February 4, 2012

The importance of a plan B

We posted this scary clip found by our friend Sergini, on the Axis Facebook page where it stirred up quite a bit of thoughts and observations. Let's see how it does here.

I would start with a well done to the driver (Youssef Bassil?), for staying cool enough after such a nasty hit to get out the passenger side door after finding the left one jammed. It's a good idea to practice getting out of the car in a hurry, an to have a plan B.

That the driver's side door jammed is a pretty horrid, perhaps the cage failed, who knows. Personally, I don't like to see bolts anywhere on a race car cage.

Another issue brought up was the use, or lack of, a left side retaining net as is common in the US. In this case, it was a good thing it was not used.

HANS very likely saved a life here.

The car is likely a Renault Clio 197 and from the dynamic of the crash I would say it does not have ABS, should ABS be required in some of these lower series?



  1. Boys, as a racer thats what you look to see, we all know the dangers and week in week out we hang our hat on these little clippy thingys on our helmets knowing they do somethin?? THATS WHY they are there!!! Nice vid and Great job HANS.

  2. As AC alluded to, quick thinking getting out, not so quick avoiding it. He probably wouldn't have hit him--and definitely wouldn't have so squarely--had he not panicked and locked the brakes a split second after he put in the left steering angle.

    At first glance it looks like his steering input and a lift would have been sufficient to get enough weight transfer to have reduced it from Incident to Moment. Definitely a lower-category first-lap type of accident.

    (And my vote would be against requiring ABS, no matter how low the category. Poor fellow just looked like he was out of his league.)

  3. In his defense, it was quite unsighted, and that's looking from a camera about a foot to the right and higher than eye line.

  4. I think he could have saved it (or at least had a much lighter crash) if he didn't second guess himself when he was going to go right. He looked at the crash and went right into it (you can see how the car was online to go to the right of the spun car and he jerked the wheel right back) Always look where YOU want to go. The car took a mean hit and did its job but as someone else said, it should not have shifted and jammed the door. The driver did a great job of getting out. As for the ABS I wish there was a system that as long as the steering wheel stays straight (with in a range) abs will not kick in but, if you turn the wheel past a point the abs would kick in.

  5. Looked like he was moving right to pass. Had he kept going right his inertia likely would have been enough to let him clear on the right. Go fast, go wide.

  6. Anybody notice the yellow indicated before that corner? Look at the lights on the right hand side of the track.

  7. watched this several times. that car comes from literally no where. no way he could have seen it more that just a few feet away. the safety devices in car really saved his life. His quick thinking to jump out of the passenger door, is nothing short of amazing.

  8. I always buy 3 layer suits, good net, good right side net, hans, and a seat with wings whenever possible. I'm broke as crap and pull it off and it annoys me that we haven't mandated this stuff more often. I had a free ride last year and quit because the team couldn't get their safety stuff together, it's all fun and games till somebody loses an eye. The pictures from this track with the girl in loose harnesses honestly made me mad because it makes us track people look like goons.

  9. I don't normally comment here, but anyone here saying he could have avoided it is bench racing the f*** out of this clip.

    Even the highest level pros panick. It's human nature. This clip is all about how safety advances in motor racing allow people to walk away from otherwise life threatening accidents with nothing more than a bad memory.

    When I hear people like Ekdemos and MH talk, I remember why part of me has fallen out of love with the racing scene.

    There are way too many guys who "know everything" and will give advice over the internet. If you commented anything negative about this guys reaction you are nothing more than a bench racer sitting behind a computer.

    Anyone can get caught out by the unexpected. Read the Skip Barber racing book. One very high ranked professional IMSA champion (I think was the series, cant recall his name) said of locking up one time....

    "I dove way too deep into the corner, called on my years of legendary experience. and....locked up the brakes and crashed."

    Im happy this guy is alive and he had an "OH SH******T" moment.

    Everyone is human. Show some respect.

