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SCORE Journal - The Official Publication of SCORE Off-Road Racing

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HELMET TECH 2022 A Look At New Head and Neck Protection Technology Story by Stuart Bourdon Helmets have been around for thousands of years. Those first helmets consisted of nothing more than reinforced leather, but by 1700 BC, the Mycenaean Greeks were making bronze metal helmets for greater protection. They were heavy and offered limited visibility. The lining, if there was one, would be cloth or leather or maybe straw. Those early helmets were intended to protect the wearer from attacks. Modern helmets are used as standard personal protective equipment for just about everything you can imagine, from roller skating to off-road racing. Space-age materials, modern production, and manufacturing methods along with technologically advanced designs proven through research and testing have created a thriving marketplace of motorsports helmets. According to current SCORE requirements, all four-wheel vehicle competitors must have a certified helmet worn with a certified head and neck restraint system. When asked about helmet certification status for 2022, SCORE Tech Director Dan Cornwell told us, “For 2021 we extended the use of helmets that carry a 2010 sticker. For 2022 we will require current 2020 certification, and 2015 on an inspection-basis only.” New Shell Materials Carbon-fiber construction material has probably made the biggest difference in recent helmet safety innovations. It’s allowed the development of lighter-weight helmets that meet established safety standards. Less weight means less stress on the neck to hold up the additional weight. If you scan the major players in the motorsports helmet field, all of them now offer at least one carbon fiber or composite carbon fiber/Kevlar model, and some are boasting multiple choices for every budget level. Some of the brightest examples of high-tech helmet manufacturing come from companies such as Bell Racing. The Bell Racing BR 8 Carbon helmet is designed for off-road racing and can be configured standard, left, or right side forced air, three-quarter-top forced air, or top-forced air. Impact Race Products is another, with its Air Draft OS20. This is a carbon fiber helmet targeted at the dirt and off-road racer. According to Impact Racing, the Air Draft OS20 was designed to offer exceptional peripheral vision range, a configurable air intake, and a wicker-bill design that helps reduce helmet “lifting” at high speeds. Inside The Shell The shell is, for the most part, intended to resist impact (things coming through the helmet) and to begin energy absorption of that impact. The foam liner inside the shell helps absorb impact and controls the movement of the head inside the helmet. During an impact, the liner inside the helmet compresses, absorbing energy and slowing the movement of the skull and brain. According to experts, this is especially important in multiple-hit situations, such as rollovers. Expanded polystyrene (EPS) and expanded polypropylene (EPP) are very good at absorbing energy and are commonly used in helmet liners. They are sometimes used together and are something to look for when shopping for a new helmet. EPS offers a very good energy absorption solution on a single hit. EPP also has good initial hit performance, maybe not as good as EPS, but it offers superior performance in secondary hits. One example of this is the Racequip PRO20 SA2020 Carbon Fiber helmet, which comes in a top and side air version, and is designed for the off-road environment. The shell is manufactured using a pre-pregnated mix of carbon fiber and Kevlar, features an EPS liner, it’s HANS-ready with M6 threaded inserts, and the forced air passes across the face-shield to keep the wearer cool and keep the shield fog free. Quite a few new helmets are offered with optional integrated communications systems. One of those is the new Simpson SA2020 Carbon Desert Devil. This off-road-focused helmet features carbon-fiber shell construction, an off-set top airpipe for good airflow, and an integrated communication kit. The off-road comms kit offers a 3.5mm headphone jack, flex boom, speakers, and water-resistant connections. Head & Neck Restraints NecksGen, Simpson, and Stand 21 are among many motorsport safety product manufacturers that offer head and neck restraints. The difference is mostly in slight methodology approaches, but the result is the same. NecksGen produces the REV, REV2 Carbon, and REV2 Lite head and neck restraint system (HANS). The REV2 Carbon features hand-laid carbon fiber construction, helmet-restraint