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Author Topic: Fatalities in LSR  (Read 41724 times)

Online RansomT

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Fatalities in LSR
« on: November 08, 2012, 08:46:59 AM »
I was a little hesitant to post anything else over on the other thread (out of respect), but I would like to continue the discussion here.

As Scott stated, there has been 5 fatalities in LSR since 2008 with no fatalities 50 years prior.  While actual speeds involved have not changed, something else has.

I was suited and in the staging lanes when 2 of those fatalities happened.  Plus, I had talked with Dave from Bonneville the morning of his fatal crash.  I have done some real soul searching and deep thought on what could be the common thread of all 3, and so far have come up with nothing.  One was his first LSR event, the other was his first mile event but had ran Bonneville, and one was as experienced as they come.

I still think that frequency of runs with ďfastĒ bikes is part of it, but I wasnít racing 50 years ago, so I donít know how today compares.

Safety equipment, I donít think so considering the pictures Iíve seen from Bonneville in the 60s.

Preparedness,  maybe?

Thoughts?
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Offline joea

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Re: Fatalities in LSR
« Reply #1 on: November 08, 2012, 10:15:11 AM »
Ransom etal...

many folks want answers on many levels...emotionally, analytically etc

I think its important to grasp that there are specific reasons for each mishap which may
or may not be linked to others..

I also think that this would need to be broken down analytically to get clearer picture before
broad strokes applied to the answers..

it may be very beneficial to also stratify data from other "mishaps" that resulted in injuries and not death..as the
difference in mechanism of injury that resulted in survivable trauma to that resulting in death is likely very small given the greatly variable manner in which a rider impacts things...

in 50 + yrs how many sit on bike riders died on the salt..?...right around 0 ..?
in 10 yrs how many sit on bike riders died on pavement...?...
how many were decelerating .. ?...accelerating..?..how many on busas..?..


and the list goes on...

a spread sheet to take out some of the emotional impact on analysis may be very revealing..

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Offline Got-Busa?

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Re: Fatalities in LSR
« Reply #2 on: November 08, 2012, 11:07:08 AM »
I don't have all the facts but I think Bonneville can't be compared with any other event. 

You are talking about a flat wide open area with very little to hit.  If you go down, you have the area to slide and hopefully not have as great of injuries. 

At a 1-mile or paved event you have a shorter course and more obstacles to hit when leaving the course.  Again, I don't know all the facts from each incident and wasn't present for any of them but it would be nice to get more info out so we can keep these things from happening.  Isn't the saying "it's not the speed but the sudden stop at the end"...
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Online RansomT

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Re: Fatalities in LSR
« Reply #3 on: November 08, 2012, 11:26:11 AM »
From the 2 that I witnessed, both ran off the track at the fast end without much slowing.
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Offline joea

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Re: Fatalities in LSR
« Reply #4 on: November 08, 2012, 12:59:27 PM »
got busa others.."but it would be nice to get more info out so we can keep these things from happening"

if that is the goal, it might behove folks to consider motorcyce lsr mishaps and mechanisms of the accident somewhat
together...ie if it pans out that (as a made up example) busa chassis with forks lowered over 2 inches, x front tire specs
and rear ballast of Y has a high potential for front end oscillation and accompanying crash, it might be smart to look
at as much data as possible...

its somewhat amusing to me that "I don't have all the facts but I think Bonneville can't be compared with any other event"...

is mentioned here when most have no problem trying to group speed comparisons when the conditions regarding the venues have many differing variables, not only surface, but maintaining speed for 5280 ft timing trap (traditional world record requirement) vs 132 ft is quite different, , yet  im curious why if comparing those, folks dont also garner all the runs from 1/4 mile track trap speeds over200 mph as well..?....ie FIM/SCTA have a timing trap 40 times longer than that of 1 and 1.5 mile venues, yet many of the 200 + lists dont include 1/4 trap speeds that are only 2 times shorter than 1 and 1.5 venues ....more fodder...:)
« Last Edit: November 08, 2012, 01:10:48 PM by joea »
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Offline scott g

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Re: Fatalities in LSR
« Reply #5 on: November 08, 2012, 07:56:08 PM »
Jerry Wayne Lyons.

