Airventure Cup Race is on despite EAA split

May 24, 2012

Organizers of what’s billed as the world’s largest cross-country race are pressing forward with (and seeking sponsors for) the Airventure Cup Race, a contest of experimental aircraft poised to mark its third year. This year, it won’t have official backing from the Experimental Aircraft Association, the organization responsible for AirVenture in Oshkosh, Wis., the world’s largest general aviation gathering.

Race organizers posted a statement online May 18, detailing the race’s close association with EAA in the first two years. EAA founded the event, insured it, approved the publicity materials, and supported the volunteer organizers, according to the statement.

“Last week, we were contacted by EAA officials announcing they would no longer support air racing, including the Airventure Cup,” the statement said. “This move was a shock to us as much as it was the rest of the aviation community and we are still in the process of evaluating our options to continue the race.”

EAA spokesman Dick Knapinski provided a very brief response to the race team’s comments, which speculated on possible reasons behind the EAA decision.

“We’re pleased that the AirVenture Cup organizers have decided to go forward with the race this year,” Knapinski wrote. “We wish them a safe and successful event.”

Race organizers announced agreement to remove all references to EAA from publicity and marketing materials.

“We are pleased to report however, that EAA has agreed to continue providing support to race volunteers as they have done in the past, and we want to express our appreciation to EAA for doing so,” the statement continues, concluding with a vow that the race will go on “for years to come.”