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Mar 19, 2002

WMRRA Commits To Buying 350 Feet of Air Fence, Starts Regional Fund And Raises $10,000 In Two Days

From a WMRRA press release:<BR><BR>The Washington Motorcycle Road Racing Association (WMRRA) is purchasing 350 feet of Air Fence* to protect its riders in three different corners at the newly renamed Pacific Raceways (formerly Seattle International Raceway), and one corner at Spokane Raceway Park. Air Fence and similar products have proven very effective in preventing injury or worse, in tracks around the U.S. with safety issues similar to those faced by WMRRA at Pacific Raceways and Spokane Raceway Park.<BR><BR>In 2002, WMRRA will be hosting seven race weekends at Pacific Raceways, and two at Spokane Raceway Park. Pacific Raceways has three major areas of concern that can and should be addressed with this equipment. Spokane has one area of immediate danger that can and must be addressed with Air Fence<BR><BR>Air Fence is designed to absorb impact. The corners posing the greatest problem with impact at PR are turns 5, 7 and 8. At Spokane, the area of concern is turn 11<BR><BR>PR's turn 5 is a 4th-gear left-hander at the end of the back straight. Until recently, turn 5 had ample runoff, but a wall has been recently erected directly in the middle of the crash zone. The purpose of the wall is to protect car racers from dropping off of the large cliff just behind the wall. However, this wall now poses a significant threat to motorcycle racers, as it has essentially removed all run-off for a racer losing control in the braking or turn-in zone.<BR><BR>WMRRA plans to use 125 feet of Air Fence IIs to protect racers from this wall. This fence will be delivered in time for use at the season opener on April 14th. Racing at PR without Air Fence on this wall is not considered an option. In addition, the Air Fence II s being purchased for Turn 5 can be used in Turn 11 at Spokane Raceway Park.<BR><BR>Turn 7 is a classic "highside" corner. It is the entrance to the crucial hill climb up to turn 8, and the drive out of turn 7 is very important. Many crashes occur on the exit due to losing traction at the rear wheel. An embankment very close to the track means little run-off and high impact. Over the years, there have been several injuries in this corner, including two injuries that required ambulance transport in 2001.<BR><BR>Starting at our June date, this corner will be protected by 100 feet of Air Fence Bike. <BR><BR>Turn 8 is a very-high-speed, 5th-gear corner that is taken at full throttle and full lean angle. The problem with turn 8 is that there is a hard embankment with fencing on the top! In addition to this, on the other side of the embankment is a steep drop-off. On multiple occasions, bikes and riders have literally launched themselves off this embankment and down the hill on the other side. The force of impact on the haybales and tire wall is usually quite high. In the last two seasons, five riders have had injuries serious enough to warrant ambulance transport from crashing in this corner. <BR><BR>For years, WMRRA has dealt with turn 8 by putting multiple layers of haybales in front of the tire wall that abuts the banking.<BR><BR>Options for the racetrack to improve this situation are very limited, as the track does not own the property on the other side of the fence.<BR><BR>Until the new wall was built in 5, turn 8 was considered the priority for Air Fence, and is still considered to be of very high importance.<BR><BR>Starting at our June date, the exit/crash zone of Turn 8 will be protected with 125 feet of Air Fence Bike.<BR><BR>The total cost for this air fence will be approximately $30,000. The track management has agreed that it is in everyone's best interest to purchase this fencing and has agreed to contribute a significant portion of the cost of the equipment. They have also agreed to be responsible for the set up and storage of the Air Fence. The benefit of this is that it will allow at least some of this fence to be used to protect riders during the myriad of non-racing track days that PR is hosting this summer.<BR><BR>However, the rest of the funding has to be supplied by WMRRA, as well as the cost of maintenance and repair. The new WMRRA Air Fence Fund has set a goal of raising $25,000 towards this. Should it become an issue, any money raised in excess of $25,000 in 2002 will be donated to the Roadracing World Air Fence Fund.<BR><BR>The good news is that since an announcement went out to WMRRA members in e-mail on Friday, March 15th response has been overwhelming! The WMRRA Air Fence Fund has already received pledges in excess of $10,000! This will almost cover the first purchase of Air Fence to cover turn 5 and we will have it for our first race weekend. This Air Fence has been ordered.<BR><BR>The bad news is that WMRRA still needs to raise $15,000 more for the second purchase by June. <BR><BR>To pledge to the WMRRA Air Fence Fund, or if there are questions, contact Briggs Willoughby by e-mail at kneepuck@hotmail.com or by phone at (425) 254-0141.<BR><BR>Donations can be sent by check (made out to WMRRA) and mailed to:<BR>WMRRA Air Fence Fund<BR>c/o Briggs Willoughby<BR>12044 SE 76th ST.<BR>Newcastle, WA 98056<BR><BR>100% of the proceeds of donations to the WMRRA Air Fence Fund will be used to purchase and maintain Air Fence.<BR><BR>All contributors to the WMRRA Air Fence Fund will receive acknowledgement on the WMRRA website www.wmrra.com, in the WMRRA newsletter ("The Apex") and in WMRRA race day programs throughout the season, and in press releases.<BR><BR>Links of interest:<BR><BR>www.wmrra.com<BR><BR>http://www.airfence.com<BR><BR><BR>;*Air Fence is a trademark of Airfence Safety Systems of Australia.