  10. To add to my comment above, I don't think ABS should be required in lower series or any other series. At the end of the day racing is all about removing the driver assists.

    I would also like to rephrase my second to last sentence. I am not glad the guy had an "oh sh*t" moment, I am glad he had an "oh sh*t" moment and walked away from it.

    Count on someone to twist my words around to try and undermine my insults to the world wide community of bench racers who can do it better via keyboards.

    Detailed 2 of my customers Ferraris ( 12 hours total ) on 3 hours of sleep...been a pretty long day.

    On the topic of ABS- no it should not be required, racing is all about driving a car. This guy just had an off day / moment / whatever and I'm sure he has learned from it.

    If he gets in a race car again, which I'm sure he will, I commend him.

    Heres to making it out with no injuries and one hell of a video to show for it.

  11. Just noticed my posts above, sorry about the confusion...seriously sleep deprived hahaha. Night!

  12. All I can really say is: Even knowing it's coming, after watching several times, the time that elapses between spotting the stricken car and impact is...f-ing nothing. Blink and you'd miss it. Even looking ahead on the track, KNOWING there will be a stationary car in the middle of the track, you just simply cannot see it. By my count, there was a grand total of 2 seconds between that car becoming visible and impact. Even if you got your left foot on the break pedal, we're talking at least a second to initiate full braking, let alone finding a nice balanced feel (on what are likely cold brakes and cold tires, no less).

    Dude is lucky to be alive. Dude is lucky to not be a piece of charcoal. Dude is lucky he was trapped in nice and tight. This video, is one to share with the grandkids, on some future date...

  13. Having had a similar accident happen on an ice track few weeks ago, the 2 seconds is barely any time to do anything. In my case, we just touched and nothing serious happened, but to those people saying it's the guys fault, I hope you never have to experiance this yourself. When the luck runs out, the only thing that saves is the safety gear.

  14. to the people saying he didn't have any time to react.
    He did have time, because in fact, he reacted, he steered to the left, and braked. The only problem was, he braked too much and locked all four wheels, if he had braked a bit less he would have saved it.
    I am not saying I would have saved it, I totally understand that anyone can panic and make a mistake, I'm just saying it was avoidable, and I'm sure the guy will have learnt from this and won't have a similar accident again.

  15. Anonymous, thank you for the kind comments. However, there was a way out, but he like almost all of us here look at the car and drove into it. You can argue opinions all you want but facts are facts. I would have done the same thing, but there was a way out. I am sorry your feelings are hurt and that you fell out of love with racing, but that is because you probably got frustrated with the car cause "it sucked" or, "it wasn't set up right". Anonymous aka Dickiespeedmaster.

  16. Not at all, Ekdemos, I still love driving cars. What I have fallen out of love with in part is the culture. Too many people who know it all.

    Nice attempt to make a cheap shot at me though. I've never complained about a car being set up wrong, because I learned to setup cars on Mulholland Highway and some of the surrounding mountain roads.

    Added to that I have never trusted my setup to another person. I found the best way to get what I wanted was to put in the time and setup the cars myself.

    I grew up driving Mulholland Highway and some of the surrounding canyon roads, putting 56,000 miles of canyon driving on a 2002 Miata and a Volvo 850. Both of which took time to learn to setup properly.

    It's the attitude you and MH have displayed that is what made me a canyon carving recluse as opposed to a sunday warrior.

    If you want to keep running your mouth you can email me at Zero1Racing@gmail.com and when you fly to California. I'll be happy to race you for whatever amount of money or car you are ballsy enough to decide you don't want anymore.

    My feelings aren't hurt, but my bank account is definitely open.

  17. Wait, how did this get from a Clio Tbone in a race in Dubai to driving Volvos on a Canyon Road in California? :).

  18. Cause thats how I get busy AC.

  19. Well at least you decided to put something other than 'anonymous' to your comments...ANONYMOUS.

    And what makes you think bombing down public roads gives you a track day mentality? Just because I drive 100+ mph on the interstate on my kawi kz1100 does not mean - by any stretch of the imagination - that I'd be prepared to race on a track at the same speeds. I also spend a lot of time on the mountain roads here in New Mexico, probably faster than safe driving would merit, and definitely faster than the speed limits, and even I recognize that in certain situations it's (so far w)reckless.


