Pit Safety

Jerry Zaiden

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There is never going to be a solid answer. But there is also a huge problem. How many Big teams will race if they do not get insurance? VERY FEW!!!!
The main problem is when someone gets hurt we need the local system I.E. Ambulance, paramedic, Helicopter (medivac), Hospital, etc...etc... The problem is when we go to a race and need a service LOCAL people pay for with there taxes and they cant use them for NORMAL day to day living the races will end. This is one of the reasons why there are only 1 event per month. put it this way, if we have the need for 2 medavacs in 1 race and there is a huge accident on the 15 freeway that needs to medivac out 3 people where is the other helicopter going to come from? This is why they will clip the race from even going on at all. TO INSURE THE PEOPLE not racers and spectators the ability for safety.
This is why we need to make it safer BEFORE we have a huge problem. What can make it safer? Like dan said speed limits in a race is an oxymoron, it does not make sense. But keeping people back 200' will make it way safer. Making pit areas a no pass area, maybe; but this comes back into IT'S A RACE. I also agree with Dan that there are people all over the course that do make me nervous. They are way to close. I have also hit a few people (KIDS) on motorcycles crossing the course with out looking. In the first race a kid on a bike was hauling ass, it looked like he was trying to beat me so he can cross the course, I had to slow down or I would have hit him for sure. Now if I hit him who's fault would it have been if he was in his wheel chair in court? I am racing and it in not my fault in ANY situation period! But this is CALIFORNIA!!!
This is why we need to make sure we keep it safe if we want to race for years to come.
So what can WE do as racers and ex-racers to make POSITIVE actions FORWARD and come up with reasonable rules for these races?
 

WFODAN

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I think one solution just for the main pit would be to make a new lane on the right . When I come threw the main I always go for the fastest smoothest line . Unfortunately that line is now the line on the left , closest to the crowd . As I come threw I watch people move away from the track all the way threw . It always reminds me of the danger element for them . However I feel safer going fast on that lane then I would going for the middle lane . It is way rougher and I feel the chance of me losing it and hurting someone would be greater . I say I am all for moving the people back farther from the course , but would they listen or do it ?? Probably not ......... People are into the " RUSH " of standing as close as they can without getting hit . I guess it's human nature . Maybe we could get the BLM to ticket anyone past the 200 foot mark ............ I don't know . So I'm back to my origional idea ........ Make a new lane off to the right and I feel the cars will migrate away from the crowd .

You know I was thinking about how people don't like the cars running in the far left lane closest to the crowd ............ I believe that both cars that did roll over were in the middle lane in the thick of the rollers and lost it and velocity just carried them to the outside . Hmmmm maybe that outside lane isn't the problem . just food for thought .


Dan Vance
 

Jerry Zaiden

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"I have also hit a few people (KIDS) on motorcycles crossing the course with out looking"

What I wanted to say is "ALMOST" hit a few people.
 

SuperDave

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Thanks for everyone's feedback and comments. Please keep them comming. The next MDR race in Barstow is Nov. 22 so we have the next 7 months to make a decision as to how to handle main pit.

I have one other idea I'd like to throw out here. If I remember correctly, and I'll have to go back out there to make sure, I think there is a smaller narrow road about 100 feet East of the course. It has some small dips and rises because it's closer to the foothills. What if we use this trail as the race course and use that big three lane highway as a transition road to and from the pits? Maybe put a restriction on the transistion road and say you can travel a maximum of 500 feet on the road to get to and from your pit. Have the other pits report racers who obviously travel halfway down pit lane to get to their pit. What do you guys think?

What about the Ridgecrest and Lucerne courses? Does anyone have any outstanding concerns out there that we should address now? Is the main pit at Ridgecrest and Lucerne as much of a problem as Barstow?

For those that attended the MDR awards last Sunday morning, Patricia did announce that the Barstow BLM is willing to work with a group of racers and bring out some heavy equipment to improve the courses. They want to know which parts of the course would benefit most from the work. However, the need feedback from the racers. So please share your opinions.

