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  1. #1
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    Default how a sport becomes safer -- BBC doc "Grand Prix: The Killer Years"

    Because we've talked a lot about F1 in our discussions of eventing safety, I thought this recent BBC 4 documentary would be of interest.

    Prepare yourself for awesome vintage F1 footage, too many fiery crashes, and an insightful cast of survivors talking about risk, safety, and sport.

    Grand Prix -- The Killer Years

    (It's up at YouTube, runs approx 1 hr.)



  2. #2
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    Default Eye Opener!

    WOW JER! That is something else....unbelievable footage! Wonder if in another 40-50 years they will be making the same documentary about eventing of the past decade!



  3. #3
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    Default

    Kanga, that was exactly my thinking. You could have made a version of this film about eventing -- except our sport hasn't really achieved a firm grasp on safety yet.

    Also, it was interesting to see Jacky Ickx and John Surtees talking about safety alongside Jackie Stewart. Ickx and Surtees were very, very public and quite unkind in their opposition to the safety changes that Stewart lobbied so hard for.



  4. #4
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    Default Grand Prix

    There seems to be a lot of parallels in the 2 sports. But your right we have not made major safety changes to eventing yet. Perhaps in the next decade we will see real changes and more people standing up for what is right versus following the few that want to keep us all quiet and pretend nothing really has gone wrong. Then in 40 or 50 years there would be something to look back on and say look what eventing did....all hell was breaking loose around '97'98 through 2010 but the sport CAME TOGETHER and made real changes 2011-2020. We can only hope that will be the documentary. Chances are it just might be a documentary on this sport that used to be!



  5. #5
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    Default

    Thanks Jer,
    I was actually in Hockenheim when Clark died and later because of my job saw more of it.
    I do not belief that you can compare todays times with the 60,70 or 80.
    We did not care, realy. It was such a free spirit time, try it, daredevil, who gives a crap time, if you do not die today you will die tomorrow.
    We realy did not care, live was an adventure to be lived to the fullest, nothing, absolutely nothing to be left out. Everything was possible, if you bought it, you bought it, sad for the family.
    There was no live line, no cell, no instant help, what ever you did, racing, eventing, stupid things in foreign countries, you were on your own and dealt with it
    The big differance between motorsport and eventing, guys like Stewart, Hill, Fiti, Surtees, they had the guts to walk out of an Event/Race instead of talking about it afterwards. Till the day riders are actually willing to say no, we are going to band aid the sport and for worse.
    That I have no use for them, does not mean, that I don't know them and don't know how to use them.
    Caveman extraordinair



  6. #6
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    Default

    I was at Watkins Glen when Cevert was killed in practice, and Jackie Stewart retired on the spot (before the race).

    Then watched my father go out and race this ( http://www.paulrussell.com/articles/375MM_0382AM.pdf) "Prancing Horse" in the vintage race. IIRC he finished 4th, but with little to no front brakes. The one on the left in the picture.
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    Janet

    chief feeder and mucker for Music, Spy, Belle and Tiara. Someone else is now feeding and mucking for Chief and Brain (both foxhunting now).



  7. #7
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    Default

    I don't event, but I did race autos back in the day....1970's with SCCA. Since the discussion on this thread is the analog of F1 to eventing, I have some thoughts.

    To me the part that stands out when comparing the two sports are the process for qualifying to be allowed on course:

    To race a car (at any level):

    (1) I had to attend a driving school which consisted of 2 weekends at the race track. This could be statisfied via SCCA sponsored schools where experienced instructors sat in the car with you and then did lead-follow or a professional racing school course (such as put on by Bob Bondurant). The school then certified that you had passed minimum criteria.

    (2) Once I had passed my driving school, I could officially race, but only as a "novice". This required that I race with a big black "X" on both the doors of my car and had to yield to experienced racers.

    (3) Once I had put in 3 races as a novice would the race stewards sign off on my logbook that I could race "open" races.

    (4) At all races, you had to go thru tech inspection for basic safety and credential review...eg., you had to keep current with your licenses.

    None of this was an insubstantial expense.

    And then.....with all that.....if you were considered in danger to yourself or others, to date, any driver, experienced or novice can be black-flagged at any time by the stewards....told to come into the pits.

    I don't know of any "qualifying process" or "black flag" process to be allowed to compete or move up any level in eventing. Buy the horse, pay the fees and ride....unless I'm mistooken.



