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CALL for Support - Racers burned at Lucerne

Cooprey

Member
Mike Mccomas and Jared Durnberger were both severely burned this last weekend at the PCI 300 in Lucerne when the car caught fire and Mike became trapped. Jared was initially able to escape the car but was burned when he returned to the burning car twice to pull Mike free. He saved Mike’s life and both have a long, tough road to recovery. They are both in good hands but we have started a GoFund me to aid the families and to help with what will be huge medical bills. Mike is a father of 3 and Jared a father of 2 young boys. Let’s all help our racing family get through this tough time.

Here is a link to the GoFundme: Click here to support Mike and Jared speedy recovery organized by Ace Motorsports

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WhiteYota

Well-Known Member
We saw the smoke when we were on our last lap of the race, we were hoping everyone was ok. Worst fear as a racer is that situation. I hope these two make a quick recovery
 

pciscott

Well-Known Member
My thoughts and prayers are with Mike, Jared, and their families. Everything I have heard about this tragic accident is second hand from friends who raced on this team, I was not there. The Team was shaking down a relatively new Racecar that was a Race modified Textron XX in preparation for the Baja 1000. Marc Stein with Dave Sykes in the Co-Driver Seat took off from the start and they noticed that the Window nets were tougher than they should be to operate and that big guys in a small cars are very tight. The Car was working well and Marc and Dave turned it over to the second set of drivers who did there section and Cooper Commented that it was his best drive ever that the car was working great and they were having a great race. Mike and Jared got in the vehicle and took off as the third set of drivers, at approximately mile 14 the car sputtered to a stop and in a combination of switching to second fuel pump and trying to start the vehicle it burst into flames. Jared got out of the car quickly and realized Mike was still in the car, in the fire. They are not sure if his knees were trapped under the car steering wheel or that he was struggling to get window net open, but Mike was in the flames. Jared reached in the car and with a Herculean effort ripped Mike through the window net and out of the vehicle. Jared was burned in the process and for sure saved Mikes life. Anyone hurt is awful, but friends hurt is even worse my thoughts and prayers go out to the Ace Motorsports Team in this difficult time.

I am going to ask all of you to support them in there recovery and realize that fire is the scariest part of desert racing as we are on our own to put out the fire and usually have little or no outside help. Please go to the link at the top of the page and show your support for a guy who has lived and breathed off-road for decades. Every bit helps as Mikes Co-Driver Jared does not have insurance.

Now this is not the best time to bring up safety, but we all need to up our game and realize fire is going to get you if you do not prepare! Mike had a new 2 layer suit, but made a poor decision that many of us have made including myself. He decided because of the heat of the day he would wear a single layer suit he owned. I am not putting any blame on Mike as I have made poor decisions in the past. I remember testing a Trophy Truck in Flip Flops and shorts, and my gear was in the back seat of the car.

In Talking with Dave Sykes after the race he is adding Flame out system to any vehicle he races in and going to get himself some new Gear as he has been wearing a Hand me down suit from my Toyo Tires Racing Days that is over 10 years old. We do not tend to think about the bad things when we are doing the fun things, fire is real.

There are many questions I have about how the flame got into the drivers cockpit, but that is for another thread. I could go on and on about what you as a racer need to do to fire proof a vehicle and have learned from experience and several race fires that I am lucky to say were all put out. Getting out quickly is the key, and I have seen many window net systems that are tough to operate in my years of working on Race vehicles. Take note from this Tragic accident if your window nets are quirky, FIX THEM BEFORE THE NEXT RACE!

Mike and Jared please heal! Please let me know if there is anything I can do to help. Our thoughts and prayers are with you and your families.
 

