Motorsport, no matter on what level you participate, from grasskhanas to the top ranks of New Zealand circuit racing, is dangerous. We all know it; hell, do you think all those safety crews and ambulance staff hang out trackside poised for action all weekend just for the free entry? So, when one of the biggest tracks in New Zealand goes and makes head restraints mandatory for all competitors and passengers, at no real financial gain to its business, why are so many of us getting up in arms, screaming about how much it costs, when all we should be doing is asking, ‘Where do I buy one?’
Full disclosure here: I’m yet to purchase one myself, but I fully intend to before my first actual race event, even if that means missing a race or two so that I can afford one. Why? Because I think the required investment of well under $1K is a small price to pay knowing just how much safer I’ll be in my home-built death machine. What it really comes down to is what value you put on your own life, your mobility, or simply being able to get up and go to work to pay for your automotive habit. Even if you only attend the odd track day, all it takes is one crash and your life could be over. While that might sound a little OTT, it’s happened often enough before; why do you think they invented the damn things in the first place? Just ask guys like Andy Duffin, ‘Mad Mike’ Whiddett, Robbie Ward, or Owen Evans — all of who are extremely lucky to still be alive today — how quickly things can go wrong in a race car.
I didn’t intend for this to sound like some sort of scare-tactic sales pitch, but if you study motorsport history in any depth, you’ll see how many drivers who, chances are, would be alive today had they been wearing such devices. I get that they are expensive, but, in my eyes, they should be just as important as a decent roll cage, seats, or harness, and while I’m sure there are those who are pissed that they have to have even those basic safety devices, a head restraint is now just an added extra. In light of this, we have put together a small tech piece on page 84 to point you in the right direction, and I suggest you give it a read over before buying. I also implore you to try on a few different models before pulling the trigger, as they all feel a little different. Scare-tactic sales pitch over.
In other news, I’d like to extend a big thanks to all those who I yarned to or who gave me a hand with the BMW at Chrome. We managed to sneak in a few test laps for the new intercooler and swag of other changes. It didn’t go as smoothly as I would have liked, but the issues were super minor and easily fixed. Now, to save for a head restraint so I can cut some serious laps.