RIP

http://obits.dignitymemorial.com/dignity-memorial/obituary.aspx?n=Jerry-Lyons&lc=2591&pid=160774905&mid=5292661&locale=en-US


From the Texas Mile web site:

134.8 MPH  137.2 MPH  Jerry Lyons  Third Coast Speed  Third Coast Speed  2433  10/27/12  8:25:43 AM  Motorcycle  2006  Harley-Davidson  VRSCSE Screamin Eagle V-Rod  Orange  V Twin motor/ Modified   Sport Bike   USA (American Iron)  Naturally Aspirated  2 Cylinders  1200cc to 1349cc  Gasoline  NO Nitrous  NO Methanol Injection 

So: a heavy, slow motorcycle...........

Slower trap speed than
any other fatality.

Offline zrxdean

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Re: Fatalities in LSR
« Reply #6 on: November 08, 2012, 08:24:10 PM »

Thoughts?

If the number of land speed racing entries was plotted over the last 10 years, I'd bet there'd be a steep rise in the last 5 years relative to the 50 years prior. Including myself. Especially for standing mile events. Doesn't explain Cliff Gullet or Dave Owen, but it may have something to do with the losses at ECTA and Texas this year. But, as Joe says, we need better data.

Offline Got-Busa?

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Re: Fatalities in LSR
« Reply #7 on: November 08, 2012, 09:36:57 PM »
if that is the goal, it might behove folks to consider motorcyce lsr mishaps and mechanisms of the accident somewhat
together,.....it might be smart to look at as much data as possible...

its somewhat amusing to me that "I don't have all the facts but I think Bonneville can't be compared with any other event"...

is mentioned here when most have no problem trying to group speed comparisons when the conditions regarding the venues have many differing variables, not only surface, but maintaining speed for 5280 ft timing trap (traditional world record requirement) vs 132 ft is quite different, , yet  im curious why if comparing those, folks dont also garner all the runs from 1/4 mile track trap speeds over200 mph as well..?....ie FIM/SCTA have a timing trap 40 times longer than that of 1 and 1.5 mile venues, yet many of the 200 + lists dont include 1/4 trap speeds that are only 2 times shorter than 1 and 1.5 venues ....more fodder...:)

That's just my opinion but I don't compare any of them personally unless we are just talking max speed...over a cold beverage...

IMO, I just don't see how you can.  Bonneville is another animal when talking 1-1.5mile paved events.  I don't consider 1/4-mile against either because of the track prep and conditions alone.  Until you get a 5-8 mile paved track with VHT prep from one end to the other I don't see how you can...  Not to mention most bikes running over 200mph in the 1/4 are on 1-wheel for a large portion if not all of the track length...


As far as the incidents, how many did the rider leave the course (paved surface)?  I don't think it's just what's causing people to crash but what happens after they go down.  It would be one thing if all incidents were blow tires or some other mechanical failure but they aren't.  Is it rider error, track, weather conditions, etc...what?



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Offline FlaminRoo

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Re: Fatalities in LSR
« Reply #8 on: November 09, 2012, 01:16:53 AM »

As Scott stated, there has been 5 fatalities in LSR since 2008 with no fatalities 50 years prior.  While actual speeds involved have not changed, something else has.


"no fatalities 50 years prior,, while actual speeds involved have not changed, something else has,??,,"
          the venues that we run at, before all the short tarmac venues we only ever ran max speeds at Bonneville where you have plenty of time to reach max velocity, however the shorter tracks drastically limits the time one has to reach these velocitys, then, you are under pressure to get it all stopped saftly,,
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Offline scott g

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Re: Fatalities in LSR
« Reply #9 on: November 09, 2012, 07:44:49 AM »
It is always the saddest day when we lose
one of our own in Land Speed Racing.

From the start of motorcycle land speed racing
at Bonneville in the 1950's, until August of 2008,
LSR for motorcycles did not lose a single on-track
competitor in an sanctioned event;
a period of more than 50 years.

NO fatalities at Bonneville, El mirage, Maxton.

In August of 2008, likable Cliff Gullett died at Bonneville,
and then in September, Dave Owen died at Maxton. 

Within a few years, two more ECTA competitors
had lost their lives in ECTA events.

And now Jerry........

Five fine young men in 5 years,
after more than 50 "safe" years.

Something has changed.

Offline scott g

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Re: Fatalities in LSR
« Reply #10 on: November 09, 2012, 07:48:34 AM »
The speeds have NOT changed.

Cliff's 2008 fatal streamliner crash happened
in the vicinity of 230 MPH, in the 500cc class.

