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Author Topic: El Mirage – To Be or Not To Be  (Read 23701 times)
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fastesthonda_jim
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« on: November 19, 2017, 06:13:34 PM »

Gentlemen, ladies, and speed junkies of all sorts,
As I understand it, four racers went out the back door this past meet and the BLM came within a hair of closing down the meet.
We need to hold onto this thing.  This “thing” called Elmo.  
In the past, times were simpler.  There were fewer non-racers to “interact” with, speeds, on average, were not so high, and there was no BLM.
I’ll bet if you’ve been to a drivers’ meeting lately, you’ve gotten the sense that our days at Elmo may be numbered.  Staying open is getting harder and more procedure-bound at every event.
The BLM asks simply, “No one out the Back Door.”  (They ask other things, but No Back Door is Item Number One).  I kind of have to agree with them.  I frankly think our days at Elmo are going to end the INSTANT one of our entrants hits and severely injures (or worse) some errant 6-year-old on a mini quad.
What to do?  We've tried fines, cones, lights, balloons, and nothing works 100%.
Well, to me the answer is simple.  It may not be easy, but it is simple, and I'm completely serious about this.
We need to race in the other direction, i.e., East to West.
The advantages are numerous – here are some:
1.   Right off the bat, such positioning would project a much stronger race ”presence” for that entire end of the lake for the tourists who wander over our way wondering, “Hey, what’s going on here?”  50 or so trailers and motor homes spread across the lake, plus all the starting line hoopla, would be far more “informative” than the “magnet” of a lonely line of cones, and some 25MPH signs (“Hey, I wonder what those are for?  Let’s go see.”).  Might even boost revenue at the sales trailer, not to mention heightening spectator interest and creating more racers.  A good thing since “some” of us seem to be getting older.
2.   It’s closer to town (okay, that’s not too big a deal, but still).
3.   No sun in your eyes on those early morning passes.
4.   Fewer patrols needed.  (Not nearly as many of those, “No one’s looking.  I’ll just cut across here.”)
5.   And most importantly - no “Back Door” happenings.  Ever.
“Well,” you might say, “If someone goes out the Back Door, they’ll end up crashing into the pucker bushes.”  (Or possibly add their vehicle to the inventory at Callaway’s Fine Used Cars.)   True, life may get pretty tough for them pretty quick.  But their problem will be theirs alone and won’t involve any innocent bystanders.  Might even get them (us) to take shutting down (brakes, parachutes, etc.) more seriously.
They might end up bruised and battered.  But, we’d still get to race.  (And no one has ever said what we do is safe.)
The BLM might even consent to us closing off the entire West end of the lake since East to West orientation would make our “needs” finite.
And, yes, the lake surface isn’t as good starting from the East end.  But it’s way better than no surface at all.
I know there’s more to this discussion.  I simply want to start a conversation.  
Frankly, I think our biggest hurdle may be our self-imposed inertia of “We’ve always done it this way.”  
In that vein, let me remind you.  Our notion of, “Oh, we can’t (or we won’t) do that,” doesn’t hold a candle to the Power of the BLM and their ability to utter the simple statement, “No more.  Not here.  Not ever.  Period!”
Keep the shiny side up.
Jim Knapp
« Last Edit: November 19, 2017, 09:57:28 PM by fastesthonda_jim » Logged

2006 SCTA High Points Champeen
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Bonneville "2" Club 2003
El Mirage Dirty "2"'s 2006
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RichFox
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« Reply #1 on: November 19, 2017, 07:33:18 PM »

Sounds good to me. Or maybe extend the shutoff area another 500 feet.
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fastesthonda_jim
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« Reply #2 on: November 19, 2017, 08:42:16 PM »

With respect Rich, we've already added 500+ feet and the problem still exists.  I have watched experienced racers still on it a couple hundred yards from the"point" (The Back Back Door).  And then argue with the SCTA crew about their infraction.  And yes, if we were going the other way they would have hit the puckers at 120+.  Bet they wouldn't have been so argumentative.
Just sayin'
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2006 SCTA High Points Champeen
2006 Dirty "2" Wrench Of The Year
Bonneville "2" Club 2003
El Mirage Dirty "2"'s 2006
Bonneville Records: G/GS, F/GS (Boy)  G/FS (Girl)
El Mirage Records: F/BFS, F/FS, F/GS, I/FS, I/GS, K/BGS
FIA Records A, II, 8
Unlimited License
300mph line qualified (305.129 best mile speed)
The older half of San Diego's Fastest Couple
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« Reply #3 on: November 19, 2017, 08:51:57 PM »

It would be hard to miss the end of the runout. You would have to know you went to far.
« Last Edit: November 19, 2017, 08:58:32 PM by RichFox » Logged
Eddieschopshop
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« Reply #4 on: November 20, 2017, 01:09:44 AM »

There are several reasons where running the other direction are problematic.  How bout this. 

Close the east side of the lake bed.

