My first serious crash

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gizmo
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My first serious crash

Post by gizmo » Thu Apr 01, 2010 9:51 pm

Today I had my first serious crash. I rented a TAG kart, which I've driven before, decently, and within my first three laps I crashed badly. I was told to run easy and I thought I was doing just that. Granted, I wasn't exactly turtle-ing the kart around the track, but I wasn't exactly running on the ragged edge either. I came down a long straight, long enough that the TAG hit top speed, let off the gas way earlier than necessary, braked in a straight line earlier and lighter than necessary, and the kart immediately spun around. The spin happened lightining quick and before I could even react I was headed backwards quickly. I washed a lot of speed off skidding across the turn pavement, but once I hit the grass, I wasn't losing speed. I hit the barrier backwards and I hit it violently. My elbow hit the engine, and that hurts the most; in fact although I was able to race another 2 hours in the TAG with it, I could barely put my helmet on and take it off during each session.

I must have spun at least 11 times during the course of the day, twice in the slower warmup karts, and I ran off the track at least 4 or 5 times including the crash.

I actually did some minor damage to the kart in the crash, which is strange considering how badly it could've been, but they were able to easily fix it (much to my surprise). The entire day was a sobering experience; I drove a world championship kart and I was way above the times the real drivers run with it. They wouldn't even tell me their times, likely because they feared I"d only crash more and worse trying to approach them.

That's not to say I did horribly, but I think I lack the natural talent a driver would need to suceed at the higher leavels of racing but I may also be too hard on myself instead.

All in all, I won't hop back into a kart until I upgrade my safety equipment. I need a fullfludged Snell SA helment that's HANS device ready instead of my Snell M (which I use only for karting -- I wouldn't race a stockcar with an M helmet). Equally as important, I need a HANS device, obviously... I reckon I could've been cripled by the whiplash alone. (If I flew out of the kart, HANS would probably do little to help with that, but not all things are avoidable and those that are should be). I also need a double layer nomex suit instead of the single layer one I have now.
Last edited by gizmo on Fri Apr 02, 2010 1:10 am, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: My first serious crash

Post by gizmo » Thu Apr 01, 2010 10:01 pm

I might also consider giving up on racing. I never "realized" just how dangerous it is until I realized that I could really have hurt myself.
Last edited by gizmo on Fri Apr 02, 2010 1:09 am, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: My first serious crash

Post by LHOswald » Thu Apr 01, 2010 11:25 pm

crashes always make you not want to get back into a car. just keep driving and you'll get the urge back again. as long as your wearing proper safety equipment you'll most likely step away with minpor injuries
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Re: My first serious crash

Post by potownrob » Thu Apr 01, 2010 11:26 pm

i am just relieved it wasn't your regular street car you crashed :) . i'm sure gary would chime in with some words of wisdom - he's been racing for a long time and still crashes now and then and that doesn't stop him; i wonder how much he crashed when he was just starting out - i just remember reading about him being overwhelmed with the intensity of racing: the heat, getting up to speed and staying in there, not dying etc. :lol:
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Re: My first serious crash

Post by ra64t » Fri Apr 02, 2010 12:26 am

whoa man, sorry to hear about the crash. where was this? NJMP? OVRP?

we all know racing is a big commitment and only you know if want to continue to make that commitment. for sure though, I wouldn't let one crash be the determining factor, or one lackluster day. Seriously, we both know you cannot get in a kart for the first or second time in your life and be on pace with guys doing this for their whole lives. If you think that your being ridiculous.

One or two kart sessions does not prove that you do or don't have the potential to succeed at the top levels of the sport. True, I might not know what I'm talking about, but I'm not willing to write myself off yet; if fact, I'm not even close.

in terms of the safety equipment, although some people wear it, nomex doesn't do any good on a kart. the chances of catching on fire are just not that likely. and nomex is not abrasion resistant, which is what you really need for karting; purpose karting suits are. Similarly, the main difference between the SA and M snell standards is fire resistance, so for karting a M is fine. A HANS is dependent on seat belts so it also won't do anything on a kart; for karting you need something like a leatt brace or valhalla 360 neck brace.
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Re: My first serious crash

Post by AHTOXA » Fri Apr 02, 2010 12:54 am

I thought you crashed your Scion. Good to know you didn't.

Crashing is part of the learning. I ride my trail bike (MTB) throughout the summer and I've had some rough crashes and tumbles but that doesn't stop me from riding.

Keep at it.
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Re: My first serious crash

Post by gizmo » Fri Apr 02, 2010 1:13 am

Sorry about the confusion guys; glad to know everyone is rooting for me to keep the shiny side of the scion up!

On the other side, I did continue racing despite the crash. Another 1.5 hours worth. I learned a lot from today, the biggest thing I learned is that I'm not nearly as good as I thought I was --- whatever that means.

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Re: My first serious crash

Post by gizmo » Fri Apr 02, 2010 1:27 am

ra64t: all valid points about safety equipment. If I do get to karting sometime before I'm too old to walk, I will certainly invest in an abraision-resistant suit like you mentioned.

Great point about the LEATT brace. I've been steadily trying to acquire equipment I can use in a stockcar, because that's always going to be the love of my life; so I can't say I jump at the idea of buying both a HANS and a LEATT device. But they're both as expensive as they are necessary!!! So I must buy both, and although I'd really like to race now and buy them later when I have the money, I think I should put racing on hold and buy them first; they're a small price to pay for the safety they provide!

