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HANS (Head And Neck Support) Devices

Geoff's Van Diemen after the accident

From the Forum, Geoff Fern wrote the following. As a matter of principle, the club does not give safety advice as it is the responsibilty of the competitor. However, for anybody who doesn't frequent the forum (for example our paper readers) this is an interesting piece.

I have good reason to thank Dr Steve Griffin for a post he put on the forum a few years ago. It basically said a HANS device is the best safety device you can buy, cheaper than a wheelchair should you have a big one, if you have the former you will not need the latter. I am so glad I took his advice, at Mallory I left Gerards halfway round at 100mph plus, hit the wet grass, and head on into the Armco, one row of tyres were totally inefective,100 to 0 in about 18 inches, the violence of that sort of deceleration is hard to believe, and not an experience I wish to repeat, despite the seat belts my chest hit the steering wheel the rubber was worn off the HANS device in a split second. There is no way my neck, or anyone elses, could have taken that without the HANS, the consequences of me not having one do not bear thinking about.

As we all know most accidents are not like this, most times you go in at some sort of angle, take a corner or two off, bounce about and dissipate some energy, plenty of damage but not too much pain. Safety is ok at a lot of circuits, but there are still plenty of places where we race that are well below F1 standards.

The more people that can learn from my experience the better, if Steve had not had Dr in front of his name I would probably have not taken him too seriously, it would be a good thing if he could write a bit more on the subject. Dr Sid Watkins says the HANS device is the most important safety measure introduced in the last 30 years. I am very pleased to say Chris Woodhouse has invested in one, also Gary and Christopher Hill, both I believe as a direct result of viewing the aftermath of my accident, they (HANS) are a bit restrictive when you first use them but its like riding a bike, you soon get used to it.

So to sum up please go out and buy one, yes they are expensive, hopefully you will never need it, but life in a wheelchair is not a good way to go if it can be avoided, wives and girlfriends, mothers and fathers, go out and get one for the driver in your life, call it a birthday or Xmas present, but do it now.

Geoff Fern

This page has a Quicktime video of a Hans test. Worth watching.




The Schroth version

Stand21 / Willans version