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Head and neck restraints, what are the choices?

Old 12-11-04, 11:08 PM
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science unfortunately is not behind you. without testing all the certified welding is of little value. Anyone who races takes certain risks, but ones that can be reduced should be at all costs. be safe
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Old 12-12-04, 12:50 AM
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Understood, but such things as doubling the bttom where the seat mounts are a no brainer to me. Anyway, Like evryone else involved in this thread will do our best to balance the risks, resources, and technology, for the safest experience we can afford. Carl
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Old 12-15-04, 12:45 AM
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Hey guys...I'm new here. I post a lot over on IT.com. I have raced a 1st gen in the competitive NE region for a few years now.

A few thoughts on H&N restraints.

In thinking about my purchase, I came to a few conclusions:
1- Anything is better than nothing
2- all systems that use straps are flawed, in that the proper adjustment is highly critical to the devices capabilities. We're human, we won't always adjust, for whatever reason.
3- All systems using straps are flawed from a longevity aspect. Most sanctioning bodies have gone to a 2 year belt rule due to the recent data showing the excessive degradation that is possible in belts that are not that old. So, the same standards should apply to the H&N restraint devices that use belts.
4- I'm not a big fan of my head being on the end of a rope.
5- I prefer not to have to drill my helmet and deal with all the asociated issues.
6- I have concerns about getting out of a partially crushed burning car, and having safety gear that can snag on things
7-In a closed cockpit car some ability to turn your head is needed
8-Lots of racing crashes are NOT straight on, and are multiple impact events. I want my H&N restraint to perforn in BOTH directions, and sideways too.


So.....that list really leaves only one candidate, the Isaac. I've worn it for two seasons now, and it's been "tested in a few moderate to light impacts, and one "I think I'm on fire bail" situation.

Here's why I think it is the obvious choice:

...as a H&N restraint, I feel it performs better in more instances than anything else. It is the only system that cushions your head on the rebound. And it's the only system that has a chance of helping on severe offset and side impacts. Plust, there is no way it can become "undone" in an impact event, no matter how violent or confusing. The Hans is a bit worrisome in that regard, after seeing the test where the unit became dislodged.

...the big "rub" on the Isaac unit is that you must disconnect it at the helmet with two cool pull to release action pins before you get out of the car. But once you do, thats it, the device stays IN the car. There is NOTHING to catch on the way out. The HANS is not suited to closed car use as far as I'm concerned, because it sticks up and out, and it strikes me that that would be likely to catch or snare on something during a rushed egress. I've seen it happen like that a few times on TV. Having something you can't see catch on something is difficult to extracate yourself from.

This is one decision that the budget wasn't a huge factor...nor should it be.. . there are plenty of places to save. This aint it.

I have timed myself in a fire escape situation, thanks to my in car video, and including shutting the car down, undoing the window net, the belts, the steering wheel,the Isaac, and grabbing the firebottle, and getting out of the car, it was under 15 seconds between the time the car stopped and I was out. In a "full bail" (which I practice occasionally) It's more like 5 seconds. Some folks say that in a panic situtation, they will forget to release the pins. Maybe this is harsh, but if they are prone to panic, I don't want them racing with me.

The final item has to be the company. At the ARRCs, Gregg Baker walked over, and started unhooking my Isaac right before my race. Me: "Ummmm..hey Gregg? Watcha doin? I knda need that in a few minutes" He smiled, whipped out a new one, and said he wanted to play with mine in the shop. Well alrighty then!

The skeptic will tell you he found a defect and was quietly doing a "recall"! Not! The guy is the most top notch fellow in the amatuer car racing biz. Call him up (say I sent you) and he will be happy to answer all your questions, no matter how harsh or critical. In the end though, he will say"No matter what you decide, just get something...anything", and he means it.

I truly feel that having the dampers doing the decelration of my head is a brilliant approach. I can't figure out why the entire world is so in love with the HANS...it limits movement, and is strap based, and requires helmet mods. People site crash data and apply SO much importance to it. I am not one of them...even though the Isaac was in a virtual tie with the HANS,I see it as somewhat meaning less...at the speeds most of us drive...What matters more to me is the increased RANGE of the units capabilities...forward, backwards, and sideways in a multi impact incident.

I've never regretted the decision in any way, and after taking the left side off the car, I know that I will never race without it.
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Old 12-15-04, 07:19 AM
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Thumbs up

Carl,

What Jake said............