hardware, and an adjustable tether. The shoulder-sitting saddle-style NecksGen REV2 Carbon is feather-light at 0.96 pounds. Stand 21, a world-class helmet manufacturer, offers its highly regarded and somewhat unique frontal head restraint (FHR). It looks like a wishbone stretching its arms farther down the torso. The Stand 21 series of FHRs offers a selection of no less than five ultra-high-tech designs ranging from the Featherlite (12 ounces) to a significantly sturdier H-Tec model. Options are numerous, including inflatable padding, sliding tethers, and FHR helmet brackets. Decisions, Decisions Many of the manufacturers had best-practice suggestions for consumers shopping for a new helmet or head and neck restraint system. The Bell Racing site suggests measuring the circumference of the head at a point approximately one inch above the eyebrows in front and at a point in the back of the head that results in the largest possible measurement. Some manufacturers offer a downloadable fitting sheet. Another common tip: The helmet should be fitted low on the brow, eyes near the center of the opening, liner touching the top of the head with uniform and firm pressure all the way around– tight without excessive pressure. However, everyone we spoke to said the only way to be sure if the fit is right is to put the helmet on your head. Online shopping is just not the same. Just because one size fit right with one brand doesn’t mean another brand of the same size will fit the same. We also asked how often you should replace a helmet. Jim O’Neal, owner of O’Neal USA, was clear. “Get a new helmet every year or every time you crash. All helmets may be compromised in a crash. The EPS can be cracked or damaged, reducing the helmet’s protective properties.”SJ HELMET AND NECK RESTRAINT GUIDE By Mike Vieira With the latest SNELL standards required for the 2022 season, here are some of the latest helmet and neck restraints (for car and moto applications) available from several of the manufacturers we spoke with. ALPINESTARS SUPERTECH M10 CARBON META2 HELMET The Supertech M10 Carbon Meta2 Helmet uses a high-density carbon outer layer to improve strength and energy dissipation, a unidirectional carbon composite layer for greater radial strength, and an Aramid fiber layer to provide penetration protection. Liner construction features multi-density EPS polymer for energy absorption and a proper fit. Helmet fit is micro-adjustable to fit the rider’s exact head angle height preferences for maximum protection and comfort. Available in a variety of color combinations in sizes X-Small through XX-Large. MSRP is $659.95. SUPERTECH M10 DYNO HELMET The Supertech M10 Dyno Helmet uses a high-density carbon outer layer to improve strength and energy dissipation, a unidirectional carbon composite layer for greater radial strength, and an Aramid fiber layer to provide penetration protection. Liner construction features multi-density EPS polymer for energy absorption and a proper fit. Helmet is micro-adjustable to fit the rider’s exact head angle and height preferences for maximum protection and comfort. Available in black/matte carbon/white or red/white in sizes X-Small through XX-Large. MSRP is $659.95. ALPINESTARS BNS TECH 2 NECK SUPPORT The Bionic Neck Support Tech 2 is constructed from an advanced, high-performance carbon polymer compound for strength and light-weight. Features an exclusive rear stabilizer for progressive force relief to dissipate energy loads across the back and shoulders and away from the spine. A quick-release locking system allows rapid and easy fitting and removal. Available in black/gray or black/fluorescent yellow in sizes XS/M or L/XL. MSRP is $299.95. IMPACT AIR DRAFT OS20 SA2020 HELMET Impact’s Air Draft OS20 SA2020 Helmet features Carbon-Kevlar shell construction with a fire-retardant “Intelligent Gray Matter” single-piece, variable density liner with interchangeable cheek pads. An offset 20-degree air intake provides extra clearance in small cockpits and pumps air through three individual channels for maximum cooling and resistance to fogging. Features include a Kevlar chin strap with locking D-rings and a .125 shield with 3-position detents. Available in white, silver, and gloss or flat black, in sizes X-Small through XX-L. MSRP is $999.95. NECKSGEN REV2 LITE HEAD AND NECK RESTRAINT NecksGen’s REV2 LITE Head and Neck Restraint weighs in at just 1.2 pounds and is constructed of injection-molded carbon composite. The SFI 38.1 certified restraint features a new, adjustable tether system and rubber friction grip pads to firmly hold you in your seat, and higher belt guides to withstand multiple impact situations. Quick-release