    Flat-out up the chute to that kink, hard to say for sure but those cars were certainly moving quite a bit faster than most people will ever drive. The time it takes to recognize, decide, and send the electrical impulse to your limbs in such a situation nears at least one second. You aren't an F1 driver, and very few people have the kinds of reaction times (and instinct) those men do, and even they would have difficulty responding to this situation. There isn't enough time to recognize the car is totally stopped - it takes time to compare frames of reference to judge direction of travel (or lack thereof) and determine that motion to that of yourself. JUST THE ACTION OF TURNING THE DAMN WHEEL TAKES A HALF SECOND.

    Then you get into such items as body roll and contact/energy transition in the tires and sidewalls. These things do not happen instantly. Hundredths of a second elapse between the manipulation of the steering wheel before that action is realized at the far corners of the car. Mass will continue to move in the current direction of travel long after the tires themselves are pointed where the driver wants the car to go.

    So why don't YOU stop running your mouth when it's apparent to anyone with some time behind the wheel at speeds in excess of 100mph that the physics involved here simply do not allow for this to be avoidable. Hell, even the color of the car adds to this mess - just before the kink a car of similar color to the stationary car makes the turn at full speed - and then suddenly appears to be stopped in the middle of the track. The way the human brain processes movement, and the expectations/'training' of the mind in the race driver situation, the brain assumes that it had seen that car moving mere seconds previously, and would cause even more delay in realizing that the expected circumstances were not happening here.

    I'm not going go get into the distance the car travels in the space of time represented here. Simple math would show a closing rate far exceeding the capabilities of the car to compensate for. Hell, even the act of taking his foot off the gas in an 'instant' reaction would adversely effect the traction and unsettle the weight distribution in even the best setup race car.

    And, to sort of prove my point, HE DID HIT THAT CAR. Whatever else you have to say on the matter, the preponderance of evidence suggest that, no, the driver did not, in fact, have enough time to avoid this accident. I can only assume that this driver has at the very least some familiarity with his car, and the track, because they don't usually let complete n00bs run flat-out on an F1 circuit in race-prepped ad-covered monsters like this. Not a top formula by any stretch, but probably about twice as fast as that miata you talk about (I personally had a stripped-down mazda that weighed in just under 1,500lbs with bunches of suspension upgrades so I'm not just talking smack here. My daily driver was probably lighter than this car).

  20. It's all good though. I hope for your sake you never find yourself realizing these things on your 'canyon carving' weekends, because I can't imagine you bother wearing a helmet or five-point, and a similar street accident would likely see you as crispy corpse. Just picture it: You come around the corner with your foot on the gas, and just as you realize some other choad is doing the same thing - except in your lane - you jerk the wheel, noting in your last half second on earth that your tires just didn't change direction like you wanted them to. Maybe you locked up the brakes, BECAUSE IT TAKES MORE THAN A HALF SECOND TO FIND THE BALANCE.

    And you can respond here. Get some sense and log in with an account.

  21. I stopped canyon driving a while ago, and to be honest I did wear a helmet when I would go and had a cage installed on my car. I also had full telemetry that I would review for around 5-6 hours after I drove each time.

    Never drove in the day, always at 2am or later. Never crossed the double yellow line either.

    I just get upset when I see a guy almost break his neck and burn alive and guys want to sit behind their computers saying its a "low level mistake" or that "he was way out of his league."

    Things happen, everyones human.