J Prich

Well-Known Member
My thoughts and prayers are with Mike, Jared, and their families. Everything I have heard about this tragic accident is second hand from friends who raced on this team, I was not there. The Team was shaking down a relatively new Racecar that was a Race modified Textron XX in preparation for the Baja 1000. Marc Stein with Dave Sykes in the Co-Driver Seat took off from the start and they noticed that the Window nets were tougher than they should be to operate and that big guys in a small cars are very tight. The Car was working well and Marc and Dave turned it over to the second set of drivers who did there section and Cooper Commented that it was his best drive ever that the car was working great and they were having a great race. Mike and Jared got in the vehicle and took off as the third set of drivers, at approximately mile 14 the car sputtered to a stop and in a combination of switching to second fuel pump and trying to start the vehicle it burst into flames. Jared got out of the car quickly and realized Mike was still in the car, in the fire. They are not sure if his knees were trapped under the car steering wheel or that he was struggling to get window net open, but Mike was in the flames. Jared reached in the car and with a Herculean effort ripped Mike through the window net and out of the vehicle. Jared was burned in the process and for sure saved Mikes life. Anyone hurt is awful, but friends hurt is even worse my thoughts and prayers go out to the Ace Motorsports Team in this difficult time.

I am going to ask all of you to support them in there recovery and realize that fire is the scariest part of desert racing as we are on our own to put out the fire and usually have little or no outside help. Please go to the link at the top of the page and show your support for a guy who has lived and breathed off-road for decades. Every bit helps as Mikes Co-Driver Jared does not have insurance.

Now this is not the best time to bring up safety, but we all need to up our game and realize fire is going to get you if you do not prepare! Mike had a new 2 layer suit, but made a poor decision that many of us have made including myself. He decided because of the heat of the day he would wear a single layer suit he owned. I am not putting any blame on Mike as I have made poor decisions in the past. I remember testing a Trophy Truck in Flip Flops and shorts, and my gear was in the back seat of the car.

In Talking with Dave Sykes after the race he is adding Flame out system to any vehicle he races in and going to get himself some new Gear as he has been wearing a Hand me down suit from my Toyo Tires Racing Days that is over 10 years old. We do not tend to think about the bad things when we are doing the fun things, fire is real.

There are many questions I have about how the flame got into the drivers cockpit, but that is for another thread. I could go on and on about what you as a racer need to do to fire proof a vehicle and have learned from experience and several race fires that I am lucky to say were all put out. Getting out quickly is the key, and I have seen many window net systems that are tough to operate in my years of working on Race vehicles. Take note from this Tragic accident if your window nets are quirky, FIX THEM BEFORE THE NEXT RACE!

Mike and Jared please heal! Please let me know if there is anything I can do to help. Our thoughts and prayers are with you and your families.
All great feedback. In the immediate aftermath of terrible things like this no one wants to be the person to ask "what happened" because that convo usually devolves in to pointless gossip, needless blame games, etc. But there is a valid reason to examine the circumstances of these situations to help evaluate what can be done to prevent others from being in that situation, and to serve as a reminder to all to make sure their own i's and dotted and t's are crossed.

Hoping for a speedy recovery for both.
 

Chas Moore

Well-Known Member
I have worked with this team several time in the past. Its horrible to hear this news and I hope and pray for a speedy recovery for both of them. Besides a finincial contribution, please let us know what else we can do to help.
 

Total Loss

Well-Known Member
Ray Bullochs Textron fuel cell is under the seats and the filler is in the hood.
Not sure if that is how this car was set up or not but that looks a little sketchy to me.
Looking at the picture, it looks like some melted aluminum behind the passenger seat.

Damn...sad story. Speedy recovery to all involved. We can all learn from this as Scott stated.
I truly wish the race organizers would allow doors on SxS's with a 'V" intrusion bar.
The cockpits are very tight. getting in and out quickly is VERY difficult...especially for us that are a little larger.
 

Chaplain

God Dude
So sadden to get this call. My prayers go out to the team and family.
 

harleys dad

Well-Known Member
I am really bummed about this, my son had problems at mile 30 and I drove my rzr from main pit to mile 30 off course. After helping my son get going I was on a road? about 1/4 miles off course and passed by this car moving and when I got back to main pit I saw it go by out on another lap, the fateful lap. We were sitting talking when we saw the smoke and word was it was a spectator rzr that was burning. I learned last night it was this car and I really got hit by that. I hope god has a way of taking the pain away from these 2, I cannot imagine what they are going threw.
 

