Motocross

Opinion: Does strong mean safe?

Opinion: Does strong mean safe?

Have you ever seen the footage of the WW1 tank corp showing off their newest wonder weapon to King George V? Basically it shows an armoured personnel carrier going up and over this huge ammunition bunker and crashing down from a great height like it ain’t even a thing.

When it eventually does come to a halt, two of the crew emerge – shaken but not stirred – and give a good old Tommy-tastic thumbs up regarding the performance of their vehicle and also the comfort of its ride. What the King – no, not Elvis – or nobody else that saw the original copy of the film ahead of the main feature in cinemas around 100 years ago knew was that the rest of the crew were all still inside unconscious. Let’s not allow the truth to get in the way of a good bit of propaganda, eh?

My eldest son Jake has become a bit of a history buff of late after gelling with a particular teacher at his secondary school. You know what kids are like – they know absolutely everything, right? – and so when I showed him this clip, as it related to a topic they were working on in class, he just wouldn’t have it that people could get hurt inside something so strong as a tank.

His argument was that the tank was constructed out of “really thick steel” and “must have been dead strong” since it looked just the same after coming down from atop that bunker like a 28-ton-tin-of-infantrymen as it had before. “I mean,” he continued as if about to deliver the killer blow in his closing argument, “if that racing driver on that YouTube clip you made me watch the other day could walk away from a car that disintegrated around him at 200 miles per hour then the guys in the tank would definitely have been okay too.”

I liked his logic but no – that’s not the reality of it. Now go tidy your room…

Of course, the difference between a World War 1 tank and a modern-day open-wheel race car is massive and a century on from WW1 we now understand how to protect people inside things much more effectively. I don’t know the ins and outs of tank technology but I do know that a major part of a race car – in fact any kind of car – build is now focussed on safety with crumple zones coming as standard and the vehicle designed to deform and disintegrate to a certain degree in order to protect the squishy end user inside.

The same can be said of other things that look after the user such as motorcycle helmets. Whereas the old train of thought was that strong (like bull) equals safe, the new wave reckon that by adding deceleration, deformation and crumple-zone technology into the build the likelihood of serious brain injury is massively reduced. Other considerations are taken into account too including objectives on trying to lessen twisting forces for example and also the effect that helmet shape might have on neck injuries.

There are a few companies at the absolute forefront of this technology and Leatt is one of them so I can honestly say that the helmet that Brad Anderson wore at Hawkstone Park at the weekend would have worked exactly as it was designed to and ultimately will have kept Ando’s injuries to an absolute minimum. Given the state of his face after the crash that may not be all that easy to believe but just be thankful that Brad had state-of-the-art technology protecting his bonce and not something as antiquated as a WW1 tank.

Get well soon champ and may I just say that I’ve never seen your lips look so plump – who even needs collagen and fillers?

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