By the way, did you talk with Gregg?

db
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Old 01-04-05, 11:02 AM
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I heard that the HANS had received SFI approval. Not that the Hutchens had failed. Looks like NASCRAP is banning it for 2005.


http://sports.yahoo.com/nascar/news?...v=ap&type=lgns
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Old 01-04-05, 02:08 PM
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I think that the Hutchens was definitely"bottom of the barrel" for choices. Based on the lack of suffifient side restraint in the Sparcos I am now using, I am looking at the Improved D-Cel, and the Isaac. I really like that the Isaac addresses both forward, and recoil movement. That said, if your head does not move substantially forward, recoil is less of a problem.
Does anyone know what HANS measures, and changes on a custom fitted piece VS the off the shelf piece? I talked to two resellers of the HANS, and they stated flatly that neck length, shoulder slope, and other physical attributes of individuals were unimportant. They went on to say that, that was what they were told by HANS in response to such inquiries, seems like bad information to me. I also asked if they reccomended a sternum strap, and both said it was not neccessary... Those sort of comments are a little disconcerting to me, what does everyone else think?

For those that plan on modding their seats/cars for greater side impact protection, what are you doing exactly? Thanks, Carl

Last edited by Carl Byck; 01-04-05 at 02:17 PM.
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Old 01-04-05, 07:46 PM
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On the subject of modding the seat I'll be adding side head support to my Kirkey. I'm planning on starting with the off the shelf Kirkey wings and bracing them with thicker aluminum. That and side nets extending forward. I'm thinking the left side is good with the window net but I'll look strongly at adding a sprint car net on that side as well.
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Old 01-04-05, 07:47 PM
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Also have you looked into the R3 restraint. Looks like a new take on a Hans. Too bad it has the same price point.
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Old 01-06-05, 03:08 AM
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There is a thread on the SCCA Prod racing forum. There is a copy of the news brief where the Hutchens "Failed" the SFI testing.
The R3? and HANS device are the only ones sofar to pass the "new" SFI requirements.

Myself I posted on it.. and I dont like the R3.. It looks like a Hans with motorcycle back protection armor attached to it... the thought of Motorcycle armor that is Inflexible (unlike real Motorcycle armor) on my back DOESNT turn me on. Imagine twisting.. or Leaning sideways to shimmy out of a bent 1st gen! IF... IF I was gonna get one of the two I would go Hans.
I REALLY would like to see Issacs do the SFI testing. Regardless of the people who are not engineers opinions.. and SFI with thier SCCA in bed factor.. I would like to see it pass for my own comfort before buying one of them. (Not that I would go Issacs or Hans... but it would end "doubts" of the Issacs by those not aware of the testing)

ANYHOW... Here is the thread LOL

http://www.coloradoscca.org/prodcar/...pic.php?t=3874
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Old 03-04-05, 11:59 AM
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For what its worth I've been racing for several years using the simple foam horseshoe collar. I've hit the scenery a few times and it made a difference..as did 3" belts
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Old 03-25-05, 11:12 PM
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REALRIDE
LEARNING FROM TRAGEDY
David
12/23/2003

LEARNING FROM TRAGEDY. By Tim Spencer

Thursday October 16th started like any other thursday before a big race weekend. Organising all the team equipment, last minute food purchases, and generally a thrash. Billy (Our driver) flying in from the east coast. We had done all of this before, but there is always something new every race weekend. This time we were to be on a local radio show in Bakersfield friday morning to help promote the RealRide Racing team and some of our dedicated sponsors; Pennyweb, Pyrotect and Day Wireless Systems. Everything got done and we are off to Buttonwillow Raceway Park. The Radio show goes well even though a competing race series has bought time on the radio program and the host won't let us mention our race series, American Stockcar Challenge(ASC). After the radio gig we are off to the track for a half day of testing. Testing goes well and Billy is doing well and posting very competitive times. All looks good for saturday. A good time out with friends of the radio show and then to sleep we go.

