Have we heard anything about the 100AW accident investigation? I am curious because I am soon to be installing my cage and would like to have any up to date info regarding areas they might have seen that can be improved.
Rumors of the crash are that the cage was designed to the letter of the rule book and did a pretty good job. It could have been done better and any experianced cage builder should know what to do to make it stronger.
Keep your plates where tubing attaches to the chassis as large as possible to distribute the load, try to have the plates cross over structural areas of the chassis rather than just on thin skin or sheeting, don't skimp on gusseting, keep all bends smooth and kink free, tie the cage in to the chassis in as many places as is possible/practical, make sure welds are thorough and of high quality and continue all the way around the tubes.
Remember the rule book is a MINIMUM requirement. Do you only want to do the absolute MINIMUM that you can to save your life?
Bradney A. Boli
Over Exposure Racing
Honda Accord #311
You're not causing any sort of ruckus by asking; it's a good question. You might email to Eric Burmeister or Carlos Lopez; they were at the scene, although they might not have had the chance to really look at the car from an analytical view, while working to save 2 lives.
I heard that the car was really torn up; I can only speculate that more cage could have kept the car more intact....but sometimes a harder hit in a stiffer "container" can do more damage to the "contents". I think the biggest factor here was some luck (not hitting in the wrong place, not being 5 mph faster, etc.), and you should just build a cage above minimums that will do the best job within reason, and do the good quality things that Bradney lists. There are wrecks where the best cage would not have helped (Sawmill, Wolff/Whittaker, e.g.) :-(
If there is anything specific that comes from this that could have been improved by a cage change, we will see it in a rules change. But, I would say don't hold off your work now, as I am not expecting any minor direction changes from this accident alone, like the cage gusset requirment after STPR a few years back. (This is just my personal guess.)
I have not heard any hints or rumors of safety deivce failure on this incident; it appears to be a case of going off at high speed and immediately encountering trees. I suspect that the only cage design that would have changed this outcome significantly would be a radically different one from what is allowed now; a lot of us would be in the same boat of complete cage change out to achieve that big a difference. And if it would still not achieve a great survival rate improvement for this hard a hit, one would have to doubt that this radical a change would be justified.
The rumors are incorrect. Go back and re-read Eric Burmeister's and others' comments on the old forum about the strength of this cage and its construction. It was more than just a basic cage. If it had been, the outcome might have been different.
It looked to me like the cage held up very well considering the severity of the impact. (The car was at one of the motels the next morning and examined/seen by numerous people.)
As was previously said, don't build a minimum cage.
The cage for my next rally car, an EVO-7, will be built by a sprint car mfg. that I know that builds a cage of his own design called "the starfighter" here in Tampa. He is a structural engineer (I understand) and his reputation in this field preceeds him. I have seen cars that have come to his shop after MAJOR crashes and it is impressive to see how ,after seeing about 6 or 7 of those cars, and listening to the story told by the actual driver, the cage held the majority of it's shape and the rest of the car can be put into a can of tomato soup, literaly speaking, of course. I honestly think that cage-building should be left to the professionals and not something that should be done by those of us with limited knowledge in the field. After all, it is only your LIFE and your co-driver's that we are talking about, right? I only wish I would have known him when I had the cage on the Talon built.
If you wish to talk to this guy, and I suggest you do, his name is Dennis Abbey. He is the owner of Performance Engineering Precision here in Tampa, and his number is (813) 620-4293. Get ready to listen to him closely, because after talking to him for 2 or 3 minutes you will realize that he REALLY knows cage-building. He has been he topic of several articles in sprint car magazines. Or come on down, since you are here in the state, and I will take you to his shop. He likes to have racers hang around him ( and they do) while he builds a cage. It is worth the trip.
Thanks for the input. My main concern was the possibility of a rules change resulting from something learned at 100AW. I did not want to reintroduce the "SCCA Evil Empire-withholding informantion" debate because of asking though. Personally I think, for my car anyway, the cage is THE single most important part of the car. In my mind, everything else is secondary. I want to live to be a gravel geezer too.
I might pop down there and see him. What is the rough cost of his cage?
