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Discussion Starter #1
Fatal accident at Western Australian Rally
October 27, 2003

A competitor was killed and three other people seriously injured during a round of the Western Australian Rally Championship, near Harvey, some 300km south of Perth on 26th October.

Unconfirmed local reports suggested that two competing cars had collided head on after a number of competing cars had taken a wrong turning which brought them back onto the route in the wrong direction.

The Confederation of Australian Motor Sport (CAMS) will establish a tribunal to investigate the incident. In the meantime, CAMS and event officials are working with the relevant civil authorities which are investigating the circumstances of the accident.


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Have they released any names yet?

(answered my own question, checked smh, ninemsn and the west australian, they have not released any names)
 

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This should be on 'World' forum, not USA??

Except that the report I read said the way the car got off of SS2 and on to SS1 was via a missing piece of banner guard or in the report 'bunting' which was the sole blocking on a short section which linked the two stages and we just had a similar incident with the Lithuanian guys at Oregon.
It is only thru sheer dumb luck of the driver 'guessing' the right way that we didn't have a similar horrible fiasco as the one in OZ.
And reporting theirs and bringing up the connection is only worthwhile if we can get an answer if we here have figured out a way to affordably block connecting spurs and prevent these kind of pointless tragedies.

Was there any solutions ever arrived at?

I have suggested pair of plastic trash barrels 20 yards up the spur with the universal sign/ thru a O for 'no entrance'.
Cheap, stackable in a pick up, and even visting foreigners and Californians who can't read might understand the road is closed if they encounted it.

Whaddya think and should this be moved to 'world'?

John Vanlandingham
Seattle, WA. 98168

Vive le Prole-le-ralliat

Black Rocket Rally Tires
http://www.blackrockettires.com/
 

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Discussion Starter #4
John:

Physical barriers should work, but more than likely a human being will be positioned at any connecting road - just like any access point on a stage.

Note: this has almost happended twice in the US - once out west and once out east.

I posted in the US forum because of its relevance to the community here - we got lucky and this is the sad and scary reality of the situation. (People like to down play the seriousness of these types of issues.)

Regards,
Mike
 

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Loose nut behind the wheel
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>Note: this has almost happended twice in the US - once out
>west and once out east.

Mike,

Correction on the number of occurances, once at Maine 2002, once at Oregon 2003 and again at Wild West 2003. Only once did the cars end up going head to head and thankfully, the rally gods put Jeff and I in the right place to help prevent tragedy (Maine 2002). The two times this year, the cars luckily ended up going rally direction.

This is a huge concern and MUST be addressed with every effort possible.

Mark Utecht
 

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Sounds like we need 1 marshal car to be placed somewhere on these roads that go from one stage to another. Some sort of bright barrels or signs wouldn't hurt either. I had always thought that any intersections were manned with marshals. If they weren't before, then they should be now! Not only to keep people off the course, but to keep cars ON the course!

How do these cars manage to go through bannertape anyway? And then to go on roads where the corners match nothing like what the routebook says. Plus, there are no tire tracks in the road/corners. I'm not in the car, so I can't answer. But these look like some obvious things to notice.

Pete
 

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RE: Tragedy in Australia

>I posted in the US forum because of its relevance to the
>community here - we got lucky and this is the sad and scary
>reality of the situation.
That's what I was thinking, too.


(People like to down play the
>seriousness of these types of issues.)
well having had a sorta head-on accident in the woods some years ago, with a friend at an informal 'play-day' _I_ don't play down the seriousness, fortuneately low speed and fast reflexes helped us both take the hit on the corner and nobody was injured, much ( 8) ) just a rally car and a Celica down the drain.
And 20 years in the woods on bikes I had about 3 head-ons or scrape by s and that is really scary, long term scary.

I think there might be some STRONG advisory words about some sort of real do-able examples of how to set up barriers so that should an organiser be short handed, or should trhe road-blocker persomn need to step into the bush to ease the pressure of all the beer he's been swiling, there is still the trash bin barrier up the spur.

This can't happen again.

Half the reason I ever entered rallies was the thought 'at least I can be 99.5% sure that we'll all be going the same way.
It's a pretty basic presumption.
We must be able to have this in our head.
>
>Regards,
>Mike





John Vanlandingham
Seattle, WA. 98168

Vive le Prole-le-ralliat

Black Rocket Rally Tires
http://www.blackrockettires.com/
 

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More details:

http://www.sundaytimes.news.com.au/common/story_page/0,7034,7680763%5E2761,00.html

Car rally head-on kills driver
By Anthony Pancia
27oct03

RACING authorities and police will investigate the cause of a fatal motor rally collision in the state's south-west, in which one man died and two others were airlifted to hospital on Saturday.