B. Johnson's 1962 650cc record at Bonneville (60 years ago...)
was 230 MPH in a Triumph single-engine streamliner.

Dave Owen's 2008 crash began just before he entered
the Maxton traps at about 185 MPH.

In the 1960's and early '70's, Harleys, Triumphs,
and even Royal Enfield were running over 200 MPH.

Dave Owen was my crew chief at Bonneville in 2008,
and saw Jason McVicar's 244 MPH crash.

My bike, Jason riding !

(use volume)

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QImtEKiicus

David Edwards, this past summer
suffered this 177 MPH Bonneville crash

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_Vd3jbZpHoE

Both Crashes were "street bikes",
and both were very survivable

Neither Bonneville crashes were"speed wobbles !"

None of the three ECTA crash deaths were "wobbles."

Jerry's crash was probably well below 150 MPH,
maybe even as low as 90 MPH.

The two other ECTA deaths were below 200 MPH.

Speed is NOT the issue.

Wobbles are NOT the issue.

Offline zrxdean

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Re: Fatalities in LSR
« Reply #11 on: November 09, 2012, 08:29:27 AM »
I imagine that each LSR fatality has its own set of causes, and it's very difficult to prove a negative. I'm not comfortable ruling anything out. Chassis oscillation is a part of LSR - as you know. I think Joe has some experience with it as well.

Offline scott g

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Re: Fatalities in LSR
« Reply #12 on: November 09, 2012, 09:59:12 AM »

I imagine that each LSR fatality
has its own set of causes,


Very true !

I would suggest that we are probably
looking at two main areas of discussion:

1)  Cause of the crash.

2)   Cause of death.

Offline scott g

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Re: Fatalities in LSR
« Reply #13 on: November 09, 2012, 10:02:20 AM »


As far as the incidents, how many did
the rider leave the course (paved surface)? 


In the three (3) ECTA fatalities,
all three suffered fatal injuries
OFF the track.

At this point, we don't know what
caused Jerry's death.

Offline scott g

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Re: Fatalities in LSR
« Reply #14 on: November 09, 2012, 10:08:01 AM »
I don't think it's just what's causing people to crash but what happens after they go down. 

It has been said
"it's not the fall that kills, it's the sudden stop."

1) We are probably interested in "what causes the fall."

2)  How do we define "the stop?"

This might be a good opportunity to bring in two (2)
other inportant crashes that (fortunately) did NOT result in fatalities:

Karl Gunter and Bill Warner's horrible crashes at the Beeville Track.

Offline entropy

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Re: Fatalities in LSR
« Reply #15 on: November 09, 2012, 10:25:59 AM »
I imagine that each LSR fatality has its own set of causes, and it's very difficult to prove a negative. I'm not comfortable ruling anything out. Chassis oscillation is a part of LSR - as you know. I think Joe has some experience with it as well.

Dean has a PhD, so I'm comfortable with not being comfortable ruling anything out. :thumb:
Often wrong, but never unsure!!!!!

Offline scott g

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Re: Fatalities in LSR
« Reply #16 on: November 09, 2012, 10:42:59 AM »
I'm not comfortable ruling anything out. Chassis oscillation is a part of LSR - as you know.

As seen in the two (2) video's of Bonneville crashes,
there are very different causes.

1) Jason's crash was caused by his rear tyre striking
a piece of sharp debris on the track -
a piece of a Chevy engine block.

The "cut" caused the tyre to delaminate,
and resulted in Jason's "high side" get-off.

2) David's crash was the fault of a Weave and not a wobble.

3)  Weave is a oscillation of the rear wheel about the steer axis (About 2 hertz)

4) A wobble or "flutter" is the front wheel oscillating on the steer axis, (about 8-10 hertz)

I have looked into all the fatal "incidents," and find that there was NOT a wobble or weave
involved that left physical evidence of that oscillation in the 1st four deaths.

Can't say yet about Jerry's crash.

No investigation has been published.......

Offline scott g

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Re: Fatalities in LSR
« Reply #17 on: November 09, 2012, 10:45:08 AM »

Dean has a PhD, so I'm comfortable with not being comfortable ruling anything out. :thumb:



My PhD work was in Transportation and Safety,
with a speciality in Motorcycle Safety.

I am comfortable ruling things out........

Offline entropy

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Re: Fatalities in LSR
« Reply #18 on: November 09, 2012, 10:49:53 AM »
I don't think it's just what's causing people to crash but what happens after they go down. 