  22. So let me get this right. The next time i am in CA you want me to meet up with you to illegally street race you on your favorite mountain road at 2am. HAHAHAHAHAH. So you left the track you did not like the "know it all mentality of the people there". That is like Manning quitting because he doesn't like the know it all attitude "mentality" of EVERYONE who talks about his performance and others in football. How about the next time you are on the east coast you can come to one of the events I am instructing at and I can give you a few pointers for free. Zero I have read all of the comments here and I do not recall anyone saying it was a low level mistake or he was way out of his league. So you are upset with things you made up in your own head.

  23. Ekdemos-

    I watched some videos on your channel of a driver in a 325 who I am assuming is you? Correct me if I'm wrong:


    To be honest, I would probably fall asleep in your passenger seat. This is what a real road looks like:


    Not me in the video just to be clear and avoid BS flaming.

    I have instructed as well in the past, and I have had ride alongs with some very fast cars around race tracks in So-Cal. I'm not saying this to belittle anyone who drives on a track, but canyon roads are much much more difficult and the room for error is 0 in comparison to a track with wide run off room.

    To me, track days are like sanctioned boxing events. Canyons are like a street fight where anything goes. Make a mistake and it will cost you your life.

    I'll meet you in Jersey at a track. My guess is you won't put your money where your mouth is and run me in the canyons.

  24. Now now fellas... Oh and the salesman in the Teala video, I would have tossed him out after the first minute of nonsense:)

  25. Oh yea that was me. My e30 was running 1.20 all day long and spec e30 record is a 1.19 (from Pete in the axis e30.) No one knows how stupid you are until you open your mouth. You post up a video of a canyon run that is not you and the video is not that great either. That poor m3 didn't even get to strech its legs. You should have stated that you are into canyon auto X. Look if that is what you are into that is great, but I will watch The Fast and Furious on TV. Something is telling me that you have never instructed and that you are full of more Sh*t than a Christmas turkey.
    Oh and lets see track days are like sanctioned boxing events where highly trained fighters go at it in a controlled setting. Street fighting is a bunch of tough guy douche bags trying to see who has the biggest balls. Your comparison is perfect!

  26. It’s only one second from the time the car comes into view until contact is made. One second is not enough time to do anything. ABS, superman reactions, you can’t override the laws of physics and there was way too much speed/inertia in play and not enough grip to overcome it. Jerking the wheel and ABS would have affected the angle of contact a little but the net effect would have been the same. The only way that accident was going to be avoided would have required the driver to see it sooner, vision thru the windows of the car he was behind.

  27. I set FTD a few times at a chumpcar race. I spent about 15 minutes looking at traqmate data afterwards. Does that count for anything?

    I don't think this dude could have dodged the other car...

    Bottom line Ekdemos and Anonymous have neither stepped up to the plate and raced a car. Can they be clear on that for the rest of us? All I can say is I smell fish.

  28. Rob these are my credentials:

    Autocross for about 4 years in C stock SK2 (street tire class allowing hardly any modifications) with a 2002 Miata. Koni yellows, SSR wheels, Falken 615 tires, flyin miata adjustable sway bars.

    Also autocrossed a volvo 850 from the time I was 16 with a very basic suspension setup and sticky R-compound tires.

    Instructed at autocross events driving everything from Fiat X 1/9 equipped with K series honda engine sway (300hp / 1200lbs on hoosier slicks)

    Instructed at Willow Springs Raceway for a brief amount of time (didn't enjoy the track day scene too much)

    Currently racing TaG 125cc Tony Kart EVX 2008 chassis with a PRD 2-stroke engine

    Over the years I have driven on a track or at autocross everything from stock Miatas, turbo miatas, lotus elises, Fiat X 1/9, Ferrari 360 Modena, M3, 335i BMW.

    Raced electric indoor karts for 2 years with a final ranking of 56th out of 31,000 people.

    By the time I was 19 I had spent about 56,000 miles on canyon roads alternating between 3 roads that were 9-12 miles with 140 - 180 corners per road. I got out of the street racing scene after being arrested. There was a task force dedicating to catching me that finally snagged me when I got stuck behind a harley on a sunday drive (stupid decision I made when I was a teenager to drive hard during the day).