  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by Gnep View Post
    The big differance between motorsport and eventing, guys like Stewart, Hill, Fiti, Surtees, they had the guts to walk out of an Event/Race instead of talking about it afterwards. Till the day riders are actually willing to say no, we are going to band aid the sport and for worse.
    This is a very good point.

    F1 had a very high fatality rate in the 60s/70s, right up until Sid Watkins came in as medical director in 1978. Eventing fatalities have never reached those levels, but then there are more top-level riders than there are F1 drivers.

    F1 drivers make far more money than eventers but they have contracts with their teams for the whole season. I wonder how that security affects their thinking in terms of each race.

    Also, Bernie Ecclestone was willing to support his drivers when they said no, and he gave Watkins carte blanche to make F1 safer. That's leadership. Does eventing have that?



  9. #9
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    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by JER View Post
    This is a very good point.

    The big differance between motorsport and eventing, guys like Stewart, Hill, Fiti, Surtees, they had the guts to walk out of an Event/Race instead of talking about it afterwards. Till the day riders are actually willing to say no, we are going to band aid the sport and for worse.
    F1 had a very high fatality rate in the 60s/70s, right up until Sid Watkins came in as medical director in 1978. Eventing fatalities have never reached those levels, but then there are more top-level riders than there are F1 drivers.

    F1 drivers make far more money than eventers but they have contracts with their teams for the whole season. I wonder how that security affects their thinking in terms of each race.

    Also, Bernie Ecclestone was willing to support his drivers when they said no, and he gave Watkins carte blanche to make F1 safer. That's leadership. Does eventing have that?
    What I took away from the BBC documentary was that F1 technology changed. The old courses from the 20's and 30's when the automobile was first invented, were no longer suitable for the higher speeds as technology advanced thru the 50's-70's. The engines were more powerful, the speeds higher....but the courses still wound thru rural lanes from the past.

    This is what Jackie Stewart and the GPDA were objecting to....that the courses were no longer suitable for their vehicles.....

    Our technology is the horse. The horse has NOT changed. But riders have. Land is scarce, people no longer live on farms and go galloping bareback on ponies in their childhood. Local "farmer packs" when people cavort and chase hounds are harder and harder to find.

    So, my point is that to get on a automotive race course, I had to meet certain minimum qualifications to be allowed on course and not be a danger to myself and others. THAT'S a big difference between eventing and car racing.

    Does eventing have requirements that riders demonstrate minimum standards of riding ability to ride in a course?



  10. #10
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    Default

    I also have a race car connection through my husband; he and his father are Lotus enthusiasts and between them own a couple of historic Lotus race cars, including one that was driven at LeMans in 1955, when there was an accident that killed ~80 people (drivers and spectators). One of the Lotus drivers had had a "bad feeling" about the race the night before it started, and refused to drive, and the other was disqualified for reversing after going off course. (and NO, the race was not halted after the accident -- it went on. The official reason is that the organizers wanted to keep the local roads clear for ambulances, so did not want spectators to depart and clog the roads. I get this; we were at LeMans in 2005 for the 50th anniversary of the tragedy, and it was truly one of those situations where it would have been faster to walk than drive, anywhere within 10 miles of the main grandstand.)

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/1955_Le_Mans_disaster has some information about how racing was banned, temporarily, in several European countries after the race. Now of course at an event, it's highly unlikely that anything related to the competition would kill 80+ spectators (though a few are possible, if there's a crazy loose horse, flying debris etc.) but the safety perspective is interesting.

    We also know a couple of drivers from "back in the day" before safety became such an issue. To some degree they exhibit a common (ahem) attitude, about how people who competed back then were "more man" than the "wimps" who are so worried about safety these days -- but they also lost friends to the accidents and were willing to admit it would have been better if these people had survived.
    Last edited by quietann; May. 24, 2011 at 03:13 PM.
    You have to have experiences to gain experience.

    Proudly owned by Mythic Feronia, 1998 Morgan mare; G-dspeed Trump & Minnie; welcome 2014 Morgan filly MtnTop FlyWithMeJosephine



  11. #11
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    Default

    There is one more differance, crashes are part of the game, but drivers demanded to be able to survive those crashes.
    If you look at the tremendous impacts modern race cars have when they crash and the driver just walks away, they can hit head on with 200 miles, flip, flop, get airborne, they shed parts everywere and that very little area around the driver stays intact and allows the driver to survive.
    If you look at our vests, there primary design feature is ease of wear, pleasing design, protection is the second and third thought and they do not protect against a horse impacting with you.
    If we compare our helmets to the kind worn in motorcycle racing, we have to go 20 years back to find the same helmet for comparison, neck restrain or protectors.

