The Liberty Gazette
June 7, 2016Ely Air Lines
by Mike Ely and Linda Street-Ely
Linda: When we first joined the Sport Air Racing League, after much coercing by Patricia Purcell, Air Race Queen, it was because I had competed in the all-women’s Air Race Classic a few times and while I loved the competition, the opportunity to live the racing life with Mike made the League so much more appealing. Sure, I loved that he was always at the finish line of every Air Race Classic race, open arms, tied with my mom as my biggest fan. But then there was Pat, calling and emailing every so often, dangling the preverbal carrot: “Your plane will be the fastest in its class - you’ll have a good shot at winning every race - and you won’t have to leave Mike behind.”
I love winning. I love Mike, too.
We joined the League in 2011 and spent the season learning how it all works, making our way to races that were not too far away, those we could get to, race, and be home the same day.
That season we learned. We learned how to win, we learned how to race cross-country air races. We entered the 2012 season with nothing but Season Championship Gold Trophy on our minds.
There would be a lot of traveling, and for what that cost we could have just bought all those trophies - but it wouldn’t have been the same.
It was a good year, 2012, the first of four consecutive Championships won by our “Elyminator”, which later won the title, “Fastest Cheetah in the Known Universe”.
After the 2012 season, though, we realized that we didn’t have to make every race to win the championship, so we relaxed our schedule a bit and missed some more distant races, like the ones around the breathtakingly scenic Pacific Northwest.
Now we’re in our sixth year in the Sport Air Racing League, and this year there’s a newcomer, the fella who was our guest columnist last week: William E. Dubois.
Mr. Dubois flies an Ercoupe so he competes in a different class, but he wins points toward the season championship, and that is where we compete against him.
William is a writer - a real one, as in, that’s his actual profession and he’s quite good at it. I think we kind of feel the same way about each other. He’s a nice enough guy, but for the first time since we joined the League someone is gunning for the championship trophy, and he’s made us his target.
We’ll have to make every race to have any hope of retaining our title. Otherwise, there will be an upset of upsetting proportions. The thought of the Elyminator standing second to an Ercoupe, in official, saved-forever records, with end-of-year photos, and us holding a second-place trophy is motivating me to change a lot of plans this year. Meanwhile, William is chronicling the entire season’s competition, along with his dream to swipe that First Place trophy, for everyone to read in the aviation newspapers.
As it is, William holds a world speed record set in his Ercoupe, and now, he’s really into cross-country air racing. He blogs his personal flying adventures at www.PlaneTales.net.
If ever there were a time to Elyminate, it is now. Game on.