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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I took the opportunity at the presentation to share my perspective of the accident Jannie and I had on Saturday at the Mountain Trials so that it was a matter of record rather than speculation, and to ensure that the very important lessons that came out of it were shared. I think it is worth sharing the experience and those lessons with the broader audience (particularly as it is getting broader airplay). I cannot speak confidently on behalf of some of the things that Jannie did or didnt do, only he knows for sure, and even then, there are things I cannot remember clearly, and I am sure he will not either.
This was an accident that did not need to happen. As Glenn Wallace points out, we were not going to make up 10 minutes, effectively the fight for the rally lead was over and not within reach by the time we started up again.

It was an accident that resulted in injuries that need not have occurred. If we had both been fully belted in, with all gear in place, we would have both walked away little worse for wear, and discused it together over a beer that night.

So, what went wrong? We were leading the event, third run over Princeton Cutoff. Notes were good, Janie had driven exactly to the plan all day, well within himself, and had not put a wheel wrong. 6k into the stage, the car started to 'drag' at the back, Jannie thought we had lost a wheel. We pushed forward looking for somwhere to pull off - there werent many options - which becam an issue later. Then the car simply snapped right, stopped and would not move. We had come round a R4 behind some trees, over a crest and into a L5. We were parked half on and half off the road, over effectively a fast blind crest. I went back with the triangles and 'OK' sign, and stood on the crest. Several following competitors confirmed that if we had not done this, they would have hit us.

After about 10 cars had gone by, Jannie had found the problem (stone in the right rear caliper) and fixed it, so we were able to go. I took the triangle back to the car - and we were both conscious that we had to move the car from where we were or car 12 would have run into us. I put my helmet on, Jannie had his on. His came off in the subsequent roll, so whether it was done up, or whether Jannie had thought he had it done up but had missed the 'catch' on the way back through (I have done this before, and with a Peltor where the strap velcros back on itself, it is not immediately apparent) I dont know. We hopped in the car. I put on my lap belts, and I am sure I saw Jannie put his on. Again, in hindsight, I cant 100% confirm this, but in my view it was his still trying to connect in shoulder harnesses as we moved down the road that in part caused us to go off. Makes me think the lap was on. If so, it is was not fully 'clicked' in, because it certainly flew open in the accident.

We went about 250-300m down the road from where we had stopped, went into a R3+ too fast. There was a 10 foot drop from the road into a sloping paddock, we went over and rolled three times. I remember concentratng on keeping my arms inside the car, and wondering how many more times it would roll, or what we would hit next. I was asked by a range of people if I was frightened, the answer is no, you simply dont have time for it. What did frighten me was that when we stopped, I looked around to check if Jannie was ok, and he wasnt there. A very freaky feeling.

I got out, and found Jannie about 20 metres from the car. His helmet was another 5 metres away. He was conscious and groaning, and said he was hurt and needed help. I went back to the car and got the red cross, then flagged down the next car, and the process went from there. As everyone is aware, I essentially walked away with little more than some neck stiffness. Janie was both not so lucky, and extremely, extremely lucky. He has a range of injuries, but it could easily have been so much worse.

So, were we dumb? Yep, in many ways. Neither of us are novices, both of us know better than to be in the car on a stage not fully geared up and belted in. We were 10 mins down, so another 30 seconds would have made little difference. We both should have acknowledged this, and simply made sure that we took the time to adjust before we got going. We didnt.

Equally, can I rationalise what happened? Yep. We were over a blind crest, and if we hadnt moved, the next car would have plowed into us. The nature of the stage was that there was precious little room to pull over anywhere safely (not saying that we couldnt have done so, but it was not that readily apparent) And yes, we just wanted to get going. Does it excuse us? No way.

So what are the lessons you can take from our experience? As has already been pointed out, you dont have to look far to see others who do what we did - start at WRC level and work down to people you know who have done it, perhaps even you. The lesson from our experience is DONT! At the end of the day, there will be more events. Cars are rebuildable and replaceable. You are not. Your family and friends cannot replace you. Think about it.

Other lessons.
- There are two in the car. You are both responsible. There is a kill switch if one wont listen.
- I raised an eyebrow at the requirement in Canada for compulsory First Aid certificate (which I have, but had not seen it mandated before). The fact that everyone at the scene knew First Aid probably saved Jannie from more significant injury, and made us effective when St Johns and then the ambulance arived.
- Check restraints. A number of items came loose in the car - including a heavy fire extinguisher and box of small parts. Either could have caused a very nasty injury even if we had both stayed in the car. Both spare wheels were ejected. Have a look at your car - our solid tug at these things during scrutineering is not representative of the forces in a rollover.


I hope that this gives everyone a very clear picture of what happened and why. I know that Jannie and his family are supportive of me sharing this - like me they want all those that were at the event, and all those who read this to take the lesson to heart, and keep it in mind when you are faced with the same situation. Make some different decisions to the ones we did.

Lastly, as I did on Saturday night, let me just thank the rallying community. It is a wonderful group, it is one of the reasons I love this sport and it it the same around the world at all levels. To my fellow competitors who stopped to help, bringing fire extinguishers, water, picking up our gear which was strewn around. The St Johns representative was fantastic, the organisers and stewards the same. And to those who caught up with me on Saturday night, or have since touched base with me to talk about it, to express their concern, to show their care, you are what makes this sport what it is. I know Jannie (and Janusz senior) would join with me in saying thank you for your support.