I think it would not be hard to do actually.  There is a road that goes across the north side of the lake that can be used for access to the pits/start line and spectators can go around the West end to get to the other side.  And no spectators past the finish or even half track.
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TheBaron
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« Reply #5 on: November 20, 2017, 11:01:15 AM »

Wow! 4 cars out the "Back Door" is a disaster .....

IF I was tasked with maintaining safe operations at the El Mirage race Id be crazy upset...

We had better come up to a solution to this before next race season or else it will not be pretty....

I see a three level issue:

1- Drivers are too inept or caring to shut down properly plus equipment failures (chutes, brakes, etc)  cause a vehicle to go "long" .

2- Vehicles are getting faster and faster making #1 more likely.

3- There is no physical barrier of any type preventing a vehicle from going "long".

Single solution answer?

" ARRESTING BARRIER NETTING " strung across the normal end of course (Not the emergency overrun area) with 50lb sandbags attached at discrete intervals along a long drag cables on both sides of the netting ends. This would be to provide a progressively increasing mass load for the netting.

$$$ would not be insurmountable ....

Labor for setup and teardown of the barrier system could be provided by the clubs that have  members that  go out the "BackDoor"

In addition:

Video records of when and where chutes are pulled could be used for hefty fines and racing licenses  being voided.

Larger and/or multiple chutes could be required on the faster vehicles that have trouble slowing down  comfortably...

My 2 Cents,

Robert "Smitty" Smith

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Milwaukee Midget
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« Reply #6 on: November 20, 2017, 11:32:35 AM »

In the spirit of the open discussion:

What about shortening it to 1 mile?  That'll gain you 1600 extra feet, make grooming a safe track easier, and limit the top speeds.

I realize that 1.3 has been the standard for years, but when the 1.3 standard was set, few thought we'd be looking at 283 mph runs, regardless of their "officialality".
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"Problems are almost always a sign of progress."  Harold Bettes
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« Reply #7 on: November 20, 2017, 01:34:42 PM »

In the spirit of the open discussion:

What about shortening it to 1 mile?  That'll gain you 1600 extra feet, make grooming a safe track easier, and limit the top speeds.

I realize that 1.3 has been the standard for years, but when the 1.3 standard was set, few thought we'd be looking at 283 mph runs, regardless of their "officialality".

Good idea Chris and it makes sense. Big changes need to happen or we are history.

How about mandatory four wheel brakes? Or on the entry form in red "5 year suspension of drivers license if out the back door violation occurs?

5000 lb. vehicles traveling over 250 mph equals a long distance to stop if parachutes fail with only rear brakes.

NHRA shortened the track for T/F and F/C maybe it is time for us to do the same.

Tom G.
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Asking questions is one's only way of getting answers. As a young boy I was always taught that there is no such thing as a stupid question. It suggests that the quest for knowledge includes failure, and that just because one person may know less than others they should not be afraid to ask rather than pretend they already know. In many cases multiple people may not know but are too afraid to ask the "stupid question"; the one who asks the question may in fact be doing a service to those around them.
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« Reply #8 on: November 20, 2017, 02:57:36 PM »

I was asked to get a larger chute and I weigh less than 3500# and am running on records of less than 230
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fastesthonda_jim
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« Reply #9 on: November 20, 2017, 04:34:13 PM »

"Skilled" drivers, myself included, have gone out thee back door for various reasons.  At the other extreme, I think it was Pete Prentice who had a chute failure at 300+ and got it stopped inbounds.
And I don't know if all of the solutions have been discussed, but IMHO license suspension for infraction should not be part of the discussion.  Not out of disrespect, but simply out of what I perceive as the reality of One More Back Door may result in a permanent suspension of your racing (and everyone else's) whether you have a license or not.
I would be interested in knowing what exactly is "problematic" about running the other direction.  I will not deny there will be some difficulties, but doing it the way we have always done is going to quite soon result in us not doing it at all.  And frankly I can think of no other 100% solution.  Not 99.9% - 100%.
Over-
« Last Edit: November 20, 2017, 04:36:59 PM by fastesthonda_jim » Logged

2006 SCTA High Points Champeen
2006 Dirty "2" Wrench Of The Year
Bonneville "2" Club 2003
El Mirage Dirty "2"'s 2006
Bonneville Records: G/GS, F/GS (Boy)  G/FS (Girl)
El Mirage Records: F/BFS, F/FS, F/GS, I/FS, I/GS, K/BGS
FIA Records A, II, 8
Unlimited License
300mph line qualified (305.129 best mile speed)
The older half of San Diego's Fastest Couple
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manta22
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« Reply #10 on: November 20, 2017, 07:57:39 PM »

How about stringing a soft barrier across the end of the course? A thin flexible orange perforated plastic "snow fence" or "traffic barrier" held in plastic by a few willow wands would be a very visible indication to a driver that it is the END of the course. If, for whatever reason, he goes through it, no significant damage would occur but his embarrassment would be profound and the color of his face might match that of the barrier. The plastic is cheap and easily replaceable.

