The course for the Halle Trophy Race was five laps around a 15-mile course, or 75 miles altogether. The women who flew in the race were limited to modified versions of the North American T-6 Texan and an advanced single-engine plane used to train U.S. pilots. Preferred models included the AT-6 and the SNJ. Many of the women who took part in this race were veterans of the Women’s Air Service Pilots (WASP).
Halle sponsored the race in 1946 and 1947. Kendall Oil then took over as sponsor of the race, which was renamed the Kendall Trophy Race for 1948 (not to be confused with a men’s race of the same name that had been run in 1947). In 1949, no sponsor could be found, so that year, the race was called simply the Women’s Trophy Race.
The group managing the air races put up a $5,500 purse. New rules were also inaugurated that year, stating that the planes had to keep their stock engines and that wings could not be clipped. Grace Harris won for the second year in a row, but at a much slower speed than in 1948. In 1950, all of the Cleveland races went on hiatus due to the outbreak of the Korean War, and the women’s trophy race went defunct.
R-54 – This T-6 was one of two T-6s (the other was NX-62280) modified with a turbo-supercharger from either a B-17 or B-24. Jane Page Hiavacek flew R54 in the Halle Women’s Trophy Race at the Cleveland Nationals in 1946 (2nd place @ 200.462mph). Betty Clark flew R54 in the same race in 1947 but failed to place.