SCORE Journal

SCORE Journal - September 2018

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

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Page 13 of 90

In Pursuit Of Safety SCORE gathers leaders in the motorsports safety community to present key information to improve the sport of off-road racing By Dick Gray Photography by Dick Gray With the Summer sun shining and the waves crashing on the beach, racers, safety personnel, equipment manufacturers, SCORE Staff, and more, gathered at SCORE International’s San Diego, California facility for the Stand 21 Safety Foundation 3rd annual SCORE International Driver Safety Workshop. This year’s meeting had a different format than in previous years, as it was more of an open discussion between experts involved in the safety industry, and racers, pit support, and staff. Although each guest speaker had their own presentation, all who attended were able to share their ideas on how new safety technologies and techniques could be implemented into the SCORE World Desert Championship racing series. Roger Norman, along with Don Taylor, the former NHRA Technical Director and Director of General Motors Racing Safety Program, and Yves Morizot, the president and founder, Stand 21 Safety Products and Stand 21 Safety Foundation, started off the day recapping the advancements in motorsports safety across various forms of racing. This included a dramatic video of Yves’s son being lit on fire while wearing a fire suit. This was an effort to demonstrate how a fire suit will protect racers and pit crews, for a given amount of time. New Safety Rules Norman and Taylor then discussed the implementation of new safety rules and equipment currently being used by SCORE International and provided options for improved safety technology in the future. This included the mandatory use of a HANS device for drivers. Taylor produced various slides displaying the different “zones” of safety in motorsports events and how to safely prepare for whichever zone you happen to be in. This was reviewed in the July 2018 issue of SCORE Journal. While it is widely known that being inside the race vehicle during one of these events, especially with all of the regulated safety equipment mandated by the organization, is one of the safest places you can be, Taylor and Norman discussed reaching the next step in creating safer events. Their ideas were to apply some of the same technology used inside of the vehicles to protect the occupants in the event of an accident to pit crews and other personnel that are in close proximity to the vehicles during the events. Medical Response Times And Trackside Safety Joe Powell, Track EMS at California Speedway and Chief of EMS at Rialto Fire Dept., covered the topic of emergency medical response and trackside safety. Examples of EMS staff, and equipment were provided from multiple forms of automotive racing and venues, to compare and contrast the safety requirements between these events and SCORE events. With Powell being recently introduced to the world of desert racing, he quickly realized the challenge of covering such a large event area with EMS crews and safety equipment. This brought up a group discussion on how racers, chasers, fans, and promoter can improve safety at the events. The idea came about that the more time anyone present is prepared for the unexpected, the better off you and anyone involved will be in the event of an accident. Norman pointed out that it is the responsibility of a racer to promote safety amongst his or her team. Practicing safe pit area techniques, vehicle prep, and having a plan in place for what to do in the event of an emergency are key elements brought up in this discussion. “We have a rescue helicopter, we have a rescue airplane, and we have about 24 ambulances. But it can be an hour for someone to get to you, especially at night,” said Norman. “In Baja nobody’s allowed to fly at night.” Norman went on to stress the importance of emergency training within the race teams as being paramount. Those in attendance agreed that having crew members with CPR certification and general knowledge of how to handle various types of emergencies could make the difference between life and death in an emergency situation. Fire Protection Mike Hurst, Technical Manager SFI Foundation,the organization that administers standards for specialty performance and racing equipment, introduced the group to the current driver safety equipment in regards to fire protection. Hurst suggested that with the proper fire safety equipment being used by the racers and in the race vehicles, the chances of injury to the racers are greatly reduced. As for everyone outside of the race vehicle, however, including pit crews and spectators, the need for fire safety is extremely important. Hurst suggested that having the proper fueling equipment, technique, and a knowledge of how to suppress a fire is a must for all members of a race team. He went on to say that it is the responsibility of the teams to educate members, and share the knowledge and techniques of fire safety with everyone in and around the race vehicle, including other teams and spectators. Hurst also offered some recommendations for improving fire safety within the race vehicles that included adding a computer controlled fuel pump cut-off, which would reduce the longevity of a vehicle fire and increase the chances of being able to extinguish it with available fire suppression devices. Hurst also pointed out the issue of counterfeit safety equipment, which is a growing problem not only in off-road racing, but in all motorsports. Hurst noted that counterfeit equipment can include racing harnesses, fire suite, helmets and more that are sold online at discounted prices. Because these counterfeit products are made from inferior materials that are not tested by the SFI, they can result in serious injury or death. Hurst said that the SFI is in the process of moving forward with electronic labeling to prevent this, following the barcodes instituted by FIA. Head Protection Ed Becker, President, Chief Engineer of the SNELL Memorial Foundation, brought helmet safety to everyone’s attention. SNELL promotes the development, manufacturing and use of superior headgear for motorsports. “Heads and brains are worth protecting,” said Becker. “This is why SNELL provides rating systems for different types of protection offered by various helmet manufactures.” Becker went on to say that SNELL will soon be implementing its 2020 certification ratings beginning in 2019 and will be adopted by SCORE International as an updated requirement for helmet inspection. Moving forward with the 2018 SCORE International race season Norman, safety experts, and everyone in attendance at this year’s SCORE International Driver Safety Workshop, agreed that they would like to see everyone involved implementing improved safety measures as their number one concern. In the event of an accident, the more prepared we are to handle the situation, the better off everyone involved will be. Norman ended the discussions by saying that if anyone witnesses any sort of safety concerns at a SCORE event, please say something to the parties involved and/or SCORE staff. “You have to finish to win,” said Norman. “Safety is first!”. SJ

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