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· Registered
62 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I feel it is worth my time to describe our incident on SS10. I can only hope that this story will help to show the importance of proper triangle placement...

We were screaming along at the beginning of SS10 trying to solidify our 2nd place in class. A fast section lead us to a R4 into 3L. It is amazing how fast it can all go wrong. I wasn't really sure what had happened until I viewed my in-car tape on the way home last night. We were FULLY committed to the R4 with the plan of snapping it into the L3. As we hit the apex of the R4 there was a spectator(?) on the right holding an OK sign and one triangle. I lifted, hesitated, and then saw the yellow car off on the outside of the L3. The lift and the hesitation meant my timing was wrong for the line I was originally committed to, but I had to do something. I snapped it to the left anyway and just STOOD ON IT in an attempt to dig away from the yellow car. Unfortunately, the 32 mm pin hole that we breath through made sure that we didn't have the power to dig fast enough. We impacted the yellow car's LR corner with Adrian's door smack dab in the middle. The weakest vertical surface on any car. The drivers of the yellow car stood up, their eyes as big as can be. That was the good news, because they were on the other side of the car, digging out.

With the other crew apparently OK, we restarted, put it in first and continued. Adrian noticed that the door cross bars on his side were cracked so we finished it out at a moderate speed.

This was the second time through this piece of road. The first time through, another car had gone off in a similar manner to the yellow car. The L3 was very loose. The section leading to the R4 was very fast. We are required to carry 3 triangles. Each "off" is different but the placement of triangles must be done with the safety of everyone in mind and not in the interest in getting the car out as fast as possible.

In hindsight, the first triangle should have been on driver's right about 50 before the R4. The second triangle should have been on driver's right at the turn-in point of the R4. The third triangle should have been about 10 before the car. The OK sign should have been on the rear of the car.

What could have happened? The crew of the yellow car could have been crushed. Adrian's side of the car could have collapsed.

If we are going to loose second in class, I want to make sure it is worth it and we all learn something from this near disaster.

Bruce Perry
Adrian Wintle
#992 PGT/P4 Talon

PS. We learned a little something about cage construction as well. The welds did NOT break. The door protection in my cage consists of a horizontal sill bar, a continuous diagonal cross bar and a non-continuous cross bar to form an X in the door openning. The impact was centered about 3 inches above the center of the X. The CONTINUOUS diagonal bar failed, not the welded, non-continuous bar welds. The "heat affected zone" next to the welds failed in tension. The cage did it's job admirable, however, there is an improvement that I will make before the next event. All welded joints in that area of the car that would see a tensile load will be covered by a gusset/plate that will increase the tensile strength of that joint. While the X design looks good, the reality of it is that the very center of the X is only one tube with a heat affected zone almost all the way around it! NOT GOOD ENOUGH!!!

· Registered
277 Posts
Hi Bruce. The last few seasons have been rough on some folks
due to triangle errors. I myself have guided drivers to what
I THOUGHT was the correct side of the road only to
see the car on the opposite side. sigh Even the top
several teams have been at fault in the last year.

I'm waiting for a bad accident before folks wake up and
start getting penalized by sweep and charged like the rules
state. Everyones safety is affected by this issue.


· Registered
168 Posts
A good lesson for everyone, hopefully people will learn from this.

I have a question (concern) about your cage. Is it made of 4130 tube? If so and you had this crack (typical for improperly normalized 4130 work) then you might have many other places that are likewise weak. It would be pretty rare for mild steel to fail like this and is a very good argument for using it, not just anyone can properly build with 4130.

Bradney A. Boli
Over Exposure Racing
Honda Accord #311

· Registered
419 Posts
Hey Bruce -

I hope the incident report you filled out detailed the lack of triangle placement. I believe it's important that these types of issues are documented.

I've gotten to the point where I don't trust the triangles that are out there. Sometimes they are on the wrong side of the road, and other times there is only one. I usually tell Jon to slow down considerably when I see triangles. (OK, mostly because someone better than us went off there, so it must be a tricky corner...)

This isn't the first time triangles have been an issue and it's not the last time. I'm not sure how easy it is to create and enforce rules and penalties surrounding triangles, but if we could figure out something, that would be great.

But you also have to ask yourself...what if that team had just finished extracting themselves, had picked up their triangles, and were just about to continue on the stage? Could a similar accident take place?

Glad you and Adrian are OK. That's what matters the most.

