SCORE Journal

SCORE Journal Issue - AUGUST 2017

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

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Page 39 of 103

Driving Towards Safety

SCORE/Stand 21 Safety Foundation Conference and 50th Baja 1000 Beach Bash By Stephen Romero In an effort to make off-road racing as safe as possible, SCORE International, led by CEO and President Roger Norman, is constantly fine-tuning its own safety standards and hosts seminars in hopes that the information and all aspects of safety can be improved for the benefit of every team that competes. There are no compromises to safety and since information on the latest equipment and studies are key to prevention, it’s the reason SCORE hosted the SCORE/Stand 21 Safety Foundation Conference, which was also podcast around the world, reaching an online audience of potentially millions of off-road enthusiasts curious about changes in the rules and regulations for any current or potential racers that are planning to participate in the SCORE World Desert Championship series. Roger Norman Hosts With the upcoming 50th Anniversary of the SCORE Baja 1000 in November, Norman stressed his message about safety education, indicating that it is a proven method of lowering or even eliminating serious injuries at an event. The 2017 conference centered on the fact that to improve safety during SCORE races, it must be a collective effort by the race teams and the men and women at SCORE to ensure everyone is up to speed on the latest equipment, techniques, and information. This begins with race car final inspections and driver gear requirements, to course étiquette by staff and fans. Norman spoke about the reasoning behind his push for safety by introducing Tim Nugent from Atlanta, Georgia. Nugent was the motorcyclist that Norman crashed into during one of his early Baja races in a Trophy Truck. It was a pivotal moment for Norman as Nugent spoke about the past accident in detail. “I hit this motorcycle racing in the dust of Baja,” Norman said. “I stopped, and from out of the crowd a doctor came and worked on him.” Norman’s personal team doctor came out too, but thankfully Nugent was conscious and alive. Norman’s team helicoptered Nugent out of Mexico and he spent many months in recovery. According to those familiar with the accident, Norman didn’t want to race this event again until rule changes were made between the motorcycles and the Trophy Trucks. “I ended up having to buy it to fix it,” said Norman. Keynote Speakers Norman introduced invited guests who attended the event held in San Diego, California, which included some of the movers and shakers of motorsport safety. Included at the 2017 SCORE/Stand 21 Safety Foundation Conference and 50th SCORE Baja 1000 Beach Bash were Yves Morizot, the founder of Stand 21; Dr. Jacques Dallaire, founder of Performance Prime; SNELL Foundation president Ed Becker; IndyCar Safety Adviser Dr. Steve Olvey; SFI Foundation technical manager, Mike Hurst and NASCAR Safety Director, Tom Gideon. RacingGoesSafer.Org Director, Don Taylor, did a fantastic job as the moderator of the program. Norman asked for a moment of silence in remembrance of SCORE Tech Director Art Savedra and off-road racing legend Bob “Weatherman” Steinberger, who both recently passed away. It was with heavy-heart that Norman delivered the news and he thoughtfully confirmed their significant contributions to SCORE racing. SCORE Steps It Up Under Norman’s leadership, SCORE International has stepped up its rescue capabilities for all drivers and riders. At last year’s SCORE Baja 500 for example, Norman reported that SCORE doubled the medical accident insurance available for all banded team members and provided full aero-medivac support without raising entry fee prices. It’s something that Norman has personally overseen and part of a plan that continues to reflect his own passion for racing safety within the organization. Other advances in safety include the use of the Stella III system for the upcoming SCORE Baja 1000. The Stella III brings a new level of sophistication to monitoring racers during the event. It’s designed for off-road use and has a number of features for both SCORE Race Operations and racers to make competition safer, especially where there are both motorcycles and four-wheel vehicles on the course at the same time. Diversity of Safety Solutions Speakers at the 2017 SCORE/Stand 21 Safety Foundation Conference and 50th Baja Beach Bash definitely kept the crowd’s attention from morning to mid-afternoon, yet perhaps it was Dr. Jacques Dallaire, founder of Performance Prime, that shared a unique bit of advice. Dallaire emphasized the need for off-road teams to be mentally prepared to race. Specifically, he spoke about learning not to sabotage one’s performance. Referencing his book Performance Thinking, Dallaire provided an insight into the mental rules that race teams can use to understand clearly about how the way that they think, influences the way they perform during an event. When it was NASCAR Safety Director, Tom Gideon’s time to speak, he used video footage of crashes. These were mostly NASCAR incidents to highlight the importance of HANS devices, seats, belts and nets, which are critical elements of team safety. Ed Becker from SNELL followed up with an engineer’s education about what goes into race helmet testing and care, two big points that nobody wanted to miss. IndyCar Safety Adviser Dr. Steve Olvey refreshed his past lectures on concussions in motorsports and questioned whether SCORE had a protocol in place for post-concussion injuries when an injured driver returns to race. Another unique insight into safety was given by Antti Kallonen Off-Road Racing Manager, KTM North America, who was also representing the Kurt Caselli Foundation. Kallonen spoke about Caselli and the contribution he made to the spirit of off-road racing. He mentioned past SCORE Journal safety stories and encouraged everyone to read these articles to gain a better perspective of the risks versus the rewards of racing. Kallonen specifically cited two articles from SJ published that highlight concussions and dehydration. Lastly, representatives from TNT Rescue introduced their state-of-the-art rescue vehicle at the conference, which was parked nearby and was loaded with safety equipment. “Our affiliation with SCORE is to provide rescue tools like the Jaws of Life,” said Dave Morgan, west coast manager/vice-president of TNT Rescue. “Our equipment will also be on the rescue helicopters at the upcoming SCORE Baja 1000. There is a need for this type of equipment to extricate someone from a race vehicle. Our rescue truck will be at the event too, which will support ground operations if needed. There is a team from TNT Rescue arriving in Ensenada with me, who are also career California firefighters. This is our first SCORE race and we are currently working on our logistics, but our four-wheel drive Ford F350 is very capable of handling a rescue situation in any environment.” Beach Bash It was a warm summer afternoon when the lectures ended and SCORE vice-president Elise Norman gracefully invited everyone to join her and other SCORE officials under several beach-side canopies for a catered barbecue. For those that felt adventurous enough in the waves that pounded the shoreline, several surfboards were available for anyone to use. One of the racers seated nearby waiting for a chance to hit the surf was Betsy Anderson, who has been racing SCORE events for the past 20 years. She had opinions on safety because she’s been involved in so many aspects of the sport from driving to chasing. “In racing, you see everything that happens, the accidents and mishaps,” Anderson said. “The bottom line with Roger Norman running things at SCORE it that it has all been about safety. I see the value of every aspect of these seminars. Bringing that awareness to people is key. SCORE can’t be responsible for everyone’s actions. These seminars help educate people and sometimes these subjects are scary and the products can be costly to buy, but where do we place our values as racers? We need to take care of ourselves and each other. SJ

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