    During my underground racing days I raced around 200 people and was never defeated or walked away from on the uphill or down hill. Raced everything from GT40s to Ferrari 430s, EVOs, M3s, Lamborghinis, Lotuses etc etc etc.

  29. I can dig up links to my old Auto-x results and scan the pictures of my indoor karting time sheets if you would like to see them. Also have some old photos of the Miata before I sold it and my old Volvo.

    Had a lot of fun driving mountain roads late at night and spent about 4-5 hours every single day after high school driving all around the Malibu area.

    Even went off the edge of a cliff one time at 90mph in my Miata and was caught by a small tree that stopped my car from going off the edge of a 500 foot ledge. Car was towed out by the right rear lower A-arm with no damage done to any of it's components. Autocrossed the car the weekend after and placed 3rd I think.

  30. picture of my indoor karting time sheet:


    picture of the miata getting towed from the side of the cliff ( sorry for the quality):


    My kart:


    One of my maps I used to cross reference telemetry:


  31. Autocross...is something I do once a year to teach girls how to drive a stick shift. So yes you have confirmed you never banged doors with full size automobile. Go away you stinking pile of shit internet troll.

  32. 56,000 miles on canyon roads? Please, I've got DAYS playing Forza. Never, ever, defeated by my drunk friends. Mario Kart too.

  33. Wow Rob, you remind me of all the dumb redneck kids I met during my 2 years in North Carolina. I already know you wouldn't last the 1st round of a National Solo event.

    Mike- Yeah, I was obsessed with driving from a really early age and I was hungry to learn. When Mulholland is your backyard and you've been dreaming about driving since you were 12 you use it like a girl with her legs spread open.

    AC- I always thought Axis had a more educated Fan base. Maybe you should start mailing out literature to your subscribers.

  34. Rob no door to door just yet. Just Time trials. I decided to instruct for the $$ reasons. When the kids are out of daycare I will be racing a few seasons in spec e30 or SSM, but I have to say I love instructing and will do it for the rest of my life.

  35. Zero, sorry to bust your balls but...sawing on a wheel in a parking lot just isn't very interesting, Miatas are slow. You are out of your element.

    I do indoor karting sometimes too, maybe we can come together on that and high five.

  36. I'm from the school of thought where unless you've done it, you don't get to talk about it.

    My challenge to you is to enter a local autocross, come on the board and post your results.

    So far I'm the only person who has posted up pictures of anything I've actually done.

    Only ignorant people say Miatas are slow. The tighter the track, the more corners per mile, the more the Miata comes into it's element. I've dedicated my entire life since I was 10 to learning the craft and becoming a student of the game. Thats the difference between me and the two of you.

    End of discussion.

  37. I've had EKDemos as an instructor and ridden along for a couple of sessions. As someone who's raced SM for a few years now, I can say that he is very much the real deal.

  38. http://highlandssportscarclub.com/wp-content/event-results/2005ncac_day1_fin.pdf

    Scroll down to EStock my name is Rob Keehner. I finished 2nd at this two day state championship in a borrowed Miata. Jim Pastorius was a regular national competitor at the time and had to run Hoosiers to beat me on day two. The MR2 at the time was also highly dominant in the class, so 2nd isn't bad for a cold start in an unfamiliar car. Like I said, Miatas are slow, I know from experience dude.

    "I'm from the school of thought where unless you've done it, you don't get to talk about it."


  39. Rob-

    Thanks for posting some of your results. Looks like you do ok and now that I know you are speaking from experience we are on more common ground.

    How did he switch to slicks and stay in E Stock though? My understanding was that slicks weren't allowed in "stock" classes.

    Miatas aren't fastest thing on the track, but in autocross they actually do very well in proportion to the other cars in the field. On a very steep mountain road power comes less into play than weight, grip and suspension.

    I always prefer a good downhill canyon road over a track or auto-x due to the risk and excitement involved.

    Thanks again for lending some credibility to your points of view.


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