Thanks,
Dave


Rover 4
 

Vtr_Racing

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This isnt a new problem. Main pits are usualy quite chaotic. I remember when they tried speed limit rules at Parker. This was for the spectators, not the racers. Maybe they shouldnt have had the main pit there???? The solution is fairly simple. Pit lane is for pitting, period! Racing lane is for racing. How to create the buffer between the 2 is the question that needs to be answered. I think the two can be separated and just one lane for pitting in main pits.

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btshannon

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Why can't the main pit/ staging area at Outlet Center drive be moved? I think that moving the start-finsh and main pits to the lake bed behind the /X could be an answer. Off road racing is the only motorsport that I know of where one can race through the pit area. The dry lake bed is wide enough to accomodate two separate lanes, one for racing, and one for people who need to stop and get some work done or need to go pee. Set up a real pit lane separated by hay bales every 50 feet or so. Assign a reliable, impartial pit road official to monitor the racecars using the pit area. This could work without costing too much money I think. Any pit road violations could be assessed by keeping the offending racer stopped at the next checkpoint for ten or fifteen seconds or so.

I hope that there are still a few people reading this thread.

Congratulations Uff Da team for your first sportsman class win last weekend.

My own taste for the hops is very powerful, and I had no intention of spending a beerless weekend...
 

martininsocal

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BT- Congrats on the win...the grandmas were looking fast all day. Glad the car finally worked! I think the area behind Slash X is a great place to pit. I have been thinking about putting my main pit there simply for the fact that you don't have all the clutter and other traffic to deal with. The section where the Course crosses the big powerline road is wide, flat, smooth, and is easy to have a pit back from the course. I don't think you will get the S/F away from outlet center drive, too many people like the ability to run "into town" for food, etc... and be back at the coursein a couple minutes.
Super Dave- Who do we contact from the BLM about course fixing? Can you supply the Liason MDR goes through? I will volunteer to take them out and show them.

Martin

If your gonna go, go BIG
 

Jack

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Instead of making a new line just maintain the line that is there, let this heavy equipment come in and flatten parts out, and the drivers will follow the best line. This is new to desert racing, but not new to off-road, there are programs for adopt a trail and this is the concept we need to follow, if we want to keep this open, when need to take care of it. Maybe this can be combind with the clean ups that happen there, that we have some crews difine the race line and maintain it.
 

Mark_Weyhrich

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Jack,

You raise an excellent point. This is exactly the theory the BLM used at Parker the past two years. Many sections of the course were graded in an effort to "encourage" racers to use them. This not only provided a smoother path from which to choose, but it also created large berms to deter drivers from taking lines which were not "environmentally friendly". While many competitors complain that this just makes it a slot car track, it did achieve the desired results which made BLM happy.

I think the grading is a good idea for environmental concerns, but in order to control pit areas better you must have a speed limit and you must enforce it. I have been around off-road racing all of my life and as both a spectator and a competitor I feel that pit area speed limits are one of the best additions to the sport. If you want to see the vehicles go fast, then there are plenty of areas to go do that. No matter what, it is unsafe for race vehicles to travel at speed in areas highly concentrated with people.
 

Jerry Zaiden

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Mark,

That was very well said. I think it is great to see people like you ( racers with years of experience) post their coments here.
Can any others with years of experience chime in and give a reply? I know a few have but can we get more info / ideas?
 

scott

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I know Henderson had a 45 mile per hour speed limit threw main pit, and the Fireworks race like in 96 etc. had it also through main pit.. The best thing that we do, is set up your pit 50 to 55 feet off the course, so if there is a mishap, you have time to get out of the way... Alertness is the best thing for Pit Support personnel... ( Riviera Pit Support )
 

Vtr_Racing

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That is what I was getting at in my post above. I didnt get it out very well. The speed limits imposed at Parker in the late 80`s were to keep spectators safe in the main pits,before you went into the wash. They seemed to work too. Didnt have the excitement that we had in the past coming out of the rock garden. It seemed much safer though. MPH restrictions in the main pits is a good idea to me.

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