How fast is too fast?

ndvalium

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I am trying to find the best way to approach this subject as our sport has been responsible for some of the most innovative things in the racing world of all time.

Many races have proven to come down to seconds at the end of the day. even championships have been decided by less than a minute of racing.

But at what risk?

You get a flat, and as you come to a stop, your co driver is already unbuckled and climbing out of the car. He changes the tire and dives in as you take off. Is this worth the risk to your co-rider at a critical point of potential impact?

You do a driver or co-driver change at a pit, and before he is buckled in, you take off and let him get situated as you are coming up to speed. Is it worth the risk if you roll that he got everything on correctly in a moving vehicle?

In several cases we have cars that are being driven / ridden in by vastly different sized people. Sometimes teams use pillows or just sinch down the belts as far as they go to make up the difference. Is this also worth the risk to your friends or partners?

In a time when we have television coverage, drone coverage, gopro coverage, and every person carrying at least 2 iphones, video comes out every day after every race that shows some of these practices occur. I dont believe they are on the increase, but I believe the evidence of them is on the increase.

Sanction bodies have done a lot mandating certain items in the car to limit injuries and exposure to them in case of injuries. Head and Neck restraints that have proven benefit are now mandatory in nearly every series and class. They only work however if they are used appropriately. If the belts arent on correctly, they are useless and can become a hazard rather than a benefit.

As a kid, my family had the "seat belt isnt on, the car dont move" rule. Manufacturers like Polaris have implemented this technology in their UTV's - Belt isnt buckled, vehicle is limited to 15 MPH.

So I propose the question, How fast is too fast? Meaning can we take 10 seconds before we take off to make sure yourself and the person next to you is buckled in properly and safely. Belts are not twisted,Hans or whatever restraint is in place properly. and belts are tight. If everyone takes that couple seconds than its a wash right?

Should a sanction body that mandates use of said devices have recourse in points and finisher position when they see it clearly violated in videos?

While my examples may seem like worst case scenarios, know without going in to details on specifics, these have happened before. These are real life examples that our off road family has experienced and I am just hoping we can find a way to limit the next one from happening.
 

biggjim

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If someone has enough talent to get buckled in at speed he is the man. Ive been in and out of a 5 point harness at least a 1000 times. An I can tell you for certain I cant get 5 point all lined up and buckled at even pit speed....much less race speed.
 
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Chris Tobin

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After we got unstuck at this year's 1000 we buckled in before heading back out on the track... BUT, I soon realized that I missed the left wing on my HNR (Next-Gen Rev) it was uncomfortable and would have been ineffective if we had an issue. I did not ask the driver to stop so I could correct it, I simply loosened the left shoulder belt and popped it over the HNR then cinched it back down. We were not going fast, but it could have been an issue so I should have asked him to stop.

Next time I think I will have my Simpson Hybrid on and I think it is less likely to be out of position... When and if we ever get my truck done, I will make sure my son and I are fully belted every time before we take off!!!
 

ErikIrvine

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My humble opinion; There is no such thing as too fast in racing. And to answer all your questions, yes it is worth it. That's my honest answer.
 

stewwalker

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A lot of issues have been brought up recently about safety and rules. I don’t race so I can’t throw in my opinion on what to do in racing situations. However, I think the sport will continue to run on the honor system and darwin theory until it becomes a big money sport like nascar, F1, etc. Until a series promoter ponies up for an army of marshals, everyone should play it safe and think about their priorities.


Sent from my iPad using race-deZert
 

Bro_Gill

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Look at this picture and think what would happen if this car crashed. It has been going on a long time. There will always be people who want to win more than they want their co-driver to be safe. Think about that.
 

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Robin Hood

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Well if you are going to require the ownership of the devices it would only make sense to enforce the use of them?
 

green787

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Too fast and too stupid are separate things for me.... If it fails, and someone gets hurt, then being too fast was stupid... If it works, then it's not too fast....
 