Saturday starts with practice going well. No problems and Billy looks to be one of the fastest ASC cars in practice. We install a new set of tires for qualifying, but it does not go well. Billy is pushing too hard under braking and is taking turn one way too fast. He never gets a clean lap for qualifying. Billy has to start near the end of the field. The team rallies together and plots a strategy for the whole weekend. Billy will start slowly and keep the car on track conserving his tires and he will see what happens in front of him. Doing this will help conserve the tires so he can be more competitive on sunday when he has better rubber than the rest of the guys. The start of the race goes as planned. Billy is following the plan as we agreed. He has made some changes to his driving line and braking points and is keeping his position. Unfortunately early in the race Billy looses control and goes off the track impacting an earthen berm. The car impacts the berm on the passenger side and comes to rest on top of the berm. The track safety crew starts to work to get him out of the car. We all help to get him to the hospital as fast as possible, but unfortunately he does not survive. The ER doctor describes the injury as a ruptured carotid artery in his neck causing sudden blood loss and death. I still have a hard time understanding how this accident killed a good friend and fellow racer. The part of the track he went off is not a high speed section and he went off the track side ways. After any accident fatal or not we try to analyse what happened. Here are some things we found.

After a short bit of research I find that even slow speed accidents at certain angles can be fatal. It turns out that impacts to the passenger side of race cars can cause serious and sometimes fatal injuries to the driver. Most injuries are to the neck and head. The seats in most race cars do not have any side head restraints, so even a small impact can cause the head and neck to be over extended. Alot of work has been done to help with front and rear impacts, but what we needed was something to prevent the type of injuries sustained in a side impact. Seems this should be handled by the seat. Alot of testing and research has been done on seats in race cars after some of the deaths in NASCAR. Most race seats used by racers of all types(pro and amateur) are very similar. Large side bolsters to keep you in the seat and rib or shoulder "wings" to keep you from sliding around under hard cornering forces and a headrest of some type to keep your head from going backwards in a front or rear impact. Nothing on either side of your head. This for many years has been the "standard" in racing seats and is made by many companies out of aluminum, fiberglass, and carbon fiber. I set out to find a better alternative. One that would give the driver a chance in an accident such as Billy's. Several of the stock car seat companies have been testing and building seats with head restaints since Dale Earnhardt's accident. Butler and Richardson have seats available with heavily reinforced headrests/restraints. They supply almost all NASCAR teams with seats and have a alot of experience with NASCAR stock cars. I also contacted Recaro as they have a new line of seats with a large head rest/restaint also. These seats are very new and as of this writing I have not been able to see one in person. Recaro has alot of crash data and has a good reputation in the racing seat business. The seat I finally bought for myself is built by Racetech. The seat was designed and built for the new Dodge Viper competition coupe race car. Daimler-Chrysler commisioned Racetech to build a seat capable of high G impacts that would protect the driver. Racetech and Daimler-Chrysler designed a seat that meets all of my requirements and is reasonably priced considering the other options. The seat has been tested at some of the highest G loads. The minimum requirements for Daimler-Chrysler were well beyond what the FIA requires of seats(the only organization that has specifications for race seats that I know of). It is used in the new Viper race car from the factory. The seat is also available in several sizes to fit nearly anyone, and this has been a problem for me since I am near 300 lbs and 6' tall. It has a wrap around headrest/restraint, extended shoulder restraints, heavily reinforced back brace area, built in bosses for extended passenger side window nets, and bosses for the back brace attachment. It is a side mount seat that can be adjusted for nearly any seating position. It is compact and light weight.

Finally I hope that our tragedy will inspire other racers professional or amateur to look at their safety gear. Make sure you have all required items properly installed and then look to some of the new products. Seats are one area I believe everybody needs to improve. Head and neck restraints are items all racers should start using. These items cannot guarrantee that you will not get hurt, but it will improve your odds. It is everyone's responsability to be as safe as possible while on the track, so use this info to make choices in regards to safety.


RealRide.com
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Old 03-26-05, 05:04 PM
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Tim, I am very sorry to hear of the tragedy, my condolences. Luckily, there are now seats (aluminum in the 600.00 range that incorporate proper side restraint systems(Ultrashield lightweight road race 14-18", .25" al. Halo). Unfortunately, selling seats that do not meet these new standards is both diffcult, and from a moral point of view given your statements troublesome. For me, I have a Kirkey aluminum Intermediate road race. The side supports require substantial reinforcement to provide meaningful protection. Before I got involved in this thread I had not particularly considered side impacts, and consequently purchased Sparco Rev seats(more comfortable). Sparco offers side impact add on protection, but the rated loads are far too low to provide the required protection(and require a CF seat). So, now, I am on a budget, own three essential un-used seats, and am not particularly safe in any of them..... I will probably sell all three, and buy the Ultrashield seats, but as always, racing on a budget will continue to be a dangerous, and unpredictable activity.


