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Hoverin’ around the world

Goshen Hovercraft champ to perform in India next week

The Goshen News, Goshen, Indiana USA
21 April 2010
by Jordan Fouts

National hovercraft racing champ Dave Reyburn is going from the lakes of the Midwest to the cricket fields of India to perform before a worldwide audience of over a billion.

Reyburn, a Goshen resident who holds the top spot in several Hoverclub of America events, is one of eight pilots who will perform at the closing ceremony of the Indian Premier League Cricket Championship in Navi Mumbai April 25. The choreographed show, with laser lights shining from the hovercrafts and rock music booming in the background, is part of a closing ceremony of Superbowl caliber following a game broadcast in dozens of countries and even live over YouTube.

Hovercrafts were chosen, Reyburn said, because their eight pounds per-square-inch of pressure won’t damage the grass on the pitch as they weave and spin in formation. He’s confident he and the other pilots can perform the delicate maneuvers, though his preferred setting is blasting over sand dunes at up to 60 miles per hour.

Hovercraft image IPL Cricket Final 2010
Dave Reyburn and his son Travis tinker with Travis’ Stealth model hovercraft last week. Dave’s racing hovercraft is white and yellow.Jordan Fouts/The Goshen News

It was for that experience and control that he was personally picked by Chris Fitzgerald, president of Terre Haute-based Neoteric Hovercraft, which produced the vehicles for the show.

“One day Chris e-mailed me out of the blue. He told me about their negotiations with the producers of the show, and asked if I wanted to perform in India with all expenses paid,” Reyburn recalled. “I said sure, count me in.”

The two met when Reyburn saw Fitzgerald pilot a Neoteric craft during the 2002 World Hovercraft Championship in Terre Haute. Reyburn bought his first kit the next year from Neoteric, and the two have gone on several cruises together.

Fitzgerald said that when he was thinking about the complicated maneuvers called for in the show, Reyburn came to mind.

“Of course each craft requires a capable and skilled pilot, and Dave is just that,” Fitzgerald said. “Dave’s a perfect gentleman, well-balanced in all respects and the best team player.”

Fitzgerald will pilot a craft himself, along with the owner of a hovercraft company in Sweden; a police officer from Bedford, Indiana; a muffler store owner from Kentucky; and a pet store owner from Wisconsin, along with Reyburn and two pilots from India. Each hovercraft will be decorated with the colors of a league team, including the red and navy of the Delhi Daredevils and the blue and gold of the Rajasthan Royals.

Reyburn said they won't know exactly what to expect until they unpack the crafts and begin practicing two days before the show, which will also feature a lot going on around them, like 30-foot-tall character puppets. But he’s raced against the other American pilots and knows what they can do, and they all know what hovercrafts can and can’t do.

“I expect it will be real easy for us to work as a team. We understand what’s expected of us, and we know each other’s capabilities,” he said. He added that the organizers “may not understand what a hovercraft can do or not, so we’ll be able to tell them what’s doable.”

 
 
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