It has been said
"it's not the fall that kills, it's the sudden stop."

1) We are probably interested in "what causes the fall."

2)  How do we define "the stop?"

This might be a good opportunity to bring in two (2)
other inportant crashes that (fortunately) did NOT result in fatalities:

Karl Gunter and Bill Warner's horrible crashes at the Beeville Track.

Scott,

From one of my doctors: "it's a miracle you didn't die".

he went on to explain that the left side of my chest was crushed, 6 ribs were broken both in the front and in the rear.
The gravity of that situation is due to all those pointy broken ribs and the likelihood of my heart or other important organ getting stabbed.

Karl
Often wrong, but never unsure!!!!!

Offline entropy

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Re: Fatalities in LSR
« Reply #19 on: November 09, 2012, 11:14:03 AM »
Dean has a PhD, so I'm comfortable with not being comfortable ruling anything out. :thumb:

My PhD work was in Transportation and Safety,
with a speciality in Motorcycle Safety.
I am comfortable ruling things out........

I'm glad everyone is FINALLY getting comfortable discussing this topic.

Since DaveO's crash I have been REALLY UNCOMFORTABLE with folks NOT discussing it.

I understand that some people are in a situation where there might be legal ramifications.

I understand that some people just don't like talking about the possibility of death in our sport.
Often wrong, but never unsure!!!!!

Offline scott g

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Re: Fatalities in LSR
« Reply #20 on: November 09, 2012, 11:32:43 AM »
Dean has a PhD, so I'm comfortable with not being comfortable ruling anything out. :thumb:

My PhD work was in Transportation and Safety,
with a speciality in Motorcycle Safety.
I am comfortable ruling things out........

I'm glad everyone is FINALLY getting comfortable discussing this topic.

Since DaveO's crash I have been REALLY UNCOMFORTABLE with folks NOT discussing it.

I understand that some people are in a situation where there might be legal ramifications.

I understand that some people just don't like talking about the possibility of death in our sport.


I am pretty comfortable with all these topics
since investigating motorcycle accidents has
been my "day job" for 35 years......

Certainly the Beville track - and the promotors - are
at real risk for the Guenter and the Warner accidents,
and would be wise to adopt a VERY defensive posture.

Dave's accident is more complicated.

Cliff's accident may point to the maker of the bike.

Jerry's (and it was too bad that nobody was willing
to use his full name) crash will take some investigation,
even though the "crash" part of the fatality may have taken
place at the same speed at Karl's and Bill's impacts.....

Offline zrxdean

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Re: Fatalities in LSR
« Reply #21 on: November 09, 2012, 12:52:54 PM »
I'm with Joe - we need more data. I don't think that declaring prematurely what did not happen is helpful. How can we be sure that Jerry's V-rod wasn't wobbling (however you'd like to define it) - without data? Especially considering that he was complaining of front end stability problems, and people report seeing chassis issues?

Online Oz Booster

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Re: Fatalities in LSR
« Reply #22 on: November 09, 2012, 03:09:13 PM »
And data that probably will not be available to the general public but maybe the governing associations
what actually happened physically that caused the persons involved to die
 i think we can inprove the safety of the individual as well 
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Offline WildBro

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Re: Fatalities in LSR
« Reply #23 on: November 09, 2012, 04:04:04 PM »
For everyone to see...

My crash @ Beeville TX
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=j2j68kptHqU

I've watched 2 or 3 times, will not watch it again.(well atleast not after the mile marker)

Bill

Offline fvance

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Re: Fatalities in LSR
« Reply #24 on: November 09, 2012, 04:13:50 PM »
As most everyone knows, two years ago I  crashed at Bonneville at around 210mph. On the previous run I experienced a serious lean on the bike. i did not know what caused it, made a couple of small chassis adjustments. On the next run the bike was leaning severly to the right. A crosswind gust hit me and I went down. I was lucky and was hardly hurt, walked away. I now know that I HAD MADE A SERIOUS ERROR IN MY BODY WORK. Sorry for yelling! The thing is I ignored the symptoms on the second run. Stupid me. I have occasionally experienced handling problems since, as soon as I see something is wrong I shut it down, come to the pits and work on the problem. I have learned, the hard way, descretion is the better part of valor.
« Last Edit: November 09, 2012, 04:15:53 PM by fvance »
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