I think that proper testing of the D-Cel/Simpson device is sooo important, as well as the Isaac, those two provide some(as of yet not particularly quantified) side impact protection. the Isaac potentially offers more protection since it functions more efficiently on rebound from the incident than a harness device. As I have argued from the beginning, the Hans type devices are only worthwhile in a frontal impact/with proper compatible harnesses/custom fit/and a proper seat with a Halo. This perception that Hans devices are the end all is just a crock... Carl
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Old 03-26-05, 06:40 PM
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Carl,

You are starting to understand the complete system. None of the items listed is the end all. They need to be used in conjuction with each other. I don't want to bad mouth any manufacturer but the companies listed in my article are still the only ones that offer real side impact protection. Dr. Melvin(of NASCAR fame) has been testing the "sprint car" type triangular window nets for side impact protection and has basicly stated that they work well. So If you have a good quality seat(Sparco not Kirkey) then add the sprint car net to the right side and start saving for the HANS device. Even the Racetech guys add threaded bosses to the seat to install the right side window net.
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Old 03-26-05, 11:12 PM
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Tim,

Also very sorry to hear of your loss.
We all know those of us that race enter the car with the actual possibility of not having a 2nd day. Yet we still do it... That is the passion of racing.. you have the passion.. or you dont.. If you dont.. you dont race. It still doesnt make loss any easier.

In my ITA car I have a Momo Rookie. This is what I put in it at request of the former owner. As it is.. I am not happy with the protection levels. However.. to get on the track and get current again...I will be racing in the short term in the rookie seat. It does NOT make me comfortable. I will do my best to not be putting myself in a position to get hammered.. IE.. I will be doing some track time.. but not killing to be up front. My goal is to get the track time/currency.. while I build the rest of the EP car.. and or finish gathering parts for assembly.

My dilemma.. as is with everyone.. is HN restraint+seat.
Yes I would love to look into the Recaro.. that comes with head restraints... and a Hans..... But then again.. there are many options.. and I am sure by the end of the year there will be more.

Issacs.. good system. I personally dont like the oil filled shocks that need exercising before going on the track... to distribute the air pocket.. or something to that effect. Yes I do believe it very well would be on par or better than Hans. For me.. I am thinking that I would go Hans and recaro...... IF.. IFFF.. I wanna spend a couple grand. Which I really think is worth my life.. but again.. man. That is a lot of cash.
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Old 07-31-05, 09:12 AM
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For all on this thread:

If you weren't aware, we lost Jay Wright earlier this month. He is the inventer of the "Wright Device" restraint marketed by his company, Over 40 Racing. He was an engineer at NASA in Houston and for the past few years has been struggling with the effects of a racing incident. I carried his device up to the Delphi test facility in June for a single hit that was financed primarily by a group of IT racers. It was a true learning experience for me. Because of a minor assembly problem, it didn't test as well as might have been expected, and another test was being planned. At this point, I am not certain whether it will be tested or not.

The racing community has lost a true friend and advocate of safety in Jay. He will be missed..........
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Old 01-26-06, 01:43 PM
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Not much discussion here lately. Anyone purchased a new restraint device for this season?
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Old 03-01-06, 12:15 PM
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BMWCCA is requiring the use of the HANS for 2007, and PCA is making H&N restraint devices (not brand-specific) a requirement for anything higher than an autocross starting in '07. Looks like NASA and SCCA can't be more than a few years behind, I know a lot of circle track organizations are making strong suggestions and hinting at mandatory useage of the HANS coming soon.

Since we started as a HANS distributor last year, they've been flying off the shelves. Seems like its just now part of the package-- if you have to spend X amount of $$ for all the other safety gear (suit, helmet, gloves, socks, shoes, restraints, window net, cage, fire system, etc.) its actually not that bad...about the cost of a mid-level 2 or 3 layer suit, and it lasts nearly as long as a helmet (except for the straps). New devices added a lip/ridge to help keep the belts in place, and all have new SFI and FIA decals (some of the old ones had neither, without the lip/ridge).

(Moderator, please contact me if this post is inappropriate or seen as advertising, just offering insight into what other sanctioning bodies are starting to do)
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Old 03-01-06, 05:17 PM
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From the most recent SCCA FasTrack.

