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Current Helmet Standards


TomoHawk

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What is the current helmet standard required for SCCA Solo I (for Autocross)?

According to the SCCA, these are the current helmet requirements:

SA95, M95, K98, SA2000, M2000, SA/K2005, or M2005, SFI 31.1A, 31.2A, 41.1A, and 41.2A (source: http://www.scca.com/documents/Solo%20Rules/SoloHelmetBulletin.pdf)

In general, you can use a helmet "meeting the current or two immediately

preceding Snell Foundation standards."

So I think that means you could use an SA2005 or SA200 helmet?

thxZ

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Tomohawk - The Canadian Auto Sports Club (CASC) http://www.casc.on.ca/ (similar to the SCCA) requires at minimum M2000 or newer helmets for cars not equipped with rollbars and slicks, and SA 2000, SFI 31.1A or 31.2A, or BSI equivalent for cars in the modified classes. These rules apply for both SoloI (high speed time trials) and SoloII (auto slalom) events.

GWGarrard

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Yeah, Solo II is what I'm primarily interested in, but I might do a hot-lap occasionally.

It looks like the Canadian requirements are similar to the U.S. ones. Still, what is the current standard for Snell? Snell is more familiar and available to me than SFI.

FYI- Snell has proposed a new standard for 2010, but that shouldn't concern anybody for a while.

thxZ

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  • 1 month later...

I'll feel much better once I say this...

Racers everywhere should openly protest the helmet standards.

Helmet ratings are deliberately designed to artificially make perfectly good helmets obsolete in order to force racers to buy new ones.

Helmet structural integrity does not break down for more than seven years after manufacture, and then only in the areas of glue (affixing trim, etc.), liner material, etc. The actual protective capacity of the helmet does not deteriorate with any reasonable amount of age.

Even Snell, which provides the safety rating on helmets, openly admits that "the recommendation for... helmet replacement is a judgment call."

In other words, there is no scientific, independent data whatsoever to indicate that a 4-7 year old racing helmet will provide anything other than the full protection that it was designed to provide. And even if it did, its your head inside the helmet, not theirs, and you are far more capable of making your own safety decisions than anyone else. Still, many sanctioning bodies are mandating new helmets every third year, and in some cases, every second year.

The helmet standards mandated by racing organizations are fabricated. They are an unabashed racket and a shameful scam that only adds to the financial burden born by low budget, weekend enthusiasts.

Every racer should openly and repeatedly protest them until they are repealed by your sanctioning body.

Wow. I really do feel better now. :)

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I think the requirements for getting a helmet depends on how many generations or design evolutions have occured between when you got your and what it is currently. You might have a helmet that's been in a nice box in the closet for 10 years and s still perfectly new, but it could be two or more generations behind in design & construction, so for your safety, you are required to have a helmet that is closer to the current, most protective, standard.

It's not about having you constantly spending money. If it was, then you'd be required to buy new tires, spark plugs, and any other consumables more often than practical.

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I think the requirements for getting a helmet depends on how many generations or design evolutions have occured between when you got your and what it is currently. You might have a helmet that's been in a nice box in the closet for 10 years and s still perfectly new, but it could be two or more generations behind in design & construction, so for your safety, you are required to have a helmet that is closer to the current, most protective, standard.

It's not about having you constantly spending money. If it was, then you'd be required to buy new tires, spark plugs, and any other consumables more often than practical.

You are kidding right, you don't really believe that do you??? What you need to do is follow the money and you'll see the reason we are constantly having to spend money replacing things that are working just fine, and it's not just helmets.

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I went through all this with cycling helmets and gear in the 70s and 80s. At first, cycling helmets were just like leather pilots headgear. Every other year the helmets got more aero, protective and safer. We didn't mind getting better ones because it's your brain hitting on the concrete when you spill, so you gotta decide for yourself of you want to be safe or dead.