· Registered
362 Posts
Just my $.02

This situation:

"what if that team had just finished extracting themselves, had picked up their triangles, and were just about to continue on the stage? Could a similar accident take place?"

could happen and probably does. My opinion is if you extract your car you should move it to a place that is out of harms way (I know this is tough on a stage and a matter of opinion) before picking up triangles. I.E.: If you're on a corner you move farther down the stage staying as far off the road as possible to give the oncoming cars extra time. IF possible you move down onto a straight area (again...not many of these on stages) Then you would pick up the triangle furthest from you first and so on working back toward the car. Hopefully this would give adequate time to pick up triangles and warn others.

Is this out of line? Am I missing something here?


· Registered
62 Posts
Discussion Starter · #6 ·
It would be pretty
>rare for mild steel to fail like this and is a very good
>argument for using it
>Bradney A. Boli
>Over Exposure Racing
>Honda Accord #311

The cage is mild steel. The key to the cracking is the HAZ (Heat Affected Zone) that is between the actual weld and the unaffected steel. This is the weakest point of a weld joint. I did not realize that my X design had a plane with only one tube that was almost totally HAZ!

Bruce Perry
#992 PGT/P4 Talon

· Registered
343 Posts
As for the cage tube failing,people should try and find pics of McCrae's WRC Focus from Corsica last year? The accident where he hurt his hand. There was a shot showing that the x-bars in his cage also "ripped". Not sure if it was at a weld HAZ but that T45 steel sure looked thin to me.......light, yes. Strong.....hmmmmm. That's why the T45 homologated cages require double roll hoops, etc.

I am not going to debate T45 / Chromoly / mild steel as that's part of my job everyday. Just stating a point about T45.


· Registered
101 Posts
Regarding moving the car once extracted and then picking up the triangles:

My brother Matt and I had an interesting incident on a Washington rally once: the car in front of us was an older Saab. We were in our Toyota Corolla; neither of these cars are very small! :) We were flying down the stage, coming up on a narrow s-curve with a railroad track running through it. We came around the first part, a blind 90-ish right, to see the Saab sitting on the side of the road at the apex. Maybe not the best place to be, and there were no triangles, which freaked us out a little. Considering that our car was completely sideways and aiming for the Saab, I wasn't sure if we were going to miss it or hit it hard. Amazingly, we slid backwards into the ditch (while still continuing forward) just enough to barely squeak by them, our nose to the driver's door. I didn't see any facial expressions, although we were close enough to see each other! Just past the front end of their car we hopped back onto the road and kept going. They caught us later, and we let them pass, so that was all fine.

Later we ran into them (not literally!) and they asked us to please put a matching black streak on the other side; turns out our black bumper rubbed its paint off on their door, but didn't do any damage at all. Also turns out that they had just got back in the car and were ready to go when we came around the corner; all of us were lucky that the driver had just closed his door! :)

Moral of the story is: the person you see could have just gotten back in his car and was about ready to get going again, that's why no triangle. :)

:) The in-car, by the way, was fantastic. Me yelling "car! car!" Matt yelling (expletive deleted, this is a family show), then me asking, "did we hit?" and Matt saying "no!" and then me saying "go! go!" :) Exciting! :)


· Registered
249 Posts
Sweep comments

Hi Bruce
I rode in Fast sweep at MFR and have a few comments reguarding the triangle placement.

To first comment on your situation. When we arived at the start of stage 10, the drivers had walked most of the way back to start.
We picked them up and drove on down the stage.
when we came to the corner I noticed that the first triangle was on the right side of the road, laying flat ( not standing up ).
this corner was basicly a 90 right into a 90 left.
the first triangle I saw, that was flat on the ground was after the 90 right, well into the corner. And in my opinion, way to late.
So just to verify your experiance, the placement was bad.
and the triangle was knocked down, probably by flying rocks.
Which is another whole problem. But either way, when we first swept the stage as stage 7, the car that had gone off at the same spot had placed the triangles in a way to let everyone know..
and nobody hit him.

I should have made notes, because I knew this was going to come up.
There were a few teams that did a great job at triangle placement.
And I would like to point them out and thank them.
But I have to say that there were more, that did a pore job, than those that gave plenty of warning.
We were traveling the stage at a much slower speed, than all of you.
And felt that we had little time to react to a stopped car on course.

The other part of this is the type of triangles used and the modifications made to them.
At STPR last year this came up many times. Where competitors are taking out the weighted material out of the triange.
Thus making it unstable. And easyly knocked down by a fast moving car or flying gravel.
I also work Tech, and saw most everyones triangles.
The weight in the triangle does not weigh that much, and should not make a difference in the performance of your rally car.
The rulebook says that each car must cary at least 3 DOT legal triangles. In conversations with Licenced Tech inspectors, the popular triangle with the black plastic housing to hold the weight, is the best option. BUT it is only any good with the weight.
I saw many crapy triangles different from the ones described above.
Triangles that I cannot even imagine how they would stand up on pavement. Never mind along side a rally stage.

