Dirt Sports- good and bad-July issue

retroblazer

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The good and the bad. First, the good. My hat is off to the folks at Light Force for having the genius of using Eric Solorzano and his VW on the inset of the magazine. Great picture.
The bad, Vehicle cockpit safety article by Chris Paulsen. Mickey Thompson would be rolling in his grave.I have personally been involved in racing safety equipment for over fifteen years as a manufacturer and over thirty as a serious motor sports fan and driver. First, I'd give some editorial credit for printing an article about safety, it's always good to get a reminder that we have to tend our gear and ourselves in racing, but where I get rubbed the wrong way is the general assumption that off road safety is " behind the times" and some how lacks the innovation that other motor sports enjoy.
First, the number of serious injuries and fatals are as low as any major category of racing with risk, meaning we don't race cones in the parking lot. Innovation, how about window nets? Off road beat most of the major motor sports to adopt. How about the first major racing category to adopt full face helmets. Geoff Bodine was the only Cup driver to wear a moto-style helmet in 1990. I was able to get him, Richard Petty, and Morgan Shepard in ff helmets by the end of the season with air systems, by 1992 I had prepared 38 of the 43 starters helmets for the Daytona 500. Off roaders had been if ff helmets for ten years already.
How many major motor sports do the driver and co-drivers get out and work on their cars? Desert racing is a very different world from the suites of the typically Sunday track. We have adopted and developed new gear as our needs have demanded. We as off roaders relish taking control without having to wait or deal with some large centralized bureaucracy.
And by the way, the bit about the seat belt dating is simply wrong. SCORE definitely checks the dates on the belts at every race and confirms that there are cotter keys in place on the snap-in belts.
 

Shannon

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Wow you learn something new everyday!!!!!
 

baja619

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So what exactly is bad except the mis-info on the belt issue? Because they did not print some history of innovation?
 

Marty Fiolka

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All,

Thanks for the feedback on the magazine. For many reasons, the new July issue has polarized people in many ways...but we always enjoy hearing from the readers. I too really like the Lightforce ad with Eric and his Class 11. The company deserves lots of credit for some nice new product, supporting the publication in a very consistent way and in thinking outside the box in terms of their approach to the market.

Frankly, I don't understand the "bad" angle on Chris Paulsen's article either. The thought process for the new Competition Corner department is to have an expert outside of the off-road world shed some light on all of the innovation and technology that is being developed by other forms of motorsports. You are certainly correct in pointing out some of off-road racing's history of innovation in regards to safety, but compared to the top levels of the racing world the Dirt Sports Nation has a great deal to learn -- and in many cases is behind the cutting edge. By design, Chris kept his editorial focus on what is new in safety, and how far the sport has come since the death of Dale Earnhardt.

We actually get a great deal of positive feedback on Competition Corner, and will continue to use it in trying to broaden the knowledge and understanding of everyone involved in our sport.

Marty
 

racer56

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Keep up the good work Marty.
 

retroblazer

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Bad? What's really bad about the article? I am proud of my off road heritage and I take offense, albeit a minor offense, to outsiders who are making proclamations about our sport that are simple wrong. If you want to promote safety in the sport, then give us credit for what we've done already. It's the carrot or the stick, and I think the article is giving us the stick.
 

ndvalium

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Bad? What's really bad about the article? I am proud of my off road heritage and I take offense, albeit a minor offense, to outsiders who are making proclamations about our sport that are simple wrong. If you want to promote safety in the sport, then give us credit for what we've done already. It's the carrot or the stick, and I think the article is giving us the stick.

I just finished reading the article and saw it in a different light.

The article points out that there is very little standardization in safety products for Off Road Racing and that it is up to race promoters on what they choose to enfore and implement.

For instance, most various race promoters say that you need to have a fire suit yet other, non off road sanctioning bodies, specify a particular sfi rating which is usually a 3.2/a5 or higher. Many non off road sanctioning bodies require certain certified head and neck restrains, open desert racing does not, it merely suggest or recommends. (kudos for the short course world for requirements, even for kids)

I beleive I understand your point that Off Road as an industry has actually led and helped develope some of the things used by other sanctioning bodies. However it is also my belief that we have missed oppurtunities to standardize, enhance, and enforce the use by various sanction bodies as well on many of the items availble to all.

All in all, kudos to Marty, and Dirt Sports for using their perodicle to if not educate, at least start conversation on the safety of all those involved.


Stay safe everyone -


Dave
 

NIKAL

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The only part of the article I felt was wrong and if Chris Paulsen has raced off road and been there when his car has gone threw tech then he should know that Score, BITD, MDR and SNORE have all checked seat belts for dates, and to see how they are mounted, and if using snap-ins that there is a cotter key threw the hole. I have raced in all four of these series and I know for a fact that my belts in my cars have been checked.

In 2003 I was one of the first if not the first off-road team to use Bill Simpsons new company Impact Racing's seat belts in my car. And at the first race we used them (Score's Henderson 250) those belts brought not only Art "the tech dude" over but also one other tech guy, as they had never seen the Impact Racing belts and they asked many questions and looked at not only the SFI tag, but looked over the stitching and webbing as the Impact belts are a little different then the other brands.
 

