May 7, 2001
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Aaron Yates' high-speed crash into an air barrier at Sears Point during the televised 600cc Supersport race made a big impact on viewers, including racers and crew members who saw the crash on TV monitors along pit lane.<BR><BR>In what may be karma, Yates and his wife Heather upped their donation to our Air Fence fund by $300 to a total of $500 the day before his crash into one of the few Air Fence modules in action at Sears Point.<BR><BR>Yates went into the air barrier neck and shoulders first, and his father, Lucky, pointed out that such an impact into haybales (or worse, into a bare concrete or steel barrier) can be very, very serious.<BR><BR>Yates went out of his way to mention Air Fence on the Superbike podium later in the day and in the post-Superbike-race press conference, and to specifically mention roadracingworld.com's efforts to obtain more Air Fence for our racers.<BR><BR>The section of inflated air barrier that Yates hit was an Air Fence module. Although it was not tied down properly, it was still effective and prevented Yates from suffering any injuries.<BR><BR>The AMA currently owns three Air Fence sections and Sears Point itself owns an additional seven sections of Air Fence. Sears Point deploys its Air Fence sections in turns one and 10 for all motorcycle races.<BR><BR>TV coverage of the impact led Rob Nance of Austin, Texas to send this e-mail to roadracingworld.com:<BR><BR>"I am curious what the folks at Roadracing World have to say about the Speedvision coverage of the AMA weekend, more specifically, their comments about Air Fence in the AMA Supersport 600 race. When Yates went down, the announcers quickly stated that the Air Fence placed by the AMA saved his life in more or less words. Nothing was said about the fact that he hit one of just several at the track that day, and the fact that the AMA had put off requisition of the aformentioned 29 sections they had been talking about.<BR><BR>"Yates lucked out; thankfully, due to the efforts of John Ulrich, Roadracing World, and the great fans of motorcycle racing everywhere, the next guy won't have to get lucky. I guess the Speedvision guys could have gotten in a lot of trouble for mentioning the fact that there was very little Air Fence used at Sears Point, but I think the additional 'AMA cares about racers' they alluded too was a bit much, considering how false the assumption is.<BR><BR>"Keep up the great work Roadracing World!"<BR><BR><BR>There will be 15 new sections of Air Module at Road Atlanta May 15, along with two representatives of Alpina Safety Systems to oversee correct deployment and installation of the sections. Additional sections of Air Fence will arrive shortly after the Road Atlanta weekend.<BR><BR>Meanwhile, OMRRA President Spiros Gabrilis sent this message of supprt:<BR><BR>"On behalf of its membership, the OMRRA Board has pledged $500 toward the Air Fence safety fund. OMRRA employees a small section of Air Fence and we can attest to the life-saying benefits of the barriers. It's a comforting feeling to see that so many in the industry and the sport have answered your call. More important, though, we can all draw certain unambiguous conclusions from the glaring absence of certain names from your list.<BR><BR>"In any motorsport event, rider safety must be the first concern of all involved. Alot of people seem to understand that. One wonders why others who should, don't.<BR><BR>"Thanks for your efforts."<BR><BR><BR>At Sears Point, Dennis Pegelow's DP Enterprises and Stratton Racing's Stuart Stratton contributed to the fund.<BR><BR>An updated posting of new contributions and total donations will be posted soon.