43mod

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to each his own. I cant stand HNRs . I do not want to wear one. I drove 1000 miles in 2014 w neck roll and then gave it to my co dog in the worst sections of whoops in the entire race until the finish. I appreciate you all wanting me to be your version of safe but would prefer to be the judge of what I need .
 

SolaidJeff

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HNR's work. Yes they can be uncomfortable. Yes they limit head movement. But they work. I saw first hand the results of not wearing one at a race in Primm NV. Possible 11 or 12 years ago. I believe it was a class 1 car that endowed right in front of the Collins-Motorsports pit. The co-driver was not wearing his HNR. The car ended up on its roof and due to the violent end over end he snapped his neck and bled out still buckled in. You dont know what you need until its too late.
As far as buckling up. At the 1000 this year I had to get out to dig and when I got back in I missed the left wing of my R3. I was able to get it corrected fairly quickly and had I not I would have asked my driver to stop. I like my life and 30 seconds to a minute to fix my error is not asking for much.
 

dan200

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I appreciate you all wanting me to be your version of safe but would prefer to be the judge of what I need .
Respectfully, please watch some videos about what a HNR does for you. Id like see you NOT in a wheel chair.

I know they are cumbersome and annoying but THEY WORK. All those donuts do is keep your neck from getting sore because of your helmet weight.

Also, I know that these discussions almost never end in agreement and I am expecting to be accused of fear mongering but please remember I am a FAST-Aid board member and this has made me more aware of what can really happen to someone (and by attachment their family) when a serious injury happens.
 
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But they work. I saw first hand the results of not wearing one at a race in Primm NV.
Please help us remember by providing a link to what happened to inform your opinion.

I recall the incident, but I don't recall any definitive autopsy report here on rdc. I'd thought it had been reported that the decedent's belts were not tight and secure.

Let's let facts, rather than conjecture, shape our opinions (though this thread is, of course, subjective in nature).

Thanks!

Anecdotally, over the past six decades, I've endoed motorcycles and four wheel vehicles, flipped buggies and Bajas, high- and low-sided motorcycles, survived a head-on collision between my Honda and a Dodge that rammed me, crashed cars professionally and for fun, etc. and etc., yet I received my most life-threatening injury slipping in some gravel while afoot. I've never worn an HNR.

I believe in good seats and belt setups. Jeff Furrier just posted some good tips:

Roger Mears Budweiser Jeep J-10 Honcho ++ Restoration ++

(post 19)

But we do still have to buckle 'em.
 

43mod

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I get it Dan. I am not saying you are wrong, just wrong for me . I have a huge issue w helmet clearance to roof and roll cages. I don't think you should be within 8 inches of any solid object in the cockpit . This is far more important to me , maybe not you. People chose cool roof lines and possible aero advantages over what I consider safe all the time.
 

SolaidJeff

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Primm: Erick Morales - fatality at event

Tragedy strikes Primm 300 – Orange County Register

No I dont know the definitive cause of death. I do know I personally saw the pool of blood under the racecar and when the safety workers sense of urgency waned.
I apologize if I am incorrect as to the cause of death but this is what I remember.
Speed , I believe plays a roll on head and neck injuries. With the speeds even the limited suspension/engine cars can achieve not wearing a HNR is foolish in my opinion.
 

J Prich

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I guess this answer is maybe different for everyone given the circumstances. As part time, sportsman racers, the answer for me personally is that nothing trump's safety. Because even when we do everything "right" there is still a significant inherent risk and at the end of the day, our lives and safety are more important to me personally than a plaque.

The whole point of racing is to win and when we are racing we make every effort to put our best foot forward, but at the same time racing is not the most important thing in our lives. I'd much rather "lose" a race by a few minutes and have everyone working with us return safely to their families on Monday than risk a life altering injury to shave 60 seconds to win some vanity and bragging rights.
 

Mark Newhan

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To the OP's question... it's all relative. To fast for one vehicle and driver may not be for another.
 

green787

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Primm: Erick Morales - fatality at event

Tragedy strikes Primm 300 – Orange County Register

No I dont know the definitive cause of death. I do know I personally saw the pool of blood under the racecar and when the safety workers sense of urgency waned.
I apologize if I am incorrect as to the cause of death but this is what I remember.
Speed , I believe plays a roll on head and neck injuries. With the speeds even the limited suspension/engine cars can achieve not wearing a HNR is foolish in my opinion.