"Efffective 11/1/06, SFI 38.1 H&N restraints ONLY are permitted (looks like a HANS for everybody this Christmas who wants to wear one). They're still only RECOMMENDED as of 11/1/06.
Right side nets (sprint car type restraints) RECOMMENDED
Window nets must drop DOWN when released"

I will have one on this season. The HANS and a seat with head restraint is a must.
This SCCA recomendation should help sales Dave. Look for this to change before it goes into the permanent rule book. The ISSAC owners are not happy.
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Old 03-02-06, 04:26 PM
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I picked up a HANS midway through last season. Haven't tested it yet, hope I never do. It takes an "extended" (5 session) weekend to get used to, but as long as the belts and seat are djusted right I dont think you'll notice it after that.

As far as restriction of movement, the only problems I had were starting the car while snugly strapped in, which I remedied by moving the seat forward. There was another which I can't remember now, but it was fixed with the repositioning of the seat. I can also look out the passenger window (at the mirror if it was there...) without any problems. I'll have a side net installed before the next race (next weekend) if I get the engine put back in the car without any problems.
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Old 03-11-06, 01:01 PM
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Before SCCA mandates the use of a brand specific H&N restraint, look for a more clear intrepretation of SFI 38.1. As it is right now, there is quite a discussion as to the language of the rule that eliminates all but a very few brands. The single point release seems to be a real issue.

Did anyone see the footage of Jeff Altenburg in the burning Protege as he was caught in the window net as he was trying to get out? He was finally able to get free when the net melted. As a result, there is now a new rule as to how window nets are installed.

God help the organization that makes a racer take off his "not approved" restraint on the grid. Talk about the possibility major liability. Especially if that product has tested to be as effective as the "approved" one.

This is one to not get too excited about just yet. I think this discussion is healthy in that it is causing more racing organizations to examine the language of the rule as it was developed for NASCAR, which is what all the others are using as a benchmark. This issue is going to get VERY interesting before it is settled.
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Old 04-13-06, 02:20 PM
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Originally Posted by Carl Byck
I am going to start this thread, the intention is for this to be an informative/stickied thread on the choices available, their pros, and cons, and where to purchase them.

HANS Device outweighs all others, period.
I use it, and wouldn't use anything else.

"Did you know the HANS Device is the only head and neck restraint allowed in NASCAR, Formula 1, A1GP, Champ Car, GP2, Ferrari Challenge, ALMS, GrandAm, Formula BMW and many regional series?"

Quoted from www.Hansdevice.com
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Old 04-18-06, 05:42 PM
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Hard to argue against a device mandated by all those pro series. I had a discussion today with a fellow racer and were both going to buy Hans devices. Who has the best deal out there right now? Any hope that a group buy might be possible?
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Old 04-18-06, 05:45 PM
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very good idea. I hope more people follow suit.
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Old 04-20-06, 10:38 AM
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Originally Posted by cpa7man
Hard to argue against a device mandated by all those pro series. I had a discussion today with a fellow racer and were both going to buy Hans devices. Who has the best deal out there right now? Any hope that a group buy might be possible?

I just bought it from Hans themselves. I searched around a little, but didn't find it for really any cheaper. You may be able to find a little better deal through someone else, but it really isn't that different in price if at all, and you have no idea if it's really authentic (that's something you don't really want to skimp on, you know that whole "you get what you pay for" thing), and from Hans you can order the exact angle, weight, color, straps, etc. that you are looking for, not to mention warranty purposes...so in my opinion, It would just save you a lot of time, trouble, and maybe even money, if you order it from Hansdevice.com.

Just an idea.....maybe Hans would be okay with the group buy thing......

Last edited by Dan Schechter; 04-20-06 at 10:44 AM.
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Old 06-21-06, 03:06 PM
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Previous to my FD, I had a track prepped Porsche 944 Turbo (951). During a BMW club event last October, I lost steering control in the middle of a fast turn and smacked the concrete barrier sideways going about 50-60mph. The hit was square and perpendicular to the wall, and my car slid 50 ft along the wall before coming to a stop.

I was in a 5pt harnessed into a Corbeau Forza seat, using a ISAAC Device. After the impact, I had no neck or shoulder soreness, even though my left side and left thigh was black and blue from from hitting the seat bolster, not even a headache. I was amazed at how well I felt.

Isaac Device for me: easy to use, unobtrusive, competitively priced, tested to work, and proved itself in my crash.

BTW. The seat tubing and seat bracket were deformed laterally. Deformation is not necessarily a bad thing (eg crumple zones). its better that the seat moves than you, or your internal organs bouncing around. As long as it stays attached.
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