RST save the day
Day three and feelin' good
Picture the scene, if you will. We were on the third of three glorious days on the Spanish race track that is the iconic Circuito Jerez when Luke, this may or may not be his real name to save his blushes, demonstrated his talents as both a motorcycle racer and trackday enthusiast.
Coming out of the second to last corner before the main straight, while being ridden at quite a brisk pace, his vile and evil Suzuki decided to engage in a highside and launched our hero into the air. Once he achieved altitude a number of things were going to follow with a determined predictability.
There are two issues with motorcycle accidents which involve the rider leaving their motorcycle in an accident. One is the impact as they hit the deck. The other is the sliding that takes place afterwards. Traditionally the impact causes broken bones, torn ligaments, concussion and a host of other unpleasantness. Rather wonderfully that initial impact is frequently followed by several more. This we would casually refer to as ‘bouncing down the track’. Then there's the slide part which isn’t all that wonderful either.
Depending on the speed and the quality of the clothing it will commence to disintegrate. This leaves things such as knees, elbows, hips, buttocks and such to take the brunt of the sliding process. Ironically it’s best to let the slide continue as long as possible, thereby dissipating the energy and avoiding a second impact.
Mitigating against all of this is the one piece suit. RST make some of the finest ones on the market, in part because the boss likes to race and knows what he wants.
Suit for sale...
Traditionally the suit is made of leather. Once the goat and the cow have been lured into the back of the truck, killed, had their skin peeled off and dried we have the basic ingredients. This we call the hide. Traditionally the hide is supplemented by stretch panels. Companies like RST add a number of different protective elements.
Internal armour is fitted to the knees, hips, elbows and shoulders. A relatively new feature is the external armour which has been added to the shoulders, elbows and knees. The inner is softer and designed to absorb the impact bit. The