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John K Shirley

The window net regulation

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John K Shirley

To all competitors,

 

The window net regulation was adopted last year after the sport had several accidents involving broken arms from arms existing out the side windows during roll over accidents. In these accidents it made no difference if the car had standard DOT safety glass or polycarbonate material as deformation of the window frame either shattered the safety glass or caused the polycarbonate to pop out of the window frame.

 

We felt it was important to try to reduce these injuries and after reviewing the standard practices of the motorsports industry it was determined that this regulation is in keeping with best practices of most mainline sanctioning bodies in the US.

 

For those who do not know the NRS Management Board, Ray Hocker, John Shirley, Roger Allison, Kendall Russell and Wilson von Kessler are all current or past competitors and all have been in stage rally accidents. The NRS Board does not live in vacuum and understands cost incurred in this sport. We feel this regulation has a good cost ratio with little effect on driver comfort.

 

John K. Shirley

NASA Rally Sport

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John K Shirley

As a memebr of the NASA Rally Sport Board I would like to reply to some of the posting concerning this regulations.

 

1. This regulation was published in December of 2003 in the 2004 NASA Rally Sport General Regulations for Rallies.

2. All license applicants are given, free of charge, a set of regulations when they purchase a licenses.

3. All SCCA log booked car must meet this requirement to participate in NRS events.

4. An advisory Bulletin on attachment methods will be posted soon.

 

I have seen several post discussing extricating yourself after an accident with the window net. I must point out that extricating yourself is always easier if your don't have a broken or mangled arm!

 

John K. Shirley

NASA Rally Sport

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Rally West

Will arm restraints suffice for meeting the spirit of window net regulation? When will the regulation bulletin be available and will it discuss mounting options?

 

Thanks

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cs_rally

John,

 

Could you please address the concerns of having the net attached to the roll bar and the door at the same time (per draw on regulations)?

 

I believe that it is dangerous that one must disconnect the net to open a door in any situation.

 

Imagine the scenario of upside down, at night in a water body (pond, ditch, creek, etc.).

 

I can understand the net issue, but not the mounting issue. The net attached to the roll bar makes sense on cars without doors.

 

Thanks,

 

Carlos.

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Luckyrallyracing

Please cite any instance were a window net could have possibly prevented further injury. Any.

 

Try and get out with a broken arm? Try and get out of a car with a window net and a broken arm. Maybe we should fill the cars with foam. Window nets pose a SERIOUS egress issue to all competitors, with little benifit compared with the saftey issues they themselves raise.

 

I am trying my best to restrain the emotion that I have over this issue. But people must be informed that this matter poses a serious threat to their saftey while in a rallycar. I am not personally attacking any nasa rallysport official, on the contrary I look highly upon your efforts and would like to continue to participate in your events in the future.

 

Please address the arm restraint request as an alternative. Something small and unobtrusive to your view that releases with the belts is a far better option than your proposed "dangling nets of death".

 

Is it at all possible to act like a club and put this issue to a vote? And not the appointed board members, but the license holders? I'm pretty sure this one would go down like a lead ballon.

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ToeJaM

I'll be happy to jump in with a window net comment. I understand about getting out of a car upside down, etc... Been there, done it with a window net. (Was a road racing incident..) It is something that can be done.

 

On the other hand, I have a friend (Larry K) who was in a motorsports incedent years ago before windownets and has lost all use of his left arm. The arm's still there, just no motorskiils. I have another friend (Eric F) who rolled a Suburban, the windows were up, on the first roll the drivers side rear window shattered, his 10 yr old daughter's arm came out on the second roll and she's been going through multiple surguries to repair the damage.

 

I know of 2 incidents where windownets may have helped. Neither were performance rally. Understand your comments and concerns. Like an adrenlen rush with parformance rally. But, want to do it as safely as possible.

 

Bring on the flames... you asked for examples... I provided two.

 

Tim Meyer................................ToeJaM Racing

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IHBObry

I own an insurance appraisal firm. My office has handled over 7000 claims covering the last 2 years. I'm sure I can show you photo's of over 250 that have glass out of them that could have hurt the occupants seriously. (that's 3.5% about the rate of rollovers)

 

Nets should clip in on the top (usually) so they are not fixed.

 

Much conjecture about the deaths of Mark & Roger had to due with lateral containment or restriction. Although we do not know maybe one of them could have benefited from additional restriction.

 

And to be equally absurd as those who do not want to embrace the concept as part of racing in a NASA event, I already accept the fact that I'm not getting out of the passenger window of my drivers Talon without a struggle. (I am bigger than a loaf of bread) If anything, maybe a net will slow me down from trying to kick it out and actually think a second.

 

 

Bernie

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John K Shirley
Will arm restraints suffice for meeting the spirit of window net regulation? When will the regulation bulletin be available and will it discuss mounting options?