helmet hardware is included. Available in sizes to fit most drivers. MSRP is $499.00 for Youth sizes and $599.00 for Adult sizes. NECKSGEN UTV HELMET SUPPORT Necksgen’s UTV Helmet Support is an easy-to-use foam collar to help support your helmet and to keep your head upright in recreational use while reducing fatigue and adding comfort. It is NOT for racing use. Available in youth and adult sizes and in three levels of thickness. MSRP is $59.00. SIMPSON STILO HANS ZERO HEAD RESTRAINT Simpson’s Stilo HANS Zero is engineered for extreme lightness and comfort and is constructed with proprietary techniques in aerospace-grade carbon fiber. The SFI 38.1 certified and FIA 8858 approved restraint is currently available in Medium size with a 30-degree angle, for post or Quick Click anchors. MSRP is $1,399.00. CARBON DESERT DEVIL RACING HELMET Simpson’s Carbon Desert Devil Racing Helmet includes an offset top air pipe and off-road communications kit with integrated speakers. Constructed in high-strength, light-weight carbon fiber, the Desert Devil meets Snell SA2020 Standard. Also includes one clear shield and removable cheek pads. Available gloss carbon fiber in sizes X-Small through XX-L. MSRP is $1.099.95. PYROTECT PRO AIRFLOW FORCED AIR DUCKBILL SA2020 HELMET Pyrotect’s Pro Airflow SA2020 Helmet is available with Side Forced Air, or Mid Forced Air, and is constructed with a Tri-Weave Composite for light-weight and strength. A new headliner design with six removable pads provides improved adjustability and comfort. Other features include a large eye port with a rubber seal, stainless steel hardware, a Kevlar chin strap, an .125” polycarbonate shield with tear-off posts, a M6 insert for neck restraints, and a Nomex interior. Available in white, silver, and gloss or flat black, and in sizes XX-Small through XXX-L. MSRP is $799.00. PRO SPORT FORCED AIR DUCKBILL SA2020 HELMET Pyrotect’s Pro Sport Forced Air Duckbill Helmet is SA2020 rated, and is available in top, mid, or side forced air models. The shell is constructed of a Tri-Weave Composite with stainless steel hardware and a Kevlar chinstrap. The Nomex interior features an interchangeable six-pad headliner and cheek pad system. A P-1 venting design improves airflow, and a large, rubber-sealed eye-port improves visibility. Includes M6 insert for head and neck restraints, and a .125” polycarbonate shield with tear of post. Available in white, silver, and gloss or flat black, and in sizes XX-Small through XXX-L. MSRP is $389.00. PRO AIRFLOW SIDE FORCED AIR DUCKBILL SA2020 CARBON HELMET The Pro Airflow Side Forced Air Snell SA2020 Carbon Helmet has 100% Carbon Weave shell construction for light-weight and maximum durability. Liner design with six removable head and cheek pads improves airflow, and provides better adjustability. Other features include stainless steel hardware, a Kevlar chin strap, a .125 polycarbonate shield with tear off posts, a M6 insert for neck restraints, and Nomex interior. Available in carbon fiber finish in sizes X-S through XXX-L. MSRP is $939.00. RACEQUIP CARBON FIBER SA2020 SIDE AIR AND TOP AIR HELMETS RaceQuip’s Carbon Fiber Side Air and Top Air Helmets are Snell SA2020 rated and feature blended Nomex interiors and Kevlar chin straps. Shells are constructed of pressure-molded pre-preg carbon fiber and Kevlar material for strength and lightweight, and use a fire retardant clear coat. Designed with a chin spoiler and wide eye port with 3mm polycarbonate face shield, the helmet includes tear-off posts and threaded inserts for HANS/HNR posts. Available in sizes S through XX-L. MSRP is $599.95 for side or top air models. STAND 21 CLUB 3 SERIES FRONTAL HEAD RESTRAINT The Stand 21 Club 3 Series Frontal Head Restraint provides FIA 8858-2010 and SFI certified protection at an affordable price, while still being lightweight and comfortable. Constructed of thermoplastic injected resin reinforced with carbon fiber, the Club 3 Series FHR has a 20-degree angle and is available in medium and large sizes. Includes sliding tethers, black padding, and a protective bag. MSRP is $399.00. O’NEAL 10 SRS PRODIGY HELMET The 10 SRS Prodigy Helmet features a lightweight carbon fiber shell and meets DOT, ECE 22-05, AS/NZS, and ACU standards for safety. Oversized vent and EPS channels maximize airflow throughout the helmet, and a removable, washable, padded inner liner wicks away sweat. Additional features include an adjustable visor design, multi-colored clear-coated graphics, a high-intake mouth vent with a screen to keep out debris. Currently available in Small and XL, with additional sizes available soon. MSRP is $399.99.

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