SCORE Journal


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

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Page 27 of 92

GOING WITH THE FLOW Re-thinking the ways SCORE racers and off-road enthusiasts hydrate By Dan Sanchez In almost every SCORE Baja race, drivers make mistakes. Some miss a turn, drive too fast in a speed zone, or get a flat tire from miscalculating the distance from a large rock on the course. While some of this may seem “normal” for an off-road race, much of it can also be attributed to the effects of dehydration. Several University studies have shown that when the human body is not properly hydrated, reactions are slower, heart rates rise, and concentration is reduced. While we know hydration is important, especially in a SCORE Baja race where the temperatures can be high, the problem is getting enough fluids to drivers without having to stop at a pit or taking their hands off the steering wheel or handlebars to take a drink while driving. Most racers use hydration packs and water bladders which make it much easier to carry water for both four-wheel and two-wheel racers, but new technologies are taking it to the next level.   IMPROVING ON THE BASICS Hydration packs in themselves have improved in form and function. Motorcycle racers often use a pack with a water bladder in it, allowing them to also carry a first-aid kit, radio, tools, and more. The packs are essentially a method to hold water bladders (reservoirs) which can hold as much as 3-liters of water in a BPA-free, leak-proof pouch. Most are also designed to fit into just about any backpack and can be used separately without the pack. Manufacturers have also made them much easier to refill and clean. Sip-tubes have high-flow rate hoses with improved bite valves that won’t leak, and the use of one-way fluid valves prevent water from seeping back into the bladder, allowing longer length hoses to be routed into racing helmets or on a backpack shoulder harness. As Alan Ampudia gets an emotional hug from his dad after winning the 2019 SCORE Baja 1000, you can see the water bladder and hose he uses to stay hydrated during the race. CamelBak CamelBak M.U.L.E. This hydration pack is designed for maximum stability and features the company’s 3-liter Crux™ reservoir with its Quicklink system to easily change hoses, bite valves, and more. The pack has 19-liters of cargo space and a special cell-phone pocket.  Unbottle 3L A simpler way to insulate and carry a 3Liter bladder alone or add to your existing backpack. The company’s Crux™ reservoir delivers 20% more water per sip and features an ergonomic handle for easier refilling.   DELIVERY SYSTEMS Getting water to the person wearing or using a hydration pack can be challenging, especially for in-vehicle applications, where water bladders are typically secured somewhere in the cab and water lines have to be routed from somewhere inside the cab up to the driver’s helmet or nearby where it can be grabbed. Motorcycle racers have the unfortunate task of carrying their water supply on their backs, but the water lines are shorter into the helmet and are typically attached to a pack’s shoulder straps. While these systems are widely used by racers and off-road enthusiasts, there are some shortcomings too. One of the biggest issues is that it takes one hand to grab the water line and valve to take a drink. Also, longer water lines require more suction once you get the valve into your mouth, and that takes some valuable seconds away from focusing on the terrain ahead. Some bladder systems offer a hand pump or squirt tip that pressurizes the hose and delivers an instant blast of water, but that’s not convenient for getting around a full-face helmet and into your mouth. Electronic pump systems are now coming into the market, which goes a step further to provide instant water to the driver at the push of a button. These systems are battery-powered and use a momentary actuator button that can be mounted to handlebars or steering wheels, to deliver a blast of water whenever the driver feels a need to drink. The advantage is that it keeps your hands in control of the vehicle, and with a nozzle mounted in the helmet, the system can squirt water directly into your mouth, making it more compact and allowing the driver/rider to maintain their focus on the terrain. LIQUIDAIDER LiquidAider Hydration System Added to your existing water reservoir, the LiquidAider kit adds a wireless push button to handlebars or steering wheels. An adjustable nozzle mounts in any helmet and a small pump connects to any existing water bladder where the water line is routed and attached to the helmet via a magnetic breakaway connection, making it easy for driver changes. Anti-freeflow valves prevent water from draining and an anti-splash valve keeps water from pumping out of the nozzle. The system weighs 8 ounces and uses rechargeable batteries that last up to 40-liters of water delivery. The system has been used by Class 11 race teams at the SCORE Baja 1000 and several UTV and motorcycle race teams. FULLY AUTOMATED SYSTEMS Concentrating on the racecourse, listening to navigators, and dealing with competition running up behind you, race drivers often forget to take a drink of water when necessary. Studies on hydration during racing conditions have shown that when drivers consistently take small drinks of water over a longer period, they remain focused, hydrated, and feel refreshed, even in races that take place under extreme heat conditions. Some of the most technologically advanced hydration systems now allow drivers to program the frequency and the amount of water that can be delivered during a specific race. The programming alerts the driver with an LED light indicating it’s time to push a button and receive a blast of water from the nozzle mounted in their helmet. Fully automated hydration systems can also be integrated into the vehicle’s fresh air hose system to the driver that is attached to the helmet, avoiding any additional connections to remove during a driver change. The advantage, especially in off-road racing, is that a second driver can drink from the same water reservoir without contamination, and utilize their in-helmet mounted mouthpiece. FluidLogic FLUIDLOGIC® PROGRAMMABLE HYDRATION SYSTEM This in-vehicle mounted fluid delivery system is integrated into a racing helmet’s fresh air inlet and MagLock Air magnetic air-hose coupling system. The FluidLogic® includes a silicone mouthpiece that is adaptable to any helmet and can be programmed through a mobile device to provide a precise amount of water at a predetermined time set by the driver. A lighted push button fits on a steering wheel or handlebars that illuminates once it’s time to take a drink, a reminder that helps keep the driver/rider fully hydrated and focused. The water lines use check valves to prevent seepage when disconnected from the system, which also makes driver changes quick and without having to change the water source. Used by IndyCar, NASCAR, and SCORE racers, the system utilizes the science of hydration to properly keep racers focused, calm, and at maximum performance levels.  KATARA PERSONAL HYDRATION SYSTEM The Katara is a backpack with a full hydration system incorporated into it. The system is co-branded with Troy-Lee Designs for optimum fit, design, and appearance that motorcyclists will appreciate. The system is fully programmable with a downloadable phone app, to provide a predetermined dose of hydration. The system flush-mounts to any helmet without drilling and features a magnetic one-hand connect and disconnect. The system is also available with a reverse auto-fill function that can quickly re-fill the bladder without having to remove it. The Katara system will be available in the spring of 2021. While high-tech hydration and delivery systems are advancing, additional studies are providing insight into how the body reacts to various conditions and how this information can keep drivers and navigators safe, healthy, and at peak performance levels. For now, improving hydration at any level is a scientifically proven way for racers to keep focused and refreshed in the most extreme of conditions, like those found in SCORE Baja racing.SJ

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