The head-on collision occurred at 3pm on an unsealed road near Harvey, 300km south of Perth. Racing authorities are unsure how competitors in one of the vehicles failed to realise they were travelling in the wrong direction.

Acting Inspector Greg Medhurst said 37-year-old Paul Victor Bazzica, of Bedfordale, died in the crash.

Bazzica was co-driver of a Toyota Sprinter that missed a turn in the 2003 Stirling Stages of the State Rally Championships, before rejoining the route travelling in the wrong direction.

The other vehicle involved was a Hyundai Lantra. Baz zica died at Harvey hospital. His wife was at the race site.

The driver of Bazzica's car and the co-driver of the other vehicle were airlifted to Royal Perth Hospital with head and chest injuries. The other driver was taken to Bunbury Regional Hospital.

Confederation of Australian Motorsport president Colin Osborne said it was an "extremely unusual occurrence" for competitors to travel along tracks in the wrong direction.

"At this stage we do not know why one vehicle was travelling in the opposite direction to another. It would appear one of the crews has left the course and somehow found its way through the forest back on to the track travelling in the wrong direction," Mr Osborne said.

He said competitors were issued with maps illustrating directions and the severity of oncoming corners, but he was unsure if drivers were able to conduct "reconnaissance" prior to the race.

He said race officials would have driven the course to ensure appropriate signage and buntings were in place.
 

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RE: Tragedy in Australia

As much as I'd like to think people are smart enough to realize they are off course, it's obvious that isn't the case.

With the incidents this year and last, I think the consensus is to post a body at anything that doesn't go immediately into a log landing or empty campground. It puts a pinch on our worker supply, but I don't think we can responsibly do anything else.

Water barrels are an option, but entail another logistical step that would have to be balanced against worker supply. We'll see how it goes next year. Barrels would indeed be the only option for stages with lots of interconnecting sideroads and limited worker turnout -- in extreme cases of low worker turnout, we'd be forced to transit the stage.

Of course, every sideroad with external access would need a live body. Barrels wouldn't cut it in that instance.

andy
 

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RE: Avoiding Tragedies

> Barrels would indeed be
>the only option for stages with lots of interconnecting
>sideroads and limited worker turnout -- in extreme cases of
>low worker turnout, we'd be forced to transit the stage.

There are many other, workable and low cost alternatives to help prevent banner tape (bunting) from being torn down and to help keep cars from going down the wrong path.

The easiest is to add a second banner tape 100' further down the incorrect road, but perhaps the most effective is to hang the second banner tape higher than the first (above the roof line of a typical rally car)and hang several streamers of banner tape down from it.

That way a car can pass under it, turn around and pass under it again to get back onto course, and not tear down the banner tape. I suggested this to the Oregon Rally Group for future rallies after the incident there. I believe that it would have helped the Wild West issue (although that instruction was SPECIFICALLY mentioned in the driver's meeting and no one should have gone very far off track there...)

No method is fool proof, but I believe this method could be enacted today with good results and little additional effort for road crews.

Pe
 

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RE: Tragedy in Australia

>With the incidents this year and last, I think the consensus
>is to post a body at anything that doesn't go immediately
>into a log landing or empty campground. It puts a pinch on
>our worker supply, but I don't think we can RESPONSIBLY do
>anything else.
>
>Of course, every sideroad with external access would need a
>live body. Barrels wouldn't cut it in that instance.
>

I re-iterate what Mark Said:

"This is a huge concern and MUST be addressed with every effort possible"

I'm not going to rant (too much), but all of us could have been in the same situation as the cars in Maine 2002 (two cars going flat out, headed towards each other, on stage)

. . . . THINK ABOUT IT . . . . "5L+ over crest"

I'd hate to think what could have happened if Mark and Jeff were
not there fixing a flat and flagging down the wrong direction car ...


:-(
 

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RE: Tragedy in Australia

And you'll notice that bannering and marshalling at Maine Forest were improved for 2003. Just because the organizers aren't bragging about it on Special Stage doesn't mean they're not noticing these things and working on them.

Bruce
 

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RE: Tragedy in Australia

>And you'll notice that bannering and marshalling at Maine
>Forest were improved for 2003. Just because the organizers
>aren't bragging about it on Special Stage doesn't mean
>they're not noticing these things and working on them.
>
>Bruce

Bruce is right, there was a significant and welcomed difference at Maine. However, this cannot be treated as an event specific problem as it happened TWICE AFTER the Maine example. I am not calling anyone out on the carpet and I do not want to just state it is a problem and not offer possible solutions.

