Back of them,
Mott could tell he was gaining on the leaders, though he knew he was really too
far back to do much. Still, he did have about 10 feet of altitude on the field,
which could be used for extra speed when he came down the final straight.
As they went
through the fifth lap, Turnbull, who had been waiting for McClain to make a
mistake, thought he'd finally caught one. It appeared that McClain was getting
in tight on the straights and the effect was to slingshot him wide on the
turns. Turnbull let his own plane edge outward a little, sensing that a time
would come when he might dip inside as they banked past a pylon.
In the back, Mott
had gotten ahead of Twombly and Rina and was taking aim on Metcalfe. And he
still had his altitude. Gripping the stick with a feathery touch, he put the
nose over ever so gently. He was going to use his altitude now to catch
Metcalfe. Realistically, third was all he could hope for.
finally found his chance. McClain had gotten in too tight, and as they came up
to pylon No. 1 on lap 7 his momentum was carrying him out too wide. Kicking his
plane into a dipping bank, Turnbull dropped neatly into the empty space,
forcing McClain even farther out. When they came level McClain was behind and
As for Mott, the
dive from the extra 10 feet of altitude had given him an added five or six mph.
He used it to simply dive under Metcalfe, and when he pulled up he was in third
place. Turnbull came flashing down the straight .07 of a second ahead of
McClain and took the checkered flag from the judge at the base of the home
pylon. On the hillside, the crowd was jumping and applauding. Later, Turnbull
said, "You know, you do this thing mostly for the thrill. I wish we could
hear the crowd when we come dobbing it down the straight with a win." He
smiled. "But them big engines just make too damn much noise."
Those who don't
go to air races may represent a generation of people who have completely missed
out on the romance and thrills of flying. For most folks flying now means
walking down a long corridor, being seated by a young lady, eating a steak and
drinking a cocktail while the plane climbs on course, flies to the destination
and descends on course. There is about as much sensation of flying as riding in
an elevator. Air racing, if it makes a comeback, might be able to lend us some
of the real feeling. They start the next season at Miami, Jan. 16 through