    If professional motor racing had not increased the safety of equipment, giving a chance to survive a crash, they still would have a lot of dead drivers each year
    That I have no use for them, does not mean, that I don't know them and don't know how to use them.
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  12. #12
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    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Gnep View Post
    .....
    If we compare our helmets to the kind worn in motorcycle racing, we have to go 20 years back to find the same helmet for comparison, neck restrain or protectors.
    .....
    Because of my car racing experience, years ago I contacted the Snell foundation to ask about equestrian helmets. They said there was no demand. I have continued to watch as this evolves with ASTM Std. I believe that the trotter driver helmets meet Snell criteria....a much higher standard of performance than any mfg stating product meets ASTM standards.



  13. #13
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    Default

    OK, compare wth motorcycle roadracing in the 70s
    Quote Originally Posted by pluvinel View Post
    I don't event, but I did race autos back in the day....1970's with SCCA. Since the discussion on this thread is the analog of F1 to eventing, I have some thoughts.

    To me the part that stands out when comparing the two sports are the process for qualifying to be allowed on course:

    To race a car (at any level):

    (1) I had to attend a driving school which consisted of 2 weekends at the race track. This could be statisfied via SCCA sponsored schools where experienced instructors sat in the car with you and then did lead-follow or a professional racing school course (such as put on by Bob Bondurant). The school then certified that you had passed minimum criteria.
    To race a motorcycle (in 1976), all I had to do was pay for a license. No race school requirement (though there definitely is such a requirement now)

    (2) Once I had passed my driving school, I could officially race, but only as a "novice". This required that I race with a big black "X" on both the doors of my car and had to yield to experienced racers.
    I had to wear a duct tape X on the back of my leathers, but no requirement for yielding. I was only eligible for Novice races, but in some capacities, the Novice and Expert races were combined- separate grids and separate green flags, but all on the track at the same time.

    (3) Once I had put in 3 races as a novice would the race stewards sign off on my logbook that I could race "open" races.
    No such requirement then. Now I think you have to complete one
    "riders school race" successfukky before you can go in the open races.

    (4) At all races, you had to go thru tech inspection for basic safety and credential review...eg., you had to keep current with your licenses.
    Yes, then and now, tech inspection for every race. And now, re-inspection if your "handlebar hits the ground". Helmets are inspected carefully for condition, manufacturing date, and Snell certification. If your helpme has a scuff on it, you will have to buy a new one.

    None of this was an insubstantial expense.

    And then.....with all that.....if you were considered in danger to yourself or others, to date, any driver, experienced or novice can be black-flagged at any time by the stewards....told to come into the pits.
    Same for bikes

    I don't know of any "qualifying process" or "black flag" process to be allowed to compete or move up any level in eventing. Buy the horse, pay the fees and ride....unless I'm mistooken.
    Qualifying requirements for Prelim and up.

    Dangerous riding penalties at all levels. But officials are often reluctant to impose them.
    Janet

    chief feeder and mucker for Music, Spy, Belle and Tiara. Someone else is now feeding and mucking for Chief and Brain (both foxhunting now).



  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by pluvinel View Post
    Because of my car racing experience, years ago I contacted the Snell foundation to ask about equestrian helmets. They said there was no demand. I have continued to watch as this evolves with ASTM Std. I believe that the trotter driver helmets meet Snell criteria....a much higher standard of performance than any mfg stating product meets ASTM standards.
    Snell has the E2001 equestrian helmet standard.

    The HS1 helmet, sold in the UK, Europe and Aus/NZ, is tested to the Snell E2001. You can see a video of the testing here.

    But how about that scandal involving motorcycle journalist Dexter Ford, helmet manufacturers and the Snell Foundation? In 2005, Ford wrote this column for Motorcycling in which he raised a lot of questions about helmets and testing. Manufacturers -- upon whose advertising dollars the magazine depended -- complained, and Ford got the sack. In 2009, Ford wrote this piece for the New York Times -- Sorting Out Differences in Helmet Standards -- in which he talks to a number of brain injury specialists who are very critical of the Snell testing procedures.



  15. #15
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    Default

    As I said, I don't event, so I have no skin in this game. All I'm pointing out is that if eventers are comparing themselves to automobile (not motorcycle...those are another breed) race car drivers, then you can't cherry pick the criteria you choose to adopt.

