Racing the Dream
Racing the Dream
by M.T. Bass
GENRE: Action and Adventure
“If everything seems under control, you’re not going fast enough.” ~Mario Andretti
Strap down the 5-point harness in the cockpit of a Formula 1 air racing plane and join Hawk as he chases victory! First on their amateur make-shift course over Antelope Acres, then on the re-emerging pylon racing circuit in the early 1960s. And finally, as Hawk battles 7 other top-level pilots at the very first National Air Racing Championship event in Reno!
Abandoning the cloth and his African mission, Father Bob returns to his slide rule to design Hawk’s racer. Sparks, his loyal yet surly mechanic, built it and wrenching both on the engine—as well as on Hawk—keeps them at the front of the pack. Home again in Los Angeles from behind the stick of a T-6 Texan as a mercenary in the Congo civil war, air racing is a new aviation adventure for Hawk. Ride along as he tangles with fellow pilots in “uncooperative formation flying” at two-hundred miles per hour a mere fifty feet off the ground!
And then one day cruising home to Van Nuys airport, Hawk spies Allison, a beach-blonde surfer girl, insanely wing walking on the top wing of a Stearman PT-17 bi-plane. He quickly sets his sights on her.
Fly low…Fly fast…and Turn Left…
Read an Excerpt:
Chapter 1 — Antelope Acres
I chased Scotty down the long straightaway. Three hundred feet back. A hundred feet off the ground. One hundred seventy knots.
Quick looks at the panel: Thirty-six hundred RPM. Look: engine oil pressure—green. Look: oil temperature—green.
Banking hard into the “pylon” at W Avenue G and Myrick Canyon Road over the desert, a shadow on the ground to my left crawled toward my British Racing Green colored wing. He had to be outside. You can’t look to the right. It’s just not safe. But the sun was behind us…
I lofted a bit in the eighty-degree turn—climbed twenty feet or so—then quickly dove back down to close another hundred and fifty feet on Scotty, picking up a bit of his wake turbulence.
Rolling out and down the front straightaway, I found smooth air twenty-five feet above his hot red Jensen Cassutt.
We used the crossroads, a pile of rocks, a little hump in the desert sand, and a windmill water pump to set up our three-mile oval course. I knew Scotty from Van Nuys, but the other three guys were new, from other SoCal airports. We were all on “Company Frequency,” one-two-three point four-five. We joined up in a loose formation for a pace lap, then got down to business with a flying start.
Like Henry Ford said, racing began five minutes after the second airplane was built. And that’s where Father Bob came in. There were a ton of modified Cassutts out there. Anybody could buy the design for $20. But Father Bob used his engineering skills to develop and, with Sparks’ help, build White Hawk Redux, an 85 horsepower, Continental C-85 Goodyear racer that we were pushing over two hundred miles an hour.
It was all unofficial because, after fifty years of glorious history, airplane racing fell off the face of the earth for a while in the Sixties. There were no sanctioned races around anymore, so we made up our own course, kicking up dust devils and rooster tails over the desolation of Antelope Acres. Our version of California street drags.
Of course, I didn’t really know what I was doing, but I was learning fast.
Around the windmill and up to the forty-foot hump in the sand. I chased Scotty down foot by foot. I knew I could take him.
Only two laps left. It was now or never.
Banking hard into the crossroads, I juiced the power up near four thousand RPM and pulled back on the stick to take Scotty up and outside.
But dammit, I missed him—
In my peripheral vision, a Tweety-yellow racer on my right came toward me.
I flattened my wings and rolled off the power sweeping below him to keep from colliding. But I caught the tornado of his wingtip vortices and involuntarily flipped inverted.
A Joshua tree bloomed overhead in my canopy as I arced upside-down towards the ground at two-hundred-fifty feet. Gravity pulled my shoulders down against the straps of my five-point harness.
