Winning vs Safety?

bobylax

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I've been debating on whether to bring this up, but wanted to get your take on this. How do you react to a flag person on the course? The reason I ask, we were asked to stop race traffic at RM546 on day 2 and inform them that there were slow moving emergency vehicles on the course transporting the injured from the helo crash, and not to pass until clear of RM547.5. Most racers stopped and thanked my buddy John for the heads up, however, 3 vehicles (one of them a prominent, big budget team trying to make up time) blew by John and his wife without ever lifting, showering them with rocks for their effort. I'm not naming names, they know who they are! There was 200+ yards of visability to a big guy in a bright yellow shirt waving an orange flag holding his hands out. Should a penalty be imposed on said vehicles, or is it boys will be boys, that's desert racing? I'd like to thank the #1101 car for not nerfing us in the dust as we were running interference in our RZR for the Durango.
 

VORRA-BJ

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I was a little shocked when i saw someone stopping us with a orange flag (#1009) at that mile marker too. After getting the heads up we crusied about 1 mile before catching 2 other cars who were behind the durango. In all we may have lost like 2 minutes at most! Is two minutes worth anything in a 1000 mile race when your already behind? NO! Anytime safety is involved, what ever the case may be, safety is first, and even more so when someone is in need of help. Dez racing is dangerous, and EVERYONE involved should be looking out for one another.
 

Huntington Beach

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I could see some jackass out there trying to slow vehicles down for no reason but as a racer you never know if it is legit or not... I slow because I'm not going to live knowing I was warned and then hurt someone else. If that cost me the race then so be it. It's better then the alternative.
 
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FarrisMotorsports

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I do whatever they're telling me to do. If they're doing something out of the ordinary, it is for a reason. Safety is the only thing that matters!

Whoever didn't stop is a donkey....I'll leave it at that.
 

Wild bill

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I don't think there is any alternative other than stopping and finding out what's going on. Now if I was down in Mexico racing, I would think twice about anyone flagging you a certain direction or flagging you to stop (unless it is obviously another racer.) My luck the person would be flagging me right off a cliff for a good laugh. It may be wise for the race organizers to adopt a common flagging procedure that would be announced at the driver's meeting. Just like a traffic cop uses certain hand gestures to move traffic.
Here's a thought..........if a person is flagging on the course with an arms crossed gesture , i.e "x" then that means STOP immediately. If the person is waving his arms both in a down motion, then that means SLOW down. Other motions could be used for other situations, etc.
 

trent06

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Coming from a racers point of view, I wouldnt stop at someone waving their arms, heck it would take 3 hours to go 10 miles if you stopped at everyone waving their arms. However if their is someone not only in a bright yellow/orange vest that ALSO has some type of bright colored flag there is no reason not to slow down and stop...I think SOMETIMES it is tough to tell it someone is out their waving in just a bright colored shirt sometimes but when you see the flag you then know that it isnt just a fan, but an official.
 
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An orange flag does not mean STOP in any situation I know of. At most it may mean caution, that should be yellow. I wouldn't fault the driver, he probably had know idea what was going on. I am sure he felt he was being safe.
 

charlie_brown

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i have worked many score races (mostly baja) score provides use with flags and vest. i have never been given any other coler then orange.
 

bobylax

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Maybe a stanard procedure where promoters instruct flag people and drivers at drivers meeting: Motionless flag, potential hazard ahead, proceed with caution; Waving flag and hand out, stop and receive instructions. To not even lift or slow down approaching a flag person standing on the side of the course waving an orange flag not only endangers the flag person, but themselves and people ahead fo them, and I feel is totaly irresponsible!! I understand that some conditons may make it difficult for drivers to see a flag in time to slow down, and I'd be leery of slowing down for people south of the border, but in my opinion, this was not a case of not seeing the flag person due to terrain or dusty conditions, but choosing to ignore the the flag person.
 

rickf

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Would it be that expensive and complicated to issue a yellow and a red flag as well as high-viz vests, etc. to ALL workers during the race?
(And teach them how to use them)
These are the accepted colors in motor racing for danger.
Stationary yellow, hazard/disabled vehicle; no passing.
Waving yellow, workers assisting, slow down; no passing.
Red flag, race stopped.
I agree with Ramsey about the orange.......Casey must have stole them from CalTrans.
That being said, in the U.S. if someone is frantically waving their arms and trying to get you to slow down there is probably a good reason.
In Baja, look for the camcorder and hold on.
 

Score5150

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I have been working as a Score Checkpoint Official, road crossing and course worker for the past 16 years, perhaps you have seen or run over the pink flamingos that Mike puts up at the checkpoint! All kidding aside I work as a safety and risk management professional for a fortune 500 company and unfortunately know too well the tragic consequences of people putting themselves and others at risk for no reason resulting in accidents, injuries and death.