 

Thanks

 

This is an interesting idea but not a substitute solution. One very good part of our USAC relationship is that they have more experience with this than anybody else in the business. I'll make an inquiry next week and let you know.

 

John K. Shirley

NASA Rally Sport

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John K Shirley
John,

 

Could you please address the concerns of having the net attached to the roll bar and the door at the same time (per draw on regulations)?

 

I believe that it is dangerous that one must disconnect the net to open a door in any situation.

 

Imagine the scenario of upside down, at night in a water body (pond, ditch, creek, etc.).

 

I can understand the net issue, but not the mounting issue. The net attached to the roll bar makes sense on cars without doors.

 

Thanks,

 

Carlos.

 

Carlos,

 

One thing that we need to do is review the illustration and get back to everybody next week.

 

John K. Shirley

NASA Rally Sport

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cs_rally

Thanks!

 

Carlos

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jerseybrandon

 

The window net regulation was adopted last year after the sport had several accidents involving broken arms from arms existing out the side windows during roll over accidents......

 

John K. Shirley

NASA Rally Sport

 

John,

 

May we have specifics? I know I was not at EVERY rally event in the US this past year, but I made it to several and caught no wind of such things from others who attended events that I did not.

 

I stand behind the fact that NASA wants to increase safety for its competitors, but like JD said, why cant we have a democracy? This is a club correct? Being that there are 2 very clearly divided sides to this issue, I think a vote or further review is necessary.

 

Brandon

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starion887
Please cite any instance were a window net could have possibly prevented further injury. Any.

 

Try and get out with a broken arm? Try and get out of a car with a window net and a broken arm. Maybe we should fill the cars with foam. Window nets pose a SERIOUS egress issue to all competitors, with little benifit compared with the saftey issues they themselves raise.

 

Please address the arm restraint request as an alternative. Something small and unobtrusive to your view that releases with the belts is a far better option than your proposed "dangling nets of death".

 

Is it at all possible to act like a club and put this issue to a vote? And not the appointed board members, but the license holders? I'm pretty sure this one would go down like a lead ballon.

 

Hi all,

 

While I favor the arm restraints to prevent arm injuries, please understand that the nets serve a far more important purpose, in helping to restrain one's helmeted head from going out the window in a hard side impact. This is a real factor in deaths, and one only has to go back to the famous case of Joe Weatherley's death in his Pontiac at Riverside 40 years back to see a tragic example. The stock car racers realized the value of window nets from that one, and adopted them. So, everyone needs to expand their scope of thinking here.

 

I truly have to argue with JD's claim of 'little benefit' form this rule; I think it adds a lot. And I have to object to the 'dangling nets of death' thing; I remember very well when seat belts were first mandated in production cars in the 60's and all the similar arguments. But after 7 years, I had a friend in the local rescue squad telll me that he had yet been to an accident scene where they had to cut a dead person out of their belts; it was always the other way a round. (Of course that is not true over the long run, but the point is that the benefits far outweighed the detriments.)

 

I have to agree that this issue is not new; it was published. However, I also think the NASA folks need to take a hit on not making an effort sooner to publicize this and remind their members prior to the 2005 season start. We know you are very busy folks, but we are busy too, and with most of us being hobby racers, we don't have the time to dedicate to being 100% on top of every rule. I think it would be a very good idea to issue regular reminders on rules changes starting in the latter quarter of the prior year.

 

Mark B.

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John K Shirley

Mark,

 

I agree we need to work on competitor communications.

 

JKS

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Rally West
Will arm restraints suffice for meeting the spirit of window net regulation? When will the regulation bulletin be available and will it discuss mounting options?

 

Thanks

 

This is an interesting idea but not a substitute solution. One very good part of our USAC relationship is that they have more experience with this than anybody else in the business. I'll make an inquiry next week and let you know.

 

John K. Shirley

NASA Rally Sport

 

Did you ever come up with an answer to the arm restraint option. A friend of mine that hill climbs his rally car in Colorado used restraints at COG this year and loved them. No mobility issues or anything. The bonus, I feel, is that the restraints attatch to the waist belt on the harness. So with one fell swoop the entire harness and restraint system becomes free allowing one to exit the car quickly. Window nets are for closed course racing where a track worker can release them if needs be. I have NEVER seen them on a stage rally car anywhere (outside of the US). I have heard stories from some offroaders that USED to run them that A-pillars would deform and pinch the buckle not allowing them to exit, or rolling in the dark and not being able to find the buckle quickly, or having the net catch on the helmet while exiting upside down.

 

Thanks

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joshw

I am also waiting for a definitive answer on arm restraints. The colorado hillclimb association allows rallycars to use either nets or arm restraints. Pete Mathewson was in charge of forming regulations that accomodated rallyists in the hillclimb events so he may have some useful info.