Cooprey

Member
I am really bummed about this, my son had problems at mile 30 and I drove my rzr from main pit to mile 30 off course. After helping my son get going I was on a road? about 1/4 miles off course and passed by this car moving and when I got back to main pit I saw it go by out on another lap, the fateful lap. We were sitting talking when we saw the smoke and word was it was a spectator rzr that was burning. I learned last night it was this car and I really got hit by that. I hope god has a way of taking the pain away from these 2, I cannot imagine what they are going threw.
Thank you for this and for everyones kind words. And thank you Scott for your message. I think this is a time where everyone should reevaluate how careful they are when they get into a racecar. I remember the lecture I got from Art at my first Score race. he told me not to even back a racecar off a trailer without a fire suit on, and I have been stupid as well. I was testing that exact car with KING a month ago in jeans and a t shirt. what we do is dangerous, we all accept that but we need to be as safe as we can. I was sitting in the same seat as Mike in that car 30 miles earlier, it could well have been me there. and I kind of wish it was since I was wearing a 2 layer, Nomex shoes and gloves. Harleys dad I remember seeing you in your rzr, you were off to our left as we started down the hill towards the mile 34 road crossing. I was driving our car when we went by you. Mike and Jared had only been in the car for 30 or so miles when this happened. it was Mikes first time driving the car he and Jared had just spent months building. it goes to show that it can happen to any of us, at any time. Mike could build a racecar as well as anyone. the car was well prepped, beautifully built and strong. but the desert will work its dark magic on any car, at any time.

On the brighter side they are both being well cared for and are surrounded by family and loved ones. Jared has had a couple surgeries and is recovering well. He is in a lot of pain still but is moving along on the long road to recovery. Mike still has a touchy prognosis. he has been transferred to intensive care at USC and has a really long road ahead but he is cracking jokes and tough as ever. in his own words when I visited him today "this is just a bump in the road".

PLEASE CONTINUE TO SHARE THE GOFUNDME WITH EVERYONE YOU CAN. the support has been incredible so far but we still have a lot to raise. Jared's bills will be massive and we are working hard to ensure his Wife and 2 young boys can have as little disruption in their life as possible. If you know Mike you know how many people are directly affected by his absence. he is a pillar of the Hemet and desert racing communitys. the funds go directly to the Mccomas and Dernberger families.
 

Steve Marolda

Well-Known Member
Wow, we're lucky it wasn't worse, we all need to learn from this. How about roof escape hatches for every class? I know NHRA times how fast drivers can escape their cars.
 

Cooprey

Member
Ray Bullochs Textron fuel cell is under the seats and the filler is in the hood.
Not sure if that is how this car was set up or not but that looks a little sketchy to me.
Looking at the picture, it looks like some melted aluminum behind the passenger seat.

Damn...sad story. Speedy recovery to all involved. We can all learn from this as Scott stated.
I truly wish the race organizers would allow doors on SxS's with a 'V" intrusion bar.
The cockpits are very tight. getting in and out quickly is VERY difficult...especially for us that are a little larger.
The cell was under the seat but it did its job. it didn't cook off until about 5 minutes after the fire started. well after both guys were out of the car. the mass of melted aluminum behind the seats is the firewall and the roof both of which were up to SCORE and BITD standards but didn't stand a chance in this kind of heat.

People have been asking questions about how the fire started. To be honest we don't exactly know but this is what we pieced together from our knowledge of the car and Jared and Mike's accounts of what happened.
as they were passing through mile 14 on the last lap of the race the car sputtered and shut off. the pressure gauge was reading under 10Lbs. well below its 40 lb operating pressure. per Mikes instructions Jared cycled the secondary fuel pump on then off to see if there was a pressure change, it didn't change the read (which is taken at the fuel rail). when mike attempted to restart the car it exploded. Both guys remember the fireball starting behind their inner shoulder and moving forward and up. all hoses and fittings were braided and Aerospace quality AN fittings but they connected to the stock system at the fuel rail, which on this car is Plastic or composite of some sort. our best guess is that the rail developed a crack that slowly grew and when the pressure became too low the car would no longer run. it is possible that cycling the pump made things worse and caused a stream to flow so that when mike tried to start it, it shot fuel onto the exhaust which would have been extremely hot form the lean condition. This is only an educated guess. we will likely never be able to fully figure it out because the car is too badly burned. this is not the fault of a person or the manufacturer or negligence. it is an accident.. pure and simple. we put 200+ hard miles on a brand spankin new car and while we expected something to break on its first time out, this is not what we imagined. before this the worst issue we had all day was a torn CV boot. remember that this is not the first racecar to burn up and it wont be the last. if the Landshark can burn so can a garage built 1400 or a 16 car, a UTV or even a trophy truck. please everyone be safe.
 