Regards, Neil  Tucson, AZ
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Regards, Neil  Tucson, AZ
Eddieschopshop
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« Reply #11 on: November 20, 2017, 10:26:13 PM »

I don't think Running the other way would solve anything.  We still need runnout beyond the course area. So if this area is not closed to the public the same problem will happen only in the other direction.  Running the other way is problematic for a couple reasons at least.  One ..  Dust,  we typically get west to east wind.  The dust would constantly be blown into the face of everyone on the start, stage, pits etc.  Two the dirt is worse the further east you go.  So the best dirt would be wasted in our "runout" area not even being used on the course.  And again the dust would be much worse at the start area because of said dirt.

Changin the course length would mean retiring all current records and start with completely new minimums etc.  Can you imagine?  In my opinion a lot of the backdoors are people not paying attention.  They only stop once they see the lane narrowing and the long line of cones across the back door.  Course length or shut down length doesn't solve this.  This is mostly a driver issue.  The occasions due to actual real (not claimed) mechanical or chute issues is small.

The only thing the far end is used for is to come and go from the track. With the exception of a small amount of other users.  I personally think closing the East end of the lake bed would be a viable option if in fact this is a real problem.   It is a real problem in the terms of BLM relations,  but I don't know how much of a real safety issue it is.  People are typically driving around 50 to 60 off the end of the lake anyway a race car (while it isn't supposed to be there) doesn't have anymore safety risk at that speed down there than a regular car.  Yes I know that arguement holds no water with anybody but its the truth. 

How about extending our shutdown area , with a false back door.  An area where you get your Acura chewed for violating but we are still within our own race area and not into the BLM's Acura chewing area?
 
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« Reply #12 on: November 20, 2017, 11:05:43 PM »


" ARRESTING BARRIER NETTING " strung across the normal end of course (Not the emergency overrun area) with 50lb sandbags attached at discrete intervals along a long drag cables on both sides of the netting ends. This would be to provide a progressively increasing mass load for the netting.


Smitty, I've only attended Elmo events twice, so I'm no expert, but that would worry me.

If somebody was at the end spectating, or if a course worker who was keeping an eye on the back door was on the outside of the netting, even if they had the presence of mind to run perpendicular to the trajectory of a car unable to stop, you've possibly turned the safety net into a 100-300 foot wide snare that could wind up tripping or dragging a person across the lakebed until the vehicle finally came to a stop.

The other aspect of that is that it works according to plan.  Then it's all-hands-on-deck to get the safety net set back up again if somebody did roll through it. 

I'm always hearing grumbling about not being able to get runs in.  Throw in another 45 minutes of labor in the middle of an event, and that's another dozen racers waiting in line.

Changin the course length would mean retiring all current records and start with completely new minimums etc.  Can you imagine?   

I'd think the 1.3 records would stand, but would need to be separated.

While I've never understood the reason for minimums, a clean sheet with hundreds of open records is what I see there. 

That actually sounds more like an opportunity than a problem.
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"Problems are almost always a sign of progress."  Harold Bettes
Well, I guess we're making a LOT of progress . . .  rolleyes

We are NOT rebuilding . . . We are reloading.

GOD SAVE MG - The Queen can take care of herself!
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« Reply #13 on: November 20, 2017, 11:18:06 PM »

Hmmm:
 go out the back and you and your car can not run with for at least a full season and must have 4 wheel brakes that must be demonstrate stopping capablity at all lisc speeds with a brake porportioning valve to be demonstrated that the car is capable of locking up both frt and rear brakes when  valve is changed to favor one axle off for each axle.

 Another suggestion drivers lisc. have a B'ville side and a EL M side with all lisc on each side with all lisc listed:

El M Competition lisc.      Comp.Director    Date              Comp. Dir     Date
Rookie Class completed   E ________        _____         D________     _____
                                     C ________       ______        B ________    _____
                                     A ________       ______       AA________    _____
                          Unlimited________       ______         __________   ______
 ONE LISC> but each track has it own lisc. up procedure and sign offs

driver and car be kept in the rookie line until signed off by competition director to run on a record---IE there would now sorta be rookie cars
« Last Edit: November 20, 2017, 11:21:19 PM by SPARKY » Logged

Miss LIBERTY,  changing TKI  to noise, dust and RUST!!!

The # 1 issue is: TO KEEP THE REPUBLIC      
   Center for Self Governance            tncsg.org     mrspowell.org

"Security is mostly a superstition. It does not exist in nature, nor do the children of men as a whole experience it. Avoiding danger is no safer in the long run than outright exposure. Life is either a daring adventure or nothing."   Helen Keller
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« Reply #14 on: November 20, 2017, 11:37:13 PM »

2 year suspension for vehicle, vehicle owner and driver at El Mirage and 5 year suspension for vehicle, vehicle owner and driver at Bonneville will be the most effective . Simple. Cheap and easy to enforce .   Drag racers don't continue another course length under power, they are shutting down at the finish line, they are watching for it, they never miss it. They know the shut down area is limited, what racer at El Mirage doesn't know where the finish line is and that the shut down area is limited unlike Bonneville?
   Dalton and the Flashpoint car had no problem 283mph out of the rookie lane, it can be done, just be aware.
   
   Keny
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