 

For packaging/installation, ease of use, cost, reliability, distraction, mobility, field of view, ease of exiting and safety, I would rather have arm restriants.

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joshw

Ok, so I called and spoke to John Shirley--his computer is down and out.

 

This is what I now know...

1)Arm restraints are not yet approved as a substitute for nets.

 

2) They want the nets to keep arms and HEADS inside the car......This means that Cage-to-cage mounting is the only acceptable way to instal them because a door-door install does no good when the door comes open.

 

3) They dont think that the sprint car triangle nets are big enough.

 

4)simpson makes a larger version of the sprint car net called the 58" blah blah blah net The two versoins of this are shown below.. I think the second is the one they want us to use.

 

http://www.simpsonraceproducts.com/products/product_detail.aspx?cat_id=229&prod_id=4122

 

http://www.simpsonraceproducts.com/products/product_detail.aspx?cat_id=230&prod_id=4123

 

5) They are about $70 each.....as opposed to the $15-20 for traditional nets from racer wholesale.

 

6) regular window nets are probably fine too but they have not finalized the rules on acceptable mounting.

 

7) Personal opinion----I think that without any definitive answers from NASA on this issue, they will not be able to enforce the rule for the first event.

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Luckyrallyracing

Still waiting on an acceptaple mounting procedure. If you want it mounted cage to cage I think you are crazy, unless you revise the cage rules. How am I going to mount a 21 net in a 44 inch hole? Safely, without adding more contraptions that can stab at ya?

 

I think everyone on this forum knows how upset I am at this rule. The feeling is only compunded by not having clarity on it implementation. Having your head pop out the window is just as big a risk as a branch going through your windshield, as well as a myriad of ofther "what ifs". Window nets are not a safe option for racers that are alone 90% of the time IMHO. And I am almost certain that most of the competitors do not frequent this forum, and will be outraged when they find this info out.

 

Will you pass cars at tech without window nets at SandBlast?

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ColinB

A few observations:

 

-Based on Josh's post the 2004 rulebook is in direct contradiction with the expectation of John/NASA. The diagram specifically shows the net attached to the door and cage.

-Given the extremely general description of the window net mounting and the contradictory diagram the tech inspector will have a very difficult time justifying their decision to fail any net install.

-No research has been presented that suggests window nets will make rally cars safer. The fact that our European counterparts at the top level of rallying do not use them suggests there is a reason why we don't want them. I'm guessing it has to do with exactly what is cited here, escapability when you don't have a rescue crew trackside to help you out of a burning, sinking, or unsafely "parked" rally car.

 

Please reconsider the ruling, or at least defer the enforcement until more thought has been given to the reasons for the rule and how it should be implemented.

 

-C

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talon 763

I really wish that NASA would reconsider this window net rule. The reason I say this is because, yesterday I installed my nets. After everything was finished I took the car out to see how these nets would affect my visibility. My visibility was fine but there was a problem that I never considered before. Since my cage is so close to my seat every time I tried to make a hard turn my elbows got caught up in the net. If I was out on stage I can almost guarantee that I would have gone off because the first time it happened I had to let go of the steering wheel for a second so that I could pull my arm back. So now it's back to the drawing board to see how I can now overcome this problem. There very well maybe more crashes caused by something that I personally believe is not needed.

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starion887

We are going to the following net installation plan:

1) GM latches on the outside of the cage to keep the top of the net as far away from the occupants as we can.

2) A rear lower mount to the cage like shown by Colin; we will weld a tab out from the cage or mount it to the B pillar to place this as far out as we can.

3) A front lower attachment to the cage made of a stainless cable so that the front of the lower rod can drop out of the way when the net is released. This should hopefully eliminate a rod end that might poke about.

4) We will use the fine mesh net so that the arm will slide across it and not catch in the large net openings. I feel that the triangle net from Simpson will have a problem with catching folks' arms.

 

For the info of others, we have had nets in the Starion for years with no interference to arms. But, we are short guys with short arms. The lower mount was to the door, which helped, but I still believe that the door lower mount is bad. We will do the above proposed mount in a Toyotam where the cage is close to the seats, and report how it goes with the arm clearance.

 

Also, side visibility with the fine mesh nets has not bothered me driving. I believe that Lurch reported the same experience on Special Stage.

 

NOW.... will repeat what I said before but which folks like JD have decided to ignore, since it does not suit his arguments of 'no benefit'. The main lifesaving purpose for window nets is for your head. JD, I gave the famous incident of Joe Weatherly which I guess you do not want to believe since it was to an old NASCAR guy and some folks don't seem to count deaths of old southern boys as deaths that need to be of any real consequence. But, in case you can come off your high horse for a bit and listen, he hit a barrier broadside in one of the back turns at Riverside at a speed very comparable to what we run. His head flew out the side and hit the barrier. WINDOW NETS WOULD HAVE SAVED HIS LIFE...PERIOD. If that is not good enough, then go ahead and wallow in your rant all you want.

