Fatal Crashes in Land Speed Racing





TZ750d

Registered
2016 report





We had three(3) notable crashes in 2016,


which yielded one highly disappointing


(and to a large degree unexplained)


death of one of motorcycle LSR’s most


revered and experienced racers.

* * * *





The beautiful, talented and entertaining


“Tu Tu Sue” Brenda Sue Carver, found herself


running fast on a preliminary run at Loring.





Brenda is one of the fastest woman riders


in the world, and is especially experienced


and proficient on pavement.





For poorly-understood reasons, Brenda Sue found


herself drifting her Hayabusa to the side of the track,


and crashing at possibly as fast as 225 mph.


The crash essentially ended the meeting,


Brenda was transported to hospital, and the


injuries resulted in the loss of much of her right leg.





No reliable opinions about the cause of
Carver's accident have been put forward.


* * * *


Guy Caputo, many-times Maxton record holder


and Wilmington Motorcycle Safety Inspector crashed


his Hayabusa at the Ohio track at about 250mph,


as estimated by on-board data.





Informed opinions about the cause(s) are scant,


but Guy and others at the track place most


of the blame on side winds. Fairing design


may have played a part.





Guy was properly dressed, but still suffered


extensive damage to his upper spine which


required fixation, and a still-continuing course


of treatment, almost a year later.





Almost all of spinal problems came to his neck area,


and he was not wearing neck protection (See post #54).


* * * *




The most troubling crash, and the most disappointing,


was to Sam Wheeler at an early-season race at Bonneville.





Sam’s injuries were eventual fatal in Hospital


after a medivac protocol.





Sam was riding in his world-famous (


and world record-setting) streamliner,


which had been previously timed at over 355mph,


about 10 years ago.





Sam was fully outfitted in protective gear,


including neck protection. The bike, a result


of 50 years of design and riding experience,


had huge crash protection built in, including


extensive head and neck protection.





At about 2 miles into a practice run, Sam’s ‘liner


lost control and crashed, resulting in


Sam’s eventually-fatal injuries.





The fatal injuries were to the head.





Sam’s “crash speed” of less than 200 mph


left observers stunned, since Sam had previously


crashed the same bike at over 350mph, and walked away.





Qualified safety experts were hugely surprised that


such a relatively slow crash in a streamliner could prove fatal.


At least one expert voiced concern that at the time of the crash,


Sam had not driven the ‘liner in almost 10 years,


and had gained enough weight that he did not properly


fit into the “roll structure” of the bike.





Experts and observers both were puzzled by how


one of the safest motorcycles could allow fatal injuries


to a rider properly dressed and strapped in.





Also unexplained was how a rider with 50 years of Bonneville


riding experience could crash at “half-speed”


on an essentially windless day, with no known mechanical defects.


* * * *


There is a lot we don’t know,


and I suspect there is far more that


we don’t know that we don’t know……………
 



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