But these TAGs are quite the rush! I wonder if I'd be wrong in saying that they're maybe more fun to drive than stockcars (possibly indy-type cars) in terms of raw capabilities. I'm not sure if that makes complete sense, because I could never replace my ardor for stockcars with my interest in karting, but I wouldn't mind it if I were making a living racing TAG-type karts...

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Re: My first serious crash

Post by gizmo » Fri Apr 02, 2010 1:34 am

potownrob wrote:i just remember reading about [GARY] being overwhelmed with the intensity of racing: the heat, getting up to speed and staying in there, not dying etc. :lol:
Without writing a novel, that is an unbelieably incredible point. I've never run more than 20 minutes consecutively and I've been pretty taxed by the end of those 20 minute sessions and when it's all over I can't help but wonder how some of the physically weaker drivers out there survive 5 constant hours of that pace!

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Re: My first serious crash

Post by fa22raptorf22 » Fri Apr 02, 2010 1:39 pm

LHOswald wrote:crashes always make you not want to get back into a car.
Not totally true.

I mean, I threw my street car into a guardrail at high speed, but nearly avoided it.

Now I always look for the situation again, and now know how to avoid and correct it.

Each crash or mess up is a learning experience. Just like with the quote "you have never been in control until youve lost it"

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Re: My first serious crash

Post by gizmo » Fri Apr 02, 2010 2:31 pm

Although I walked away from the crash unscathed, it is easy for me to see how badly I could've been hurt. I'm just upset that I crashed when I wasn't pushing the envelope and the crash itself only occurred at maybe 40mph. The thing that makes me want to quit is not the crash, so long as I am not permanently disabled/disfigured by an accident then I can accept a prolonged period of recuperation back to "original condition" and I can even accept death. The thing that bothers me is that I am racing with the hopes of breaking into profession motorsports and I am risking this injuries, even death maybe, with the hopes of doing just that. But in the end, I fear I may not have the skills to make that hope a reality, which then means I'm risking death, or much worse permanent injury, for no reason whatsoever.

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Re: My first serious crash

Post by theholycow » Fri Apr 02, 2010 7:24 pm

gizmo wrote:for no reason whatsoever.
What you're doing now isn't fun?
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Re: My first serious crash

Post by ra64t » Fri Apr 02, 2010 8:20 pm

gizmo wrote:Although I walked away from the crash unscathed, it is easy for me to see how badly I could've been hurt. I'm just upset that I crashed when I wasn't pushing the envelope and the crash itself only occurred at maybe 40mph. The thing that makes me want to quit is not the crash, so long as I am not permanently disabled/disfigured by an accident then I can accept a prolonged period of recuperation back to "original condition" and I can even accept death. The thing that bothers me is that I am racing with the hopes of breaking into profession motorsports and I am risking this injuries, even death maybe, with the hopes of doing just that. But in the end, I fear I may not have the skills to make that hope a reality, which then means I'm risking death, or much worse permanent injury, for no reason whatsoever.
I don't look at it that way. Sure I don't really know if I have what it take to make it to the top of the sport, or become a "professional" but if I quit, how would I ever know? A few years ago I reached a point where I realized, I don't know if I could live without knowing, so until I'm at a point where i'm content with that, I'll keep pushing. If I don't "make it", which is most likely, I can live with knowing I tried and hopefully had a blast and learned a lot along the way.
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Re: My first serious crash

Post by gizmo » Mon Apr 05, 2010 12:55 am

i figured i'd post an update since there haven't been many replies in this department:

i've been really bothered by the whole day. i had a great time and i felt fast. but i distinctly remember hearing the guy who drove my kart, to make sure it was ready to go, say that a good range of lap times would be in 29s-30s. I ran 35s consisently. When I saw a 28s record on the kart's chrono, they swore it must have been a mistake because no one could run 28, but I think they were just trying to keep me from running any faster so I wouldn't crash. They were probably right.

I even think they put a kid's part on the motor, to drop about 10hp, in hopes I wouldn't crash; I still spun out atleast 4-5 more times despite that change.

And thinking about it, it makes sense, because when I went out in the slow karts to learn the track, I struggled to keep up with the instructor, and often he'd pull away from me by a decent margin, and he'd gain ground on me quickly. I definetely felt like I had much better command of the faster kart, that the faster kart was responsive to my requests, while the slow kart was constantly fighting me, but it would seem plausible that if I can't make speed out of the slow kart how in the world did I expect to make speed out of the faster kart.

5s is ridiculous gap to make up, 7s is just stupid. To literally be 25% off the pace of a good driver, after all the "training" i've had, especially the "practice" i've done based on that training, that I can't stay within 5%.... I shouldn't be allowed in a kart.

And what bothers me so badly, is that I so desperately believed I could be in that 5%. I never thought I'd be the guy being laughed at when I got to the track and that's who I was that day....

I figured I'd be the guy fighting for 10ths of a second, not 10s of seconds....

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Re: My first serious crash

Post by ra64t » Mon Apr 05, 2010 7:02 pm

who knows, the 28s lap could have been on new tires on a rubbered in track, ideal temperatures, etc. It could have been on a different track configuration even.

plus if you really had a 10hp restrictor, that would explain where a lot of the 5 seconds were.

and even if you really were 5 seconds off in the exact same kart and exact same conditions, who's to say you wouldn't trim off 4 of those seconds with just a few more days of practice. If you're setting the track record after a year of practice, who cares how slow you were your first or second time out?
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