In 1999 World Champion pylon racer Jon Sharp retired his very successful ‘Nemesis” Formula One racing aircraft in favor of doing something very new, highly exotic and exceedingly risky. He had been considering a new approach to the design of closed-pylon race planes for some time, and thought that the time was right to jump from his previous interests in Formula One air racing, to the new Sports Class.
This division was relatively new to the sport or air racing, and was primarily based on high-performance, two-place, kit-built aircraft established on general aviation lines. The idea for the new division was to reduce the total cost of air racing, while at the same time seeding the field for new generations of air racers going forward.
Sharp’s effort bore fruit in form of a new aircraft design he referred to as the NXT, for ‘Neoteric eXperimental Technology’, and appended the original ‘Nemesis’ name to the new design. Subsequently, and in order to conform with Sport Class rules, Sharp and his small design team offered his design to other air racers who presumably would build their own NXT’s and thereby meet one of the principal goals of the new racing division.
In 2004 the airplane was rolled out at the National Air Races At Reno, and the shape of the new aircraft immediately cause a stir, although its initial foray was less than impressive in the speed department cause by a series of teething problems, including an unexpected gear retraction that bent the underside of the little airplane significantly.
The following year, still dealing with negative impacts from the 2004 gear failure, the airplane was withdrawn before it could show its speed. In 2006, however, the design finally began to live up to its billing when Sharp and Nemesis won their first Sport Class championship at a speed of .
Subsequently the aircraft really began to pick up speed, and in 2008 surpassed the 400 mph mark, the first Sport Class airplane to ever do so. This milestone was followed up by further speed increases, and in 2009, the airplane produced a blistering top speed of 412 mph during one of that year’s Reno heats.
Throughout all the original trepidations with the original ‘Nemesis’ another NXT builder and NXT reseller named Keith Eldridge continued to birddog Sharp’s effort with his own aircraft ‘Relentless,’ and the two produced some visually stunning performances together. Although Eldridge’s ‘Relentless’ was never able to get enough power on-board his airframe to truly fight head-to-head with ‘Nemesis,’ he did take a 2nd behind Sharp at the 2009 Reno show.
Finally, after 15 air race championships, and due to family health issues, Sharp decided to hang it up in terms of pylon racing in 2011, just before the annual Reno event in September. In the meantime, Eldridge had been selling NXT’s to anyone who would buy one, but with the tough economy, and after Sharp’s departure from the scene, the market begun to dry up.
Although ‘Relentless,’ now powered by a ‘big’ Lycoming 720 engine is being readied for future air racing events, Eldridge has decided to call it a day as a reseller as well. As a result, the only other NXT kit in existence is being offered at the comparatively low price of $225,000.
So, if any of you Adrenalist readers fancy a very, very, very Happy Christmas, contact Keith Eldridge at 805-544-8476, although we should say right up front, that the kit won’t fit under tree. Regardless, as the title of this article suggests, Pure Adrenaline (Is) For Sale. So if you want to own a piece of air racing history, while at the same time owning your own adrenaline-pumping flying machine, contact Keith Eldridge to see if you can get in on some of the fun.