that a majority of the competitors work under.
On the other side of the gravel road, we have other competitors that wish to bring and sit under their own popup-style tents. It tends to be a little cooler under the big tent.
This is a picture of the man behind the curtain, Tom Melshimer (L) with John Shanon. Tom has designed and built the lighting system that we use for our races. Some very long thankless days and nights have been spent trying to build the best system possible. The system is affectionately named P.L.A.T.E. (Pylon Lighting And Timing Equipment). I am sure Johnny is getting some info about the nuts and bolts of the system!
Here is the flight line crew. Rich Pavelka has been the starter for a couple of years now and helps out with the local CAPS races. It is great to have experienced workers! His assistant for the week is Ron Columbo from the Detroit area. Ron is a CL Combat pilot and enjoys hanging out with us for the week. Again, these guys sit/stand in the sun all week just to allow us to compete. THANK YOU!
NMPRA President Trey Witte in deep thought prior to his first heat of 426.
California native Lee VonDerHey and his caller Doug Kilebrew, also a California native, are shown here on the flightline just prior to a heat.
This is Lee’s Vortex model as it is rounding Pylons 2 and 3.
Ray Brown from Florida is starting while Bryan Blanchard from South Carolina assists and will perform the calling duties.
Tony McDonald (California) holds for Scott Hartman (Texas).
Rick Volgesang (Ohio) holding the model for Jim Nikodem (Illinois).
Every year the NMPRA hosts a banquet that allows the competitors to sit and enjoy stories and good food. It has been common practice to introduce the Hall of Fame recipients at the banquet, and this year Tom Scott was inducted into the Hall of Fame. Tom was surprised by his daughter, Amanda, and his granddaughter, Ella, which made the presentation even more special. Tom’s never-say-no attitude and his ability to lead are some of the qualities that made the HOF decision so easy. I am honored to call him a friend. Congrats Tom!
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