 

Mark B.

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jerseybrandon

NOW.... will repeat what I said before but which folks like JD have decided to ignore, since it does not suit his arguments of 'no benefit'. The main lifesaving purpose for window nets is for your head. JD, I gave the famous incident of Joe Weatherly which I guess you do not want to believe since it was to an old NASCAR guy and some folks don't seem to count deaths of old southern boys as deaths that need to be of any real consequence. But, in case you can come off your high horse for a bit and listen, he hit a barrier broadside in one of the back turns at Riverside at a speed very comparable to what we run. His head flew out the side and hit the barrier. WINDOW NETS WOULD HAVE SAVED HIS LIFE...PERIOD. If that is not good enough, then go ahead and wallow in your rant all you want.

 

Mark B.

 

Mark, you know I respect you and you have been in this game longer than I have, but I take issue with a few points in this paragraph. First off, lets not make this an ol southern boy neglected by yankees, no one has said anything about that but you so far and I personally have no problem with nascar or roundy rounders.

 

All that aside, let me ask you this: What do you think is more likely, an oval racer hitting his head on a wall that surrounds the entire race track or a rally driver or co driver hitting their head on a tree? Second part: Would you say the chances of a roll over are higher in a rally car or in an oval racer/road racer? Third part: Worst case scenario, cars A and B are both in crashes, car is on its lid and you're stuck inside for whatever reason. Car A is on a road course there are corner workers a-plenty and an ambulance 500' away. Car B is on a rally stage, did they get lucky and wreck at a spectator spot or near the end where the ambulance waits? Which car would you rather be in? I know that if something were hindering my escape from a crashed race car, I'd rather be in car A.

 

Not ranting, just asking,

Brandon

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Anders Green

All that aside, let me ask you this: What do you think is more likely, an oval racer hitting his head on a wall that surrounds the entire race track or a rally driver or co driver hitting their head on a tree?

Since those circle track guys turn left, sit on the left, and the wall is on the right, it would take a 180 degree spin. It only takes a 90 degree spin for a rally car to hit either side, and we're already sliding that way. However, the density of trees is not 100%. I might go even odds on this one.

 

Second part: Would you say the chances of a roll over are higher in a rally car or in an oval racer/road racer?

Yes, much higher. All rally drivers roll in their career. Can you say the same of all our road racing buddies? No way. There's a _reason_ they think we're crazy, you know.

 

Third part: Worst case scenario, cars A and B are both in crashes, car is on its lid and you're stuck inside for whatever reason. Car A is on a road course there are corner workers a-plenty and an ambulance 500' away. Car B is on a rally stage, ... Which car would you rather be in?

 

All of us would rather be in Car A. (Except that Car A is not rallying, so we probably wouldn't be too interested... *grin*) However, this question does not address anything particular about window nets.

 

Anders

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Anders Green

4)simpson makes a larger version of the sprint car net called the 58" blah blah blah net The two versoins of this are shown below.. I think the second is the one they want us to use.

You are correct. Here is a picture of how they would look.

 

I don't think that they will interfere with any elbows or vision.

 

Cheers,

Anders

simpsoncagenet.jpg

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cs_rally

Anders,

 

Thanks for the picture.

IMHO, it clearly shows how we should not use this type of net.

The main reasons for the net are keep our head and arms inside.

This model will keep the head in, but I can't say the same about the arm.

 

Again, IMHO what we should use are arm restraints. If the crew has its belts and seats correctly mounted and fastened properly the head should not be able to go outside the window. I can't say the same about the arms w/o the restraints.

 

BTW, I already bought the nets and mounting hardware.

 

Peace,

 

Carlos.

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joshw

So, for me the dilema is this....Which nets do I buy and how do I install them so that they will meet the rule AND the future rule that will surely be made when we get a definitive answer.

 

ANY purchase I make now and ANY labor that I do now to install these nets is a gamble because the rules WILL be changed very soon to make the rule clear. No?

 

I WILL NOT MAKE THIS PURCHASE TWICE.

 

I WILL NOT CUT, WELD, FABRICATE, ETC TWICE.

 

I WILL NOT IMPLEMENT A QUESTIONABLE SAFETY RULE THAT IS LIKELY TO BE CHANGED.

 

So, with only 2 weeks till sandblast, I am sitting here with my entry fee and forms waiting for a DEFINITIVE answer. The longer I wait, the less likely I will be able to order, recieve, and install nets in time.

 

Where are the answers?

 

If we dont get any soon (i.e TODAY) my only options are to come to SC with arm restraints and hope that they dont turn me away. OR, not come at all.

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