For the past 16 years I have also seen this in our own off road community as well, being out on the race course or at a checkpoints where drivers have ignored the directions of the course workers not only putting the course workers in danger, but themselves, riders and other race teams too.

So why do they compromise their own safety and the safety of others? Good question, for most it is risk vs. reward, gaining a minute or two on the race course to some is worth the risk of accidents serious injuries or even death. But when you really think about it is it really worth the risk? that is something each and everyone that participates in these events have to evaluate.

As for the course worker that only uses the orange flags that are issued to him, yes Score and BITD are way behind on training their course workers, perhaps because they are volunteers and they think that because the course workers sign release wavers of liability stating liability limits precludes them from responsibility who knows why.

As for the crew that I work with, Jim & Margie, Mike, John and I know the risk and do our part to ensure that we all go home at the end of the race, we have our own red and yellow flags, orange safety vests, fire extinguishers and a first aid trauma kit.

The bottom line is that everyone has to be responsible for safety on the race course, so please, next time don't ignore the course worker trying to stop or warn you about an imminent danger that may be just around the corner, it very well may be you stalled across the race course that we are trying to protect.

See you at Primm, we'll be the visual check at the top of Beer Bottle Pass Rd.

Drive fast, and drive safe!
 

Mark_Weyhrich

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I don't know if you were the guys who stopped us or not. Whoever we stopped for was making it clear that they wanted us to stop so they could relay some information to us. When we stopped, they yelled to us to watch for emergency vehicles for the next 1.5 miles or so. We never saw the vehicles, but it was nice to know to be on the lookout.

At least in my situation, the intent was clear and I would have had to have been an idiot to not know something was out of the ordinary.
 

M.Harvey1600

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before i was even old enough to start racing I was taught a lesson about people near the race course... and people waiving/directing you in any directions...
if you are racing whenever you come up on a group of people it is 1 of 3 things. each of which you should slow down and use extreme caution.
1) it is something bad I.E. hole, jump etc... they are there for excitement.
2) it is a booby trap and they are there to watch you wreck.
and
3) it is a pit or accident in which you should be aware of everything going on around you...
if its a pit you need to be cautious about other race vehicles pulling out, children and other hazards
if i saw a person waiving a flag i would slow down or stop depending on what the situation seemed to be involving(the way the person was waiving or acting)


in no case should you ignore what is going on around you, you are not only responsible for yourself and the person sitting next to you but also responsible for making safe/wise decisions that have a direct impact on the people outside of the race vehicle!!!
 

Jack

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Orange flags are readily available, that is good (price) and bad (anybody can get them).
 

Score5150

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I Agree that orange flags are readibly available to all, and that is indeed a bad thing. That is why Score and BITD or any other sanctioning body or racing organization should not use or allow them on an off road race course period.

The only flags that should be used on an off road race course are Green, White, Yellow, Red and Black, someone in these organizations needs to take the inititive to standardize race course worker SOPs and protocols.

It would make things alot easier and safer with clear direction for the drivers and teams.

Cheers...
 

FarrisMotorsports

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Orange is a DOT thing. Most of this is going on at road crossings. So they still need to have Orange flags.

The thing is, as a racer you KNOW right from wrong. If you are racing down in Mexico you are going to use different judgement than you would here in the states. There are no Booby traps here...that I have seen.

During this race, what those racers did was wrong PERIOD

I think they should have Orange flags and the flags that SCORE5150 pointed out, and they should be trained on how to use them. Heck, issue a laminated sheet of paper showing how to use them.
 

bobylax

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I don't know if you were the guys who stopped us or not. Whoever we stopped for was making it clear that they wanted us to stop so they could relay some information to us. When we stopped, they yelled to us to watch for emergency vehicles for the next 1.5 miles or so. We never saw the vehicles, but it was nice to know to be on the lookout.

At least in my situation, the intent was clear and I would have had to have been an idiot to not know something was out of the ordinary.

That was our crew, and thank you for stopping. John was pretty adament about trying to get cars stopped. No excuse for saying you didn't see him.
 

Wendell #527

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I wouldn't make it too complicated with different flags or flag waving for different scenarios. Say some spectator is out there and knows there is a MAJOR hazard like a rolled race car on the course on a blind corner or something. That guy grabs whatever he has (orange flag, t-shirt or whatever) and he waves it to protect oncoming racers. You can tell if he really means it by his body language. Use common sense. To ignore somebody doing that in a US race is asking for an accident. In Mexico, I've come across plenty of booby-traps just like everybody else, and you just have to be aware, slow down, and deal with it. Never ignore a warning no matter who it's from.
 
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