Both Jannie and I will be very open about what happened, it may be a few weeks or so before he can take a call, but after that I know he will be delighted to do so. I am also happy to discuss it, answer questions or whatever if it adds value and helps share the learning experience. Dont hesitate to contact me.

We both look forward to being back 'Doin it sideways in the dirt' with you in the near future.

Scott

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303 693 0803 (H)


Scott B
 

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Thank you, Scott, for your detailed account.

I would like to express again the best wishes of the Mountain Trials organizing group and all of the volunteers for Janusz's speedy recovery, and thank everyone who worked hard stabilizing him, treating his injuries on site, and getting him prepared for transport to the hospital. We all know how much worse it could have been.

Paul Westwick
Clerk of the course, Mountain Trials
 

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Scott-

Thank you for sharing. I am glad that you both are (relatively) OK.

Many of us have done things we later regret. I know that I have more than once taken off without being fully belted in, and you had the decision of being in a poor location and having to move the car or risk getting hit.

press on,
 

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WOW! I didnt know about this:( I hope he gets a speedy recovery! Janusz and you are both really great guys and awsome competitors.................. I am really glad that both of you are going to be ok!












Chris Rhodes
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>How was the driver ejected from the car? Did the door leave
>the vehicle?

The window on an eclipse is surprisingly large. I got in and out of the car through the window a number of times, and I'm six two. Given the right dynamic, I can see someone going out the window quite easily.

Dennis Martin
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I'm GLAD everyone's ok! (my definition of "ok" means "not dead")
I hope you guys can get back in a car soon, but be sure that you're both REALLY ready. Because PTSD really, really sucks!
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
As far as we can tell, Jannie went out through his window. Both doors were still on the car, mine certainly came open, Jannies was closed when we came to a stop, and still opens and shuts, making us think that it probably stayed shut in the roll.
 

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Maybe it's time to require window nets for all cars? Of course, the issue returns... the nets are no good if not reattached before leaving.
 

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I like the idea of requiring first aide certificates. I don't mean that people need to be EMT's, but what you don't know can hurt someone. Stage captains, radios,etc. I'm thinking a First Responders type of set up. What do you think? Liability issues prevent this? I simply suggest this for the pondering.
 

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>I like the idea of requiring first aide certificates. I
>don't mean that people need to be EMT's, but what you don't
>know can hurt someone. Stage captains, radios,etc. I'm
>thinking a First Responders type of set up. What do you
>think? Liability issues prevent this? I simply suggest this
>for the pondering.


Everyone already has basic rescuer from Red Cross or similar....
 

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>Maybe it's time to require window nets for all cars? Of
>course, the issue returns... the nets are no good if not
>reattached before leaving.
 

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Look at the statistics. It is almost never better to be "thrown clear", and no one in his right mind would wish it. Jannie was incredibly lucky he didn't:

1) hit a tree
2) hit a rock
3) become impaled on a stump
4) have the car roll over him
5) a hundred other things

Nothing he might have contacted while confined to the vehicle carried the potential for serious injury(unto death) that awaited outside.
 

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>Look at the statistics. It is almost never better to be
>"thrown clear", and no one in his right mind would wish it.
>Jannie was incredibly lucky he didn't:
>
>1) hit a tree
>2) hit a rock
>3) become impaled on a stump
>4) have the car roll over him
>5) a hundred other things
>
>Nothing he might have contacted while confined to the
>vehicle carried the potential for serious injury(unto death)
>that awaited outside.

Yea but this is a rally car its not a typical car .................. Look whats inside it ..........mass of metal bars ......sharp objects...... with no seat belt you would be rolling around in the car with all of that.......
 

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>Jannie was incredibly lucky he didn't:
>1) hit a tree
>2) hit a rock
>3) become impaled on a stump
>4) have the car roll over him
>5) a hundred other things

I think that we are almost certain that the car DID roll over him. and I would be shocked if he didn't hit a rock.

Perhaps we should be a bit clearer on something. While we say that Janusz is doing well and that he is OK ... he wasn't even CLOSE to walking away from this accident. His recovery time will not be measured in days, maybe not even in months.
When we say that Janusz is OK ... we mean that he is alive and responsive.

That said, the discussion about it being better to be ejected vs being kept in the car is absurd enough to make me FURIOUS.
Don't you GET IT!!!!!!!!!!!
Scott was PARTIALLY belted in and walked away with minor injuries!!!

TexRex mentions sharp objects in the rally car ... I think if you check your rules (I may be wrong) it says that you CAN'T have sharp edges in the car ... (a good prep would remove these anyway) and the roll cage MUST be padded where you could (normally) come into contact with it (CARS rules anyway)

Not that anyone will follow this ... I'd suggest, and will make it practice from this point forward, that the triangle is not removed until the driver is in the car, COMPLETELY belted and the car has been started. Even as a co-driver, if the driver is secure in the car, I can deal with belting at slow speed until we can pull off in a better spot ... **if the driver is in control of the car.**
 

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>See discussion in another thread. Good luck doing it in the
>US without getting sued.

I'm not a lawyer, but I suspect that if you add something into the waiver, that'd cover people gioving first aid, and I would also expect that if being trained in and giving first aid is a requirement of competitors that the event insurance would cover any action taken against the first aider.
 
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