Without thinking, back pressure on the stick moved quickly forward to illogically raise the nose with a nudge of left rudder to roll level and maxing out the power…
About the Author:
M.T. Bass is a scribbler of fiction who holds fast to the notion that while victors may get to write history, novelists get to write/right reality. He lives, writes, flies and makes music in Mudcat Falls, USA.
Born in Athens, Ohio, M.T. Bass grew up in St. Louis, Missouri. He graduated from Ohio Wesleyan University, majoring in English and Philosophy, then worked in the private sector (where they expect “results”) mainly in the Aerospace & Defense manufacturing market. He is the author of twelve novels, two novellas, and a book of verse. His writing spans various genres, including Mystery, Adventure, Romance, Black Comedy and TechnoThrillers. A Commercial Pilot and Certified Flight Instructor, airplanes and pilots are featured in many of his stories. Bass currently lives on the shores of Lake Erie near Lorain, Ohio.
Q&A With the Author:
What was your inspiration for writing this book?
All of us pilots are aware of the history of the Cleveland Air Races which ran from 1929 through 1949. When a tragic accident brought the event to an end, pylon racing slowly died out in the Fifties, until Bill Stead, a pilot and hydroplane racer, became determined to bring back the sport in 1964. The situation seemed like a perfect vehicle for another adventure book about former fighter pilot and mercenary Hawk, as he returns to Los Angeles from flying T-6s in the Congo Civil War. Of course, along the way, he falls for Allison, a wing-walking performer. The book was a great deal of fun to write.
What did you enjoy most about writing this book?
Meeting air racing folks and making new friends was one of the best parts of writing this book. I worked with Jack Dianiska who was the president of the U.S. Air Racing Association and ran pylon air races throughout the 1970s and 1980s. He was a huge help to me in reading and reviewing how I presented the air racing aspects of the novel as I went along. I also got in touch with Scott Holmes who currently races in Formula 1 events and Juan Browne who raced biplanes at the Reno Air Races. They were both extremely helpful in giving me the pilot’s perspective during a race.
The Reno National Championship Air Racing Association was supportive, giving me permission to use the cover art from the inaugural poster from 1964, racing results, and photos of Bill Stead who founded the whole race. I started this book last year and in the spring of this year, they announced that 2023 would be the last event in Reno after 60 years—truly the end of an era. I was able to attend the last race and met the folks who helped me out. They vow to be racing again at a new venue in 2025.
Do you have any other books you are working on that you can tell us about?
I’m working on a sequel to Article 15, which follows Griff, a former Navy SEAL and legal “fixer,” as he helps out country-western singer Samantha Cross deal with a threatening stalker. The title of the book is Outside the Wire.
Can you tell us about what you have planned for the future?
Once I finish up with Outside the Wire, I have a couple more ideas to add to the White Hawk Aviation Adventure series. Mañana follows Hawk and Allison from Racing the Dream to Costa Rica flying crop dusters spraying herbicides over illegal coca and opium poppy crops in Latin America. I’m also noodling on a story going back to Hawk’s days as a P-51 Mustang pilot in England during World War II.
Anything more you would like to say to your readers and fans?
I hope your readers enjoy Racing the Dream. If they have any questions about air racing or flying, please have them reach out to me in your comments.
Thank you for supporting all of us writers.
M.T. Bass Author Links
Amazon Author Page: http://www.amazon.com/author/mtbass
Racing the Dream Purchase Links
Author Web Site Info Page: https://mtbassauthor.wordpress.com/racing-the-dream-white-hawk-aviation-stories-3/
Amazon (Kindle Unlimited): https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0CCSVMSQV
Stories by M.T. Bass
White Hawk Aviation Adventure Stories
My Brother's Keeper
Racing the Dream
Murder by Munchausen Sci-Fi Thriller Series
Murder by Munchausen
The Invisible Mind
Murder by Munchausen Trilogy: Books 1-3
Somethin' for Nothin'
In the Black
M.T. Bass will be awarding a $25 Amazon or B/N GC to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour.
a Rafflecopter giveaway