Thanks for the info, observations and correction George. Would you think that since this above-minimum cage held up better than a minimum cage, that some rules changes migth result? Just looking for opinions, not trying to put anyone on the spot.
I wish you well in this aspiration! Just keep in mind that there is another way to approach this that has even better odds of helping you reach an old age than a super cage: don't go 100% all this time. If you are not a Pro, climbing 1 or 2 more spots in an events final standings is not really worth the risk of injury that the extra speed might entail. Remember, we had no fatalities (that I can remember) when all we ran with was roll bars. Why? Slower cars, slower speeds, and no visions of WRC Speedvision programs in our heads to give us any idea of how fast we were really supposed to go!
If the NTSB were to write a report on this accident, it would probably read something like:
"Accident was caused by driver losing control, due to initial impact with tree on road edge, which caused subsequent impact with more trees. A contibuting factor was excessive speed."
I might not have the sequence of this event entirely correct, but I think any open assessment of this points at a driving error, and excess speed. (Now I hope I haven't caused a ruckus myself by saying the above, espceially for the fellows in the wreck. I'll apologize in advance if I have.)
And I dno't think you have to worry about any evil-empire information problem in safety areas; my observations (albeit limited) are that anything learned from such an incident gets put out pretty quickly.
I agree with you, Mark. My best advice to anyone trying to enter this sport is: "DON'T OVERDRIVE YOUR SKILLS!" For rallying, the golden rule is: In order to win you have to finish!
Brian : I think it all depends on how much cage you want and the ammount of work it will take him to install it. Better you talk to him about it, but tell him I sent you since he is one of my sponsors.
Brian, Carlos, et al, I don't want ot cause a ruckus but......
everytime I see people from unrelated areas of exprtise make extrapolations into other areas I see huge chances of error,
Sprint Cars and other forms of racing which use essentially all tube structures AND THEIR DESIGNERS have other concerns, rules, and traditions than we do as rally drivers.
The ability of modern post GpB steel bodied production based cars to live during use and survive as cars and even continue after big crashes is no accident. It is a result of RALLY car teams realising over the years the importance of INTERGRATING the strengthed, welded stell BODYSHELL and the CAGE together, making a structure far stronger than either alone.
So if guys who typically just hang panels on as decoration will Listen and look at photos of modern RALLY cars, then they can be of service. And if they DON*T weld those dumb little 'gussets' in areas calculated to weaken joints would be nice, but their rule mandate them.
Brian, there are plenty of photos of what a cage needs to be for what we are doing, but remember it is a balance between saftey and sensibility, both in construction of the cage and shell and in the using of the car. You'll never be able to make a 1000% safe car.
I would be very wary of any non-rally related info, design, ideas period. Specific is best.
By no means did I intend to infer that a sprint car type roll cage was the way to go. I have been involved in rallying on and off since 1973 and if there is one thing I have learned is that our sport is very unique and, in as much, it requires a special approach to preparing a rally car in order to win. This gentelman that I was talking about has built race cars of ALL types and therefore has vast knowledge of race car engineering. I was merely giving an example of how his knowledge in a specific field has made him successful and, believe me, I am not easily impressed, but he has certainly done that. I still think Brian can learn a lot from him and perhaps help him make an educated decission when he is ready to build his cage.
NASCAR type ultra stiff cages are good for holding up. Too bad a driver won't have a change....his brain is scrambled egg inside the scull, like we saw 3 times last year(3 dead).
- The best cage is the one you MUST discard after an accident. It should crumble as must as possible but save the crew.
- No cage will help when rules are: NO STUDS and yet you're going 120MPH on icy roads without steering nor braking power....More dead/insured are on the cards with these lunatic rules.
I agree. One of the functions of a good roll cage, other than attempting to maintain the integrity of the passenger compartment, is to absorb the energy created by the impact. I dont think any of us would be so foolish as to repair and reuse cages that have been in a crash where the integrity of the cage might have been compromised. We can all benefit from technological developments that have been created in other types of motorsports (i.e. HANS device) and I am sure that if something got developed for NASCAR that would enhance and/or improve roll cage manufacturing, it would find it's way into rallying one way or another.