We were spending money hand-over-fist like was mentioned already because every year, new lighter metals, better gearing, stronger components, tighter clothes, etc. would come out, and it was not cheap to keep up with the pros and get the weight & drag down.

Lance-

You're welcome to be on your side of the fence.

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Maybe it's just old age but I'm full of doubt anymore anytime someone tells me I need to replace something that is working "for my own good", be it the government or some other sanctioning body. Anytime I have to spend my money replacing something "for my own good", deep research typically shows that the money going out of my pocket is filling someone else's, showing that money spent "for my own good" really ends up being for someone else's own good...

Something that comes to mind is tires BTW, last I heard, "they" say you need to replace tires once they are 6 years old, worn out or not... sounds like another way to get us to spend our money... I know, I know, it's for my own good.....

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for your safety, you are required to have...

... the ability to make my own safety decisions. The notion that sanctioning body bureaucrats care more about me than I do is outrageous to the enth degree.

It's not about having you constantly spending money. If it was, then you'd be required to buy new tires, spark plugs, and any other consumables more often than practical.

You are. How many sanctioning bodies require that you buy only a certain brand of tire, and that you buy it from them or their approved distributor?

Any time someone begins a sentence with "For your safety" or ends a sentence with "Thank you for your cooperation," you can bet that whatever they said in between was none of their business.

Even the Snell foundation openly admits that their own ratings are a judgment call based on absolutely nothing. Zippo. Nada. Not a single, solitary shred of empirical data to demonstrate that a 6-year old helmet is incapable of doing the very same job that it was the day you bought it.

Let's not be gullible... the Snell rating and mandatory helmet buying racket is, indeed, a racket, a scam, a sham and a rip off. The only thing worse than the scam itself is that we, the victims, have been carefully conditioned to defend it.

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... Even the Snell foundation openly admits that their own ratings are a judgment call based on absolutely nothing. Zippo. Nada. Not a single, solitary shred of empirical data to demonstrate that a 6-year old helmet is incapable of doing the very same job that it was the day you bought it.
What's your source- you? When you make such a statement, you really need to cite your source.
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The source was named in the very sentence you quoted... "Even the Snell foundation openly admits that their own ratings are a judgment call based on absolutely nothing."

Just look at Snell's own web site. Go to http://www.smf.org/, then click on FAQs, then click "Why Should You Replace Your Helmet Every Five Years?" Their answer, in their own words, is merely based on an arbitrary guess. Snell says "the recommendation for five year helmet replacement is a judgment call."

Then look up Snell's testing procedures and you'll see that they test for retention, stability, penetration and flame resistance, but they have no testing, no data and no empirical evidence whatsoever to test a helmet's integral degradation due to age. Nothing.

Then go to "Research and Funding" and look for anything related to age degradation research by Snell. Guess what you find? Nothing.

These are not my words, they are Snell's. I encourage you to look for yourself.

We should not accept the arbitrary judgment call of sanctioning bodies, manufacturers and the institutions with whom they closely work without question. The helmet replacement mandates imposed by sanctioning bodies are a racket and a scam. They force low-budget racers to take money that they cannot spare and make redundant purchases to replace items that are still perfectly suitable for their purpose.

Racers should protest the helmet mandates of sanctioning bodies and stop accepting the word of institutions without question.

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We were spending money hand-over-fist like was mentioned already because every year, new lighter metals, better gearing, stronger components, tighter clothes, etc. would come out, and it was not cheap to keep up with the pros and get the weight & drag down.

Bicycling tights, shoes and "cup-o-soup" helmet on your head = money hand over fist? do they actually have tech inspections for this stuff?