Total Loss

Well-Known Member
The cell was under the seat but it did its job. it didn't cook off until about 5 minutes after the fire started. well after both guys were out of the car. the mass of melted aluminum behind the seats is the firewall and the roof both of which were up to SCORE and BITD standards but didn't stand a chance in this kind of heat.

People have been asking questions about how the fire started. To be honest we don't exactly know but this is what we pieced together from our knowledge of the car and Jared and Mike's accounts of what happened.
as they were passing through mile 14 on the last lap of the race the car sputtered and shut off. the pressure gauge was reading under 10Lbs. well below its 40 lb operating pressure. per Mikes instructions Jared cycled the secondary fuel pump on then off to see if there was a pressure change, it didn't change the read (which is taken at the fuel rail). when mike attempted to restart the car it exploded. Both guys remember the fireball starting behind their inner shoulder and moving forward and up. all hoses and fittings were braided and Aerospace quality AN fittings but they connected to the stock system at the fuel rail, which on this car is Plastic or composite of some sort. our best guess is that the rail developed a crack that slowly grew and when the pressure became too low the car would no longer run. it is possible that cycling the pump made things worse and caused a stream to flow so that when mike tried to start it, it shot fuel onto the exhaust which would have been extremely hot form the lean condition. This is only an educated guess. we will likely never be able to fully figure it out because the car is too badly burned. this is not the fault of a person or the manufacturer or negligence. it is an accident.. pure and simple. we put 200+ hard miles on a brand spankin new car and while we expected something to break on its first time out, this is not what we imagined. before this the worst issue we had all day was a torn CV boot. remember that this is not the first racecar to burn up and it wont be the last. if the Landshark can burn so can a garage built 1400 or a 16 car, a UTV or even a trophy truck. please everyone be safe.
Thanks for the detailed reply.
 

Tgraf

Well-Known Member
That is to the GoFund me. I am wondering if they have a PAYPAL as I can send money as a gift and they get the full amount.
Hey Jerry,

I was the same way but now it isn't a mandatory fee, GoFund Me has the option to "donate" a percentage of your donation to GoFund Me for it to operate. There is an option to donate zero and the recipient gets 100% of the donation. That's what it is like in Canada now anyway.
 

Jerry Zaiden

Well-Known Member
Hey Jerry,

I was the same way but now it isn't a mandatory fee, GoFund Me has the option to "donate" a percentage of your donation to GoFund Me for it to operate. There is an option to donate zero and the recipient gets 100% of the donation. That's what it is like in Canada now anyway.
I think it is the same way here now as well but I also just have Paypal with money in it that I want to donate.

I will just go through the motions to donate through GoFund me
 

Chas Moore

Well-Known Member
From Dave Sykes:
"Mike McComas has been my brother Marc Stein's teammate, partner and off road vehicle builder for the past 20 years. On September 29, Marc and I drove the first out of 5 laps at the PCI 300 off road race in Lucerne Valley, in Marc and Mikes's newly built Textron UTV. During the third lap, the race car was being driven by Mike McComas and Co-rider Jared Dernberger and caught fire rapidly. While Jared managed to initially escape the car, Mike was still trapped in the fire. Jared heroically went back into the burning car multiple times to drag Mike free, severely burning himself in the process. Unfortunately, Mike sustained severe burns over much of his body. Their recovery time in the hospital could reach 6 months. We are asking for donations to help cover their medical and life expenses during both of their long roads to recovery. The off road community is a family and we really need your support at this time. Anything you can offer will truly be appreciated. "
 
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