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Safety Accessories

Crash Helmets

Motorcycle and Motor Racing helmets have different requirements and are tested differently. For track days so long as the helmet is approved to BS6658 Type B or its European equivalent marking, then you should be OK. There are other approval bodies like the SNELL foundation but they are voluntary testing and so not all manufacturers use them. I've never had anyone check my helmet for any of the trackdays I've done. The key thing when buying a helmet is to try it on. It has to be comfortable. Generally, the more you spend the more exotic the materials and the lighter it will be. Lighter is good as there is a lot of momentum in a helmet when you hit something at speed.

If you ever want to enter into any motor sport (hill climb / sprint etc) then you will need a helmet approved to BS5568 Type A but these are generally more expensive as they have to withstand more stringent testing. The gold sticker is the "Approved for Motor Cycle racing" sticker. According to the BS6658. Type A is what used to be the motorsport spec and Type B the motorcycle specs. These were amalgamated into the current BS6658 and called Type A and B respectively. The tests are slightly different in that the Type A test includes simulating hitting a rollcage and can withstand more impacts without penetrating the outer shell.

Fire Extinguisher

It is a good idea to carry on of these in any car just in case, but probably more so in the Elise, simply because it has a compact engine bay with some very hot components in proximity to combustable materials (e.g. oil and exhaust). Being fibre glass a small fire can also do a lot of damage unless put out quickly. Aluminium also has the undesirable property of burning once a high enough temperature has been reached. A serious fire in an Elise will not leave much intact, as the following sites show: A small fire extinguisher can be bought for less than 20 and should be mounted within reach of the driver. Drilling into the rear bulkhead is not a good idea since the engine and petrol tank lie behind it. Velcro is not recommended to fix it and bolting it to the foot rest is also not a good idea as it is only held in place by velcro. The only real solution is to mount it infront of the passenger seat. You can drill into the grooved bar in front of the seat but most owners use a special fabricated mounting bracket which utilises the seat mounting bolts to hold it in place. The Lotus service manual recommends the use of Rivnuts into the foot plate (in front of the seat) and shows the precise location required, in order to provide a firm mounting. Bear in mind that if you have a big fire, a small hand-held fire extinguisher isn't going to do much good.

Lotus sell a suitable fire extinguisher and also a motorsport item that is plumbed into the engine bay. Some examples of fitting of fire extinguishers can be found on-line:

Places that sell them include:

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Copyright © Rob Collingridge 2009 - Last updated 07 Jun 2007