Geez dude, wait till you get to the point of having to replace more than just a helmet, because of some judgment call. Get ready for the 3-layer drivers suit, SFI rated gloves, shoes, neck restraints, HANS devices, required suit patches, seat harnesses & belts, window nets, right-side driver nets, arm restraints, helmets.... and the list goes on! You can expect to pass out $2500 to $3500 getting suited up before the replacement costs start. If you don't trash your equipment and even doing a track event every month, these things will last for many years. And don't forget your required track fees will be from $150 to $500 per day depending on the event. Oh, and gas for track car, tow vehicle, food, hotel or RV fees. I agree with the protest or a judgment call should be made if it shows defects, parts missing, stressed, rips, or something coming apart. Or maybe the manufacture should allow upgrade or trade in dollars for their own equipment to be recalled or replaced if there is a real reason for it not to perform properly.

For the two of us to have the Z on track with a local club cost us approx. $500 to $700 per day, or $900 to $1200 per weekend. That's before you price in the broken part, oil, fluids, tires... BUT it's the best legal rush you can buy! Some small clubs fudge a on the equipment replacement dates... especially when there if nothing wrong with it, which is o.k. by me!

"ok I spoke, I feel better too"

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wait till you get to the point of having to replace more than just a helmet, because of some judgment call. Get ready for the 3-layer drivers suit, SFI rated gloves, shoes, neck restraints, HANS devices, required suit patches, seat harnesses & belts, window nets, right-side driver nets, arm restraints, helmets.... and the list goes on! You can expect to pass out $2500 to $3500 getting suited up before the replacement costs start. If you don't trash your equipment and even doing a track event every month, these things will last for many years. And don't forget your required track fees will be from $150 to $500 per day depending on the event. Oh, and gas for track car, tow vehicle, food, hotel or RV fees. I agree with the protest or a judgment call should be made if it shows defects, parts missing, stressed, rips, or something coming apart. Or maybe the manufacture should allow upgrade or trade in dollars for their own equipment to be recalled or replaced if there is a real reason for it not to perform properly.

For the two of us to have the Z on track with a local club cost us approx. $500 to $700 per day, or $900 to $1200 per weekend. That's before you price in the broken part, oil, fluids, tires... BUT it's the best legal rush you can buy! Some small clubs fudge a on the equipment replacement dates... especially when there if nothing wrong with it, which is o.k. by me!

"ok I spoke, I feel better too"

Yes, its expensive, I agree entirely. And after driving Busch and Rolex cars I understand completely the whole firesuit, harness, etc., thing.

But no matter what level you race at, budget is always a consideration. Blithely assuming that everyone can afford another $400-1500 helmet is arrogant... mandating that they buy one when they may not even need it is criminal.

Sanctioning bodies need to stop participating in the scam. They are aiding and abetting it and they should be held accountable. Mandating that someone needlessly spend $500 that they don't have is no better than breaking into their home and stealing it.

At least burglars are honest thieves.

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Chino,

IYou need to do some research into cycling before you make your conclusions. You apparently don't know enough about the equipment, and lifestyle, to comment about the costs of cycling racing, which IS very expensive.

Equipment, lifestyle, and research...LOL...ok, I'll do that, meanwhile over the years of family cycling .... had two Trek 720's, now a Trek 4500, a garage full of kids bikes, Hollywood racks, Regional Park yearly passes, magazines, books, gloves, suits, pumps, tires, GPS, topography maps, and the swag that goes with the sport. I "know" it can be expensive, but never demands of updating hardware. Just the case of "I wants" that makes biking expensive to me. But hey don't we all want a $4500 carbon-fiber frame.

it's the American style that we all buy into, gotta have more and be the fastest! and then the helmet becomes more trash for the landfills.

ROFL

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Not usually,

but we had an antique racer at the store that was valued at almost $18,000 back in 1983. I had the honour of building a set of wheels for it. My personal road bike cost more than I initially paid for my Z. OTOH, my fastest time-trial bike was made from an old Schwinn touring bike. It was a rainy day with nothing to do at the bike shop, and with all those go-fast parts laying around, so that thing was basically free.