After STPR-01 I was told that SCCA was going to enforce the traingle rule due to all the incidents related to poor triangles.
But to add fuel to the SCCA fire, We were told by Doug Robinson to not worry about triangles and let anything go through.
So I checked the triangles anyway and gave the teams that had crappy triangles a hard time about them.. (though it amounted to nothing).

Anyway, we could argue about the proper placement of triangles and make a bunch of rules to follow.
But to me that is just a waste of time.
I believe we just need to use our heads, and actually give a crap about the competitor who is coming through the wods a t 60 mph and give them plenty of good warning of what is ahead.


· Registered
1 Posts
I feel compelled to reply to the triangle placement/hit car issue that occurred on SS10 at the Maine Forest Rally. I was the co-driver for the yellow car that gave tree hugging a new meaning.
From reading your post I cannot help but infer that you think that the triangle placement caused your off, please correct me if I'm wrong. In my opinion you weren't totally committed, you were over committed and never,and I mean never would have made the corner. It was a tricky corner for other teams as well. The Speed channel cameraman and his assistant witnessed the incident and commented on this also.
Could have our triangle placement been better, sure it could have. But please don't think that it caused the incident. We were off the road and not in the way.
Also, were you sure that everyone was OK? I don't remember being asked. All I remember is you putting it in gear and taking off, apparently unconcerned.
You can assign blame to whomever you wish for what happened. Regardless of our car being there you were going off on that corner.
I speak for myself only and don't want to cause any friction among the rally community. I just felt obligated to give my version of the incident.
Jeff Call

· Registered
81 Posts
Just an idea: would it be feasible to somehow attach identifying numbers to your triangles, like 1, 2, 3, and always place triangle 1 closest to the car and number 3 farthest, or some similar setup where if you only place one triangle (#1) whoever comes knows the car is right after it, while if #3 is seen first he'd know the car is further down? It'd also help if some triangles are knocked off the road.

I realize attaching numbers might be hard, so maybe some other scheme would work, like painting three/two/one white lines on every side of the trianle?

· Left seat and not British!
792 Posts
Being basically 'old' and remembering how we used to do it in the 'old' days, how strong was the argument that outlawed flares? I know that in tinder dry conditions, flares would be dumb, but they have a lot of pluses. First, at night, you can see the glow before approaching a blind situation. Second, they eventually go out (so if you extracted, latter cars would not be so affected...if you stayed put you lit another). Third, they are clearly visible in daylight at least as well as triangles).

Why not use flares or triangles on a case-by-case basis. For example, I can't imagine Sno*Drift being too dry. Obviously an event in Colorado this year would stick with triangles.

Just some thoughts.

Kim DeMotte
Official Old Fart, etc.

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109 Posts
how about 3 triangles and a red flashing light in each car.
1 car stops on stage
2 flip on red flashing light-put on roof
3 set out triangles
4 fix problem
5 get triangles and return to car.
6 get in car and get moving
7 turn off flashing red light.
This would solve somewhat the problem of the time when the triangles are not out but the car is stopped on or near the stage road.
It would hopefully add some protection while you picked up the triangles which may be spread out over a 100 yard area.
Also do you put out your triangles if you have a minor stuck and the co-driver is pushing the car.
The lights would definately help at night.

· straight at T
2,516 Posts
>Can you post a pic or two of your door area? I'd rather
>learn from your mistakes than mine! :)
>Dennis Martin


I don't have a pic, but I have a couple of comments.

1. The impact provided a point load on the center of the door X, and despite the cracking, it held up pretty well. A plate gusset on the X would probably have prevented any cracking, although the X would probably still have been scrap.

2. The fact that, as a PGT car, we had the inner door panels meant that there were no sharp edges to cut me. While I am in favor of letting P/PGT cars remove most of the interior, retaining the door panels (like Group N) makes a lot of sense. Some form of inner panel makes sense on any car.

3. The center of the X was below the level of the side of the seat. This meant that the seat absorbed and spread the load of the impact. This is probably the main reason I didn't get more than a couple of small bruises.

4. DO NOT carry anything in your suit pockets (at least the ones on the outboard side). I got a small bruise from the shorts I was wearing under the suit, from the thicker area where two seams came together. Had I put a pen in that pocket (as I sometimes do unintentionally), it could have been much more painful.

5. Some cars I've ridden in are built in a way that the codriver's arm naturally slips into the gap between the seat and the cage. If your car is like this, I'd suggest some form of gap filling to prevent this from happening.

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