Marty Fiolka

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All,

Just to be clear in case you don't know, Chris Paulsen is the founder and owner of C&R Racing in Indianapolis, a company that is most famous for the radiators used almost exclusively in NASCAR and in many off-road racing applications. He also works with many higher end motorsports suppliers and is now producing an new motorsports trade show in Indianapolis in December. Also, he has also raced in the past three SCORE Baja 1000s (in Class 12 and Class 1) and at the 2009 Parker 425 (where he crashed on the first lap).

Marty
 

bajaxp

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I enjoyed the piece about safety and think it was well said.

Keep up the great work at Dirt Sports.

If you are looking for another hot safety topic to tackle...how about some objective editorial about suspension seats versus shell type seats. This was brought up here on RDC and the thread was interesting for a while until it got into a '**BAN ME****BAN ME****BAN ME** for tat' thing. I think Dirt Sports could cover it very objectively.
 

Random Thoughts Racing

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The good:

-Solorzano ad.

-Learning about the helmet removing "Eject" system from this article.

-Scathing rebuke of belt mounting positions. Well deserved, off road is definately behind the times on this topic.

The bad:

-Belt mounting. Sending the reader to the belt manufacturer may not yeild consistant results, much of the misinformation on this topic comes from them. Help us cut through the BS.

-No dedicated subtopic on complete fire suits: The fire suit needs to be accompanied by complete Nomex undergarments including undies, socks, gloves, shoes, and head sock.

-No dedicated subtopic on high density roll cage padding (required in road racing) and other practices that keep arms and legs from coming into contact with solid objects in a crash.

-No mention of fire supression systems.

-More usefull content, less criticism. Rather than rail against the sanctioning bodies for not doing enough to address a certain safety issue offer some usefull tips. Help the racers help themselves!

-No mention of vehicle cockpit egress. I have seen frontal vehicle openings that a helmet cant pass through thus leaving the windows the only escape route. What about options to cut nets and belts?

Followup:

-Dirtsports, perhaps we can have a "part two" delving into some easy items the racers can do themselves to check out their current setup and increase their cockpit safety.

A second article could also provide an update on the FIA certification for the Mastercraft Suspension seat. If FIA is dragging feet we want to know why.
 

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nimrod

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Personally I can't wait to see the Project plug and play Alumi-Craft out in the desert. Great wiring article even though I can barely change the batteries in my flashlight I enjoyed reading and learning....

Joel I know you like the Light Force add cause you can see the reservoirs of those big ol Bilstein Black Hawks sticking up above the front fenders!

Thanks for keeping on Marty! See you in the new car at the Mil?????
 

Triaged

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...For instance, most various race promoters say that you need to have a fire suit yet other, non off road sanctioning bodies, specify a particular sfi rating which is usually a 3.2/a5 or higher. Many non off road sanctioning bodies require certain certified head and neck restrains, open desert racing does not, it merely suggest or recommends. (kudos for the short course world for requirements, even for kids)...
At first I thought part of the problem came down to cost. If you are going to site a SFI spec. you need to be a member of SFI. I have no idea what it would cost but in the US they are the ones to do most of the standardizing.

http://www.sfifoundation.com/sancbody.html
The SFI Foundation, Inc. offers two levels of participation for sanctioning bodies: membership and affiliation. The first level is the Affliate Program which allows a sanctioning body to use and include SFI specifications in its rules. A sanctioning body must have a formal agreement with SFI at this basic level in order to cite the SFI copyrighted standards in its rules.

There is also an advanced level of participation in SFI known as the Member Sanctioning Body Program. In addition to using existing SFI specs, other services available to a member organization include the development of new application-specific standards, technical personnel training and certification, and on-track incident response training.

For a list of member and affiliate sanctioning bodies, use the links below:
...but when I look at the list of affiliates and see so many small obscure org's I can't help but think that it isn't money that causes the issue. Maybe "Nebraska Bush Pullers, Inc." cares more about safety:confused:
 

Alex Paterson

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Actually, I found it interesting with all that has been going on with seats and safety that they showed some of the other brands that may not really be suitable for a race vehicle or a faster prerunner. It may be snooty of me but if they are pushing safety then show seats that are designed with safety in mind, not just an appearance.

-Alex
 

Chris Tobin

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I liked page 20!!
While page 20 is nice... My personal favorites are pages 70-73...

Just some shameless self promotion I guess...:D
 

Marty Fiolka

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Actually, I found it interesting with all that has been going on with seats and safety that they showed some of the other brands that may not really be suitable for a race vehicle or a faster prerunner. It may be snooty of me but if they are pushing safety then show seats that are designed with safety in mind, not just an appearance.

-Alex
I can answer this one Alex,

As you know, Dirt Sports covers all phases of off-road motorsports, which incorporates both the hard core racer and the weekend enthusiast. Our seat buyers guide ran the gamut of seats, some intended for hard core race applications and some not. If the only audience that read our book had "race vehicle or faster prerunner" vehicles or interest, the magazine would fail to exist or reach the large enthusiast audience that it hits every month.

Marty
 
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