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Feb 13, 2002

AMA Testing New Audible Rider Warning System At California Speedway

Copyright 2002, Roadracing World Publishing, Inc.<BR><BR>By David Swarts<BR><BR>AMA Pro Racing officials on hand at the multi-team test at California Speedway have several things on their agenda. In addition to finalizing the artificial sections of the Fontana facility's 2.36-mile infield road course and further evaluating their new and improved electronic timing and scoring system, AMA officials are also testing a new audible warning device.<BR><BR>Made by a Morrison, Colorado company called Invader Technologies, Inc., the Audible Alert system was originally designed for use in oval track car racing. Invader Technologies Operations Manager Dave Groustra said that he was approached by AMA Pro Racing's Ron Barrick during the 2001 AMA Superbike National race at Pikes Peak International Raceway to learn more about the system. <BR><BR>Groustra explained that the company developed the product with NASCAR Super Stock racers at Colorado National Speedway in Denver, Colorado and have had some success.<BR><BR>The system's hardware includes a control box with the switches to activate the RF radio signals, receiver/transmitter units carried by the race vehicle and leads connecting the receiver/transmitter box to ear plugs worn by the rider.<BR><BR>Audible Alert has three different, two-second tones. For a yellow flag, riders will hear a solid, warning-style tone. For a red flag, riders will hear a more urgent beeping tone not unlike that of a cell phone ringing. When the racetrack returns to green or when the yellow is removed, a less urgent beeping is heard by the racer. In the case of overlapping, a yellow flag signal will automatically override a green flag signal, and a red flag signal will override both green and yellow tones. <BR><BR>Groustra said that the tones may be altered to better suit motorcycle racers and that a pace car tone may be added because, according to Groustra, Barrick relayed a story to him about a problem with a Pace car at one of their races at Daytona.<BR><BR>"Racers already have a visual overload going on during a race," said Groustra. "With this system, every driver on the track knows the instant that there is a yellow or red flag."<BR><BR>Groustra said that he planned to install his hardware on one of Yamaha's bikes and test the system during the three-day AMA team test at California Speedway. <BR><BR>Plans are also in the works for an Audible Alert system with localized yellow flag tones where riders would only hear the warning as they approached a corner with a caution flag being displayed. Groustra said that this may be one or more years away as the localized system would require the incorporation of a global positioning system (GPS) to accurately relay the signal to specific areas. According to system developers, the localized warning system could be activated by a cornerworker at the scene of an incident or at a central location like Race Control.<BR>