That being said, I feel there should be a warm body and his/her vehicle parked conspicuously on any road that connects any stage road sections.

I also like the idea of banner tape mounted high enough that a rallycar can pass under it but have streamers of banner tape that would hang down to the normal eyeball level. This would be a great idea at all locations that are likely to have exuberant rally drivers take a wrong slot.

The idea of water or road barrels might help but I think it would be much easier to transport extra banner tape and do the elevated tape/streamers as proposed by Paul E.

Regardless of what may be our history of a thread denegrating, I feel this thread is helpful. Please help keep it that way as this is very important. Let's hear some other ideas!

Mark
 

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>What was the incident at WW?

A competitor took the wrong leg at a Y and that road short cut the course by some distance. Thankfully, the natural reentrance to the prescribed course sent them in rally direction.

Mark
 

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RE: Tragedy in Australia

I think Pe's idea is a good one. Cheap to implement and reasonably goofproof.

Dare I say it, something like this should go into the Rules For Organizers or whatever organizing standards document there is - not the specific implementation mechanism but that there be a "2nd line of defense" to alert cars going off course that they are off course...

Glenn
 

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RE: Tragedy in Australia

If Rally America was created to assist organizers, would it be worthwhile for them to pursue development and production of a standard junction tape banner as described above and implement its distribution to organizers? If that is contrary to their purpose, then this is one safety item I will gladly pay some additional entry fee for. Maybe instead of streamers that might blow up above eye level, hanging dayglo tennis balls bouncing off the windshield might get people?s attention (though it might trash high driving lights on tall vehicles). Is the barrier hung between poles when there are no trees nearby? Maybe each junction is too unique to pre-manufacture a barrier. Just brainstorming?

One question: In these situations, what is the role of the marshal stationed at a junction, other than replacing downed banner tape? A radio could only alert Control of an awful accident in the making, although if there?s a marshal at the other end of the road, I suppose he could be alerted and try to figure out how to stop the car without getting run over. I don?t think we want marshals jumping out in the road, and a marshal waving on the side might be ignored as a spectator. I recall a WRC event this year with many spectators along a distance of about .20 miles trying to warn a driver of a rollover in the road ahead. He must have thought they were just waving encouragement, because he plowed into the car anyway. Maybe I'm missing something obvious here, is there anything else a marshal could do?
 

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RE: Tragedy in Australia

>One question: In these situations, what is the role of the
>marshal stationed at a junction, other than replacing downed
>banner tape? A radio could only alert Control of an awful
>accident in the making, although if there?s a marshal at the
>other end of the road, I suppose he could be alerted and try
>to figure out how to stop the car without getting run over.
>I don?t think we want marshals jumping out in the road, and
>a marshal waving on the side might be ignored as a
>spectator. I recall a WRC event this year with many
>spectators along a distance of about .20 miles trying to
>warn a driver of a rollover in the road ahead. He must have
>thought they were just waving encouragement, because he
>plowed into the car anyway. Maybe I'm missing something
>obvious here, is there anything else a marshal could do?

I'd imagine a marshal's car would be setup across the road to keep vehicles from passing in either direction. If you've got a road where both ends of it open onto a hot stage, then 1 car parked across the road would make it impassible to any kind of vehicle (unlike bannertape).

Pete
 
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RE: Tragedy in Australia

>plowed into the car anyway. Maybe I'm missing something
>obvious here, is there anything else a marshal could do?

The idea of a "stop" sign comes to mind.

Issue Marshalls stop signs.

Now, off hand, there was an incident at LSPR of a marshall or some random with a red cross. So we'd have to be clear on what they are used for.

An off course car, presumably, wouldn't care what the signal was, but using a red cross obviously opens a can of worms, so a stop sign seems to be the logical choice.

Two crossed batons also means stop.
Is there anyone who has access to enough maps to determine how many of these interesections between two live stages have been used in US events?

If we had that information, we could more reasonably estimate the amount of extra manpower required to live marshall the intersections vs. designing some other type of moveable barrier or deciding that we need another radio point, etc.


My experience has been, in my relatively short life, that passive markers will always be falliable.

Do we have real information on the areas that were confused in the past?
 

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Just a thought -

On the events in the NW, there are instruction markers, correct? (Usually orange arrow on wood stake at key instruction points)

Would it make sense to put some sort of "Wrong Way" marker on the back side of these markers?

Not sure what the space between these markers would be on the average stage, and if that would be enough time for a wrong way car to encounter them.
There is also the issue of turnaround stages and how they would be handled (signage would be on the wrong side).

This is more of a secondary/tertiary thing - stopping cars before they get more than a few hundred feet off the course is the primary issue.

Rob
 
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