You might be interested to know that the best racing bikes usually got for about $150 per LB. If a 280Z was that expensive it would cost about $400,000. Compare that to the megabuck F1 cars. so I think you could spend the $375,000 difference on helmets? :knockedou

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The Snell testing standards are revised about every five years with increases in the area of the head covered and tested as part of the 2005 SA revision. Most race sanctioning bodies allow the current and at least one past Snell rating to compete. If helmets are purchased in a timely manner, when the ratings are released, a racer can go 10 years before having to replace their helmet. That's what I have done since 1995 and I'm on my second SA rated helmet (2005 rating). So, I've spent $1025 on helmets since 1995 and, if I'm lucky, I should be good until 2015. Doesn't seem like a lot of money to me compared to what I spend on tires, brake pads, fuel, etc.

FYI... helmets should always be replaced if damaged in an accident.

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Doesn't seem like a lot of money to me

To some people its a fortune, to others its pocket change. But the point remains... mandatory helmet replacement is, by Snell's own admission, based on nothing. The delusion that helmet replacement makes us safer is a lie concocted to sell more helmets. And safety decisions should be left up to the driver.

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The delusion that helmet replacement makes us safer is a lie concocted to sell more helmets.

Did you read my post above?

Snell changes and improves its testing standards above every 5 years. The last revision increased the area around the lower part of the head/ helmet that's testing by the various impact anvils. Most of this is due to the mounting requirements of the HANS and other neck restraints to the helmet. A 2005 rated helmet is measurably safer then a 2000 rated helmet, especially if a head restraint is used by the driver.

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In frontal impacts, the new helmets can be safer if one discounts the additional weight added to the helmet which exaggerates the effect of forward spinal impact and puts additional pressure on the HANS device. Should the HANS device fail, the resulting injury can be even more serious than with the old helmets.

In rear impacts, the expanded area of new helmets will press against the cervical vertebrae of the upper spinal cord and act as a fulcrum, increasing forward pressure and again causing potential injury, especially for drivers who do not use the HANS device.

So yes, perhaps the new helmets are safer in many regards, and no, in many aspects perhaps they are not. The driver, who owns his head, neck and spinal cord, should be the one to weigh that decision and choose which risk he will accept.

But all that is really irrelevant because my original point remains - a five year old helmet is perfectly capable of doing the exact same job it was designed to do the moment it was purchased. It is preposterous to expect a helmet to do a job for which it was never designed. Did we outlaw 1978 Trans Am's because they don't have air bags? Of course not. Air bags didn't exist then. The idea is ludicrous. The car was designed for seat belt usage and if the seat belts are well maintained, they still deliver all the function and safety that they were designed to deliver when the car was new. If Trans Am drivers want additional safety features, they can go buy a new Volvo without you or I snooping around and trying to force them into it.

Further, if no massive, quantum leap advances in helmet technology are achieved in a given five year period, do you really think that Snell will say "Well, I guess everyone should just keep their old helmets?"

Baloney. We both know better. The helmet industry will still pressure sanctioning bodies to force their drivers to purchase new ones whether any major advancements were achieved or not.

From 1990-95, the advancement of helmet technology was largely in the field of aerodynamics for open wheel drivers to prevent helmets from being sucked off the driver's head at high speeds. This was not a safety element in any way, but did they lift their helmet replacement recommendations during that time period? No.

And remember, Snell isn't the enemy here. They openly admit that their recommendations are based on nothing more than an arbitrary judgment call. When we begin attempting to force those recommendations onto others... well... that's when we have problems.

Mandatory helmet replacement - not recommended, but mandatory replacement - is a racket and a scam, and rather than participate in it, driver's should oppose it. It is wrong. The reasons given for it are lies. Its purpose was, is and always will be to artificially boost helmet sales by outlawing helmets that are still perfectly capable of doing what they were originally designed to do.

BTW, the Z's on your home page are gorgeous beyond words. I wish mine was half as good looking (and fast looking) as the ones you worked on. The blue one is especially nice.

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