The day finally dawned and the rain gods let up enough and the race was on!

The 2010 on again off again Unlimited Challenge Air Race at Witbank (eMalahleni) was given the green light and it happened as well as expected. Sadly a large number of competitors pulled out literally on Friday night and Saturday morning due mainly to the doubtful weather and the changing of dates.

However, The Witbank hospitality was of its normal high standard and the quality of competitor was outstanding. Some of the highlights were Richard Maier in his deadstick racing King Air, the pocket rockets, the diesel 182 and, of course Ron Wheeldon in the amazing Hunter. Ron and co-pilot Gary Hughes set a new World Record (provisional) at a massive 908km/h. The next record for the Hunter to beat is the 1000km closed circuit record which was set in 1965 at 859 km/h.

It was interesting to see a piston twin nail the King Air as were a number of other interesting results on the day. See below for full results.

The format of the race us simple enough to replicate and, unless people want to make a weekend of it, it can be run on one day which keeps mummy and the kids happy. We would like to see it become a permanent feature on the SAPA calendar and it probably makes sense to have it in August as this fits in with other events as well as the weatherman.

The one thing that we could do with the UCAR is to take it to some of the more weather friendly coastal clubs such as Stellenbosch or Virginia. We could, of course never go to P.E. because even microlights have to be IF rated there.

We all understand that the rules of the UCAR, being weight based, favour the new Tupperware aircraft but the essence and spirit on which the race is based is more of a pub type arm wrestle where the challenge is amongst those who believe they have the faster machine. Then the tricks as to where to place the weight. Whether to use the autopilot or not. What altitude to use on which leg. Does slipstreaming work or is it too bumpy. This is the real fun part of the challenge. The guys who are going for records.............. well that’s good too.

We look forward to seeing a great turnout in August next year.

 
 
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