It's fact Curmy... I was there... Saw the exact same thing.... The driver was the only one to not let off for the little jump at the start... It kicked his rear end up, and endoed lawn darted it hard... He may not have been strapped properly because we saw his arm fly out the window..... But it was whiplash that killed him.....Bled out right there... dead... After that I never liked those little made up infield sections... it's just not natural...
 
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JDDurfey

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I believe in last year's 1000 or maybe the Baja 500 one of the RPM trucks was caught on video leaving the pit with someone still trying to dump gas and the co-driver hanging out of the truck as the driver jumped back on course in front of an overtaking TT. This was a stupid move on so many levels.

Just imagine what would have happened had their been contact. Spilled gas all over the back of one TT with the navigator not buckled in and hanging out of the side of the truck. Or what if the over taking TT tried to dodge the truck pulling out and went into the pit running all the crew over!

I am all about winning, but at the same time, I don't think that a vehicle should move until all passengers are buckled. I, for one, have a very hard time buckling up while moving. I understand that in the heat of battle, the driver wants to go and not lose track position, but if you were parked for any length of time, what is another 30 seconds to keep your navigator safe?

I do not remember the details, but I do remember a Class 1 car near La Purisima one year that had just left a pit and the navigator was not buckled in yet and they were struck by another race car and the navigator was seriously injured or died.

With all that being said, this is not NASCAR and there is no way it can be policed. There is no way to put a safety inspector at every pit stall in every race, especially BAJA where there are no designated pits. Drivers that are serious about safety will allow the navigator to buckle in before taking off.

As a volunteer fire fighter, I have worked plenty of wrecks that people should have walked away from if they had been wearing their seat belt. Some of these were not even very high speed wrecks. We worked a wrecked mini van back in the spring that was only going about 35 mph when it hit a tree. The girl in the back seat was not wearing a seat belt and it took us more than an hour to cut her out of the car because her legs were pinned under the driver seat. I know the speed they were traveling because the driver lost control right after a sharp 90 on a dirt road that can't be taken at more that 15 mph, so they were not going fast at all. My point is, seat belts save lives as we all very well know, so why do racers leave a pit, tire change, or stuck situation without everyone buckled up?
 

J Prich

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Agreed about these things not being able to be policed in desert racing. The bottom line is our sport requires individual accountability which is great, but the downside is when these rules are violated and things go bad, the giant spotlight from outside can/will be shined on EVERYONE and that's the kind of stuff that has a really negative impact on our sport.

Cell phone vids of the Cal 200 accident were on television within hours and by the next morning it was a national story on CNN. It seems simple, but honestly those kinds of dangerous decisions have massive implications. Not just for the people directly involved, but for the sport as a whole. Everyone has to reconcile their choices and actions within their own values and maybe 90% of the time you get away with taking off without having your co dog strapped in and it's no big deal but the one time it's not, it's going to be bad for EVERYONE. Same goes for any of the other rational safety things. You make the personal decision to cut corners based on your confidence, experience, etc...that's cool. But also understand that you are responsible for the outcomes of those decisions and those outcomes could carry a very heavy price.
 

Dirty Harry

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I don't have nearly as much racing experience as many on here, but I have raced in Baja and King of the Hammers a few times. What works for me is:

- Wear helmet, HNR, and five points and put the window net up when prerunning
- Practice getting in and out when prerunning like you would do in a race situation
- Loosen your belts before you get out if you have to change a tire or are stuck
- When I get back in I put my belts on loosely and put the window net up before the driver takes off, then I put on my pumper and comms and tighten the belts over my HNR as we get going

Not saying that is the right way, but there is no way I could fasten the harness while bouncing around, but tightening them isn't that big of a deal for me when we are moving. Also, when they are loose it is much easier to get them buckled and position the shoulder straps over the HNR.
 
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