    The OP discussed the F1 drivers standing up to race course owners/managers when those courses were no longer suitable for for the higher speeds and horsepower when engine and aerodynamic technlology evolved after WWII.

    I pointed out that in our horse sports, the technology of the horse has not changed. Horses are still horses. But riders have changed as people moved off farms and land to gallop and jump became scarce and hard to find. Thus riders don't face the riding questions typically encountered by prior generations.

    I pointed out the criteria required to be certified to set foot on an auto racetrack back in the 1970's for basically what was rock-bottom racing.....nowhere near F1.....the racing I did was the equivalent of rock bottom eventing.

    The criteria to drive a car on a race course are as strict or stricter now.

    The highly, highly accomplished F1 drivers that asked for safety standards during the 1950's-70's, had valid technical reasons for their concerns. For eventing, along with adequate safety gear, perhaps there should also be some basic entry-level requirements. The criteria would be to demonstrate minimum proficiency to safely ride over immovable obstacles at speed. These would demonstrate basic skills, much as is expected of anyone setting foot on an automobile racetrack today.

    The USPC has A, B and C ratings......so a rating system is out there.

    I did enjoy the BBC documentary, so thanks for the link.
    Last edited by pluvinel; May. 25, 2011 at 01:26 AM.



  16. #16
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    Default Janet, you raced bikes!!

    I'm not worthy.

    That said, my DH got me a brand new HD for our anniversary.


    My little brother, the lawyer, was appalled.

    It was only after conversation that he realized at one point in my 20's I'd had a bike up over 100mph.

    I'll be 50 next month.

    I'm hoping that riding the bike again will braven me up for riding at speed.



  17. #17
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    Default

    Interesting topic and connections.

    I used to be crazy about F1 but haven't bothered to watch it in recent years. Accidents aside both sports were once more of a display of raw talent and nerve by participants. Just to dispel any NASCAR-perceptions as applied to F1: deaths in F1 never contributed to its "popularity" - Roonie Peterson's crash (and ultimately death) at the Italian GP in 1978, for example, never would've drawn in curious fans for the next race. It was a sickening sight with the fire, etc.

    What did bring in the popularity was an appreciation for the sport and what it took to even get to that level. Money, a fast car, or talented horse isn't going to ensure a win at either sport. You needed luck, skills that only a handful of people have and some bold determination. That can result in injury and death, but nobody is bloodthirsty.

    You have in past days of Rolex being suited for a thoroughbred who was modest at best with dressage but run like a fiend on roads & tracks, steeplechase and cross-country. Now its far more a jaw-dropping dressage score and put in a steady XC effort and stadium to finish top 10. Accordingly is it a slightly bland sport in 2011? Perhaps.

    F1 has gone beyond just safety rules and is terribly dumbed down to where it is almost a video-game to drive, you have almost zero passing, restricted speeds, and now remove even the fueling strategy.

    Still regarded as one of the greatest Formula One displays of talent and determination was from between Gilles Villeneuve and Rene Arnoux at Dijon in 1979 for second place. As Top Gear's Jeremy Clarkson remarks with the commentary you never seen this anymore and its a painfully bland sport to watch today.

    Then again Gilles Villeneuve was perhaps the last of the all-out, never-give-in F1 drivers and was beloved by fans, Enzo Ferrari, and respected by other drivers. This video of him at Zandvoort in 1979 with the crippled Ferrari is the stuff of legend. Pack it in and group for next race? Hell no. Just a fluke? Nope - he raced at Montreal with a damaged Ferrari too.

    His terrible death in 1982 at Zolder was perhaps the last straw and shifted the end of the sport as it was. Unquestionably one of the best drivers to ever rise to the ranks of F1.



  18. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by 2ndyrgal View Post
    Janet, you raced bikes!!

    I'm not worthy.
    YES
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    Janet

    chief feeder and mucker for Music, Spy, Belle and Tiara. Someone else is now feeding and mucking for Chief and Brain (both foxhunting now).



  19. #19
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    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Janet View Post
    YES
    you still catch yourself brakeing late, at times.
    That I have no use for them, does not mean, that I don't know them and don't know how to use them.
    Caveman extraordinair



  20. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by Gnep View Post
    you still catch yourself brakeing late, at times.
    "Roadracers go in deeper, come out harder"
    Janet

    chief feeder and mucker for Music, Spy, Belle and Tiara. Someone else is now feeding and mucking for Chief and Brain (both foxhunting now).



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