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RallySport Magazine May 2017

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  • Rally
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  • Toyota
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The May 2017 issue of RallySport Magazine features: News / Regulars: * National Capital Rally preview * Vale: Timo Makinen * Five minutes with - Ross Tapper * Martin Holmes column * Photo of the month Feature stories: * Molly Taylor column * Head and neck safety * Subaru’s RS Challenge - a look back * Audi Magic - Dylan Turner’s Quattro S1 AP4 * A Kiwi in Argentina * A WRC hijacking in Sanremo Event reports: * WA Forest Rally - ARC 2 * Rally of Whangarei - NZRC 2 * Southern Rally - SARC 1 * Rally of Argentina - WRC 5 * Rally of Portugal - WRC 6 * Mitta Mountain Rally


FEATURE: HEAD AND NECK SAFETY HEAD AND NECK SAFETY Story: TOM SMITH Safety standards associated with rallying have improved vastly over the last 2-3 decades. Whilst it may be hard for some younger competitors to believe, during the 60s and 70s crash helmets were not compulsory, and the minimum standard of competition clothing was generally accepted as ‘waist-to-ankle’ covering (ie long pants). Standards then improved to ‘neck-toankle’, which meant that arms needed to be covered as well. Fireproof suits eventually became de rigueur, followed by the associated fireproof underwear, socks, boots and a balaclava. Inside the car, a roll-cage was rare, but typical standards through the 80s included a 4-point bolt-in aluminium cage – with no front ‘legs’ – and the whole cage was usually disposed of after any semi-serious rollover, due to obvious kinking or stressing of the aluminium tubing. Today’s typical welded-in chrome- moly full roll-cage is integrated with all suspension points and utilises about 40 lineal metres of tubing. Seat belts had improved from standard lap-sash to ‘harnesses’ – although the 4-point harness only become standard fitment in the early 80s. Five-point harnesses emerged as the safest option. Seats were any combination from standard fitment models to highback ‘performance’ seats from other car makes and models. Rallyists with money usually fitted adjustable Recaros or similar, until Marsh Seats in Australia introduced their affordable (and lightweight) fibreglass moulded, sheepskin covered one-piece seat. In the mid-2000s, the first of the ‘head and neck’ safety devices was introduced at the highest levels and helmet standards increased with the introduction of carbon-fibre and composite materials. These were typically referred to as a ’HANS’ device. The first HANS device concept was designed in the early 1980s by Dr. Robert Hubbard, a professor of biomechanical engineering at Michigan 1. Head and neck device, 2. Tether (one per side), 3. Helmet anchor (one per side), and 4. Shoulder support. State University. The idea developed with his brother-in-law, Jim Downing, following the death of a friend who died of head injuries in a testing accident when his Renault Le Car struck a sandbank. Find us at: Call us o 14 | RALLYSPORT MAGAZINE - MAY 2017

Dr Hubbard decided that some sort of protection was required to help prevent injuries from sudden stops, especially during accidents. A major cause of death amongst drivers during races was through violent head movements, where the body remains in place because of the seat belts, but the momentum keeps the head moving forwards, causing a Basilar skull fracture, resulting in serious injury or immediate death. Dr. Hubbard had extensive experience as a biomechanical crash engineer, including in General Motors’ auto safety program. His first prototype was developed in 1985, and in crash tests in 1989 - the first to use crash sleds and crash dummies using race car seat belt harnesses - the energy exerted on the head and neck was lowered by some 80 per cent. In simple terms, the device was designed to maintain the relative position of the head to the body, in addition to transferring energy to the much stronger chest, torso, shoulder, seatbelts, and seat as the head is decelerated. After major racing safety companies declined to produce the product, Hubbard and Downing formed Hubbard Downing Inc, to develop, manufacture, sell and promote the head and neck device in 1991. However, the product languished until 1994, when Formula 1 showed interest in the wake of the deaths of Roland Ratzenberger and Ayrton Senna. In 1999, Mercedes was completing research of the HANS on behalf of the FIA for Formula 1, finally deciding that it out-performed their airbag project of the time. Before 2001 many drivers resisted these head and neck restraint devices, claiming them to be uncomfortable, more restrictive and fearing that it would cause more injuries and problems than it prevented. Some stated that the positioning of the devices made the seat belts feel less secure or rubbed on the shoulders or collar bone. However, at the time drivers were not willing to participate in the process of perfecting the fit. Formula One mandated the devices in 2003 after extensive testing, sharing the results with other FIA affiliates. The World Rally Championship and Australian V8 Supercar series made the device compulsory for drivers in the 2005 season. Acceptance by drivers was helped by the addition of quick-release shackles developed and implemented by Ashley Tilling. They were sourced from the marine industry, being used on racing sailboat rigging. The shackles allowed the drivers a simple and quick pull to release the device and exit their vehicle. The first New 2017 NecksGen REV2 Lite At only 1.2 lbs, the all-new weight saving design makes it one of the smallest and lightest head and neck restraints on the market, giving drivers the ultimate in comfort and performance. The REV2 Lite is SFI 38.1 certified, so you can rest assured that it performs just as well as the competition. With a new integrated adjustable tether design, sizing and fitment are easier than ever and offers frontal, as well as side, impact protection for the driver, so if you have a classic car that can’t fit a head restraint seat, then the Necksgen is a no brainer. The belt channels have friction pads and high outer belt guides to help keep your shoulder harnesses in driver to utilise them was NASCAR driver Scott Pruett of PPI Motorsports. Today, most major motor racing sanctioning bodies mandate the use of head and neck restraints; the FIA made their use compulsory for all International-level FIA events from the beginning of 2009. With costs decreasing markedly in recent years, rally competitors have generally embraced the concept of the head and neck restraint device at all levels, ensuring personal safety is as important as the technical and mechanical preparation of their vehicles. place while driving and under multiple impacts. These 3-inch belt channels negate the need to go out and buy HANS specific belts. The yokeless design of the REV product line means drivers can strap in with no extra pressure on the chest or collarbones, and the quick release helmet hardware comes included at no extra charge. The Necksgen Rev is still available, along with the youth device at all new pricing. To learn more about Necksgen, go to asp?id=15 Retail Price: NZ9.00, AU9.00 Sizes: Medium and Large (2”-3” Belts) HJC MOTORSPORTS n: AU 1800 CHICANE or NZ 0800 CHICANE MAY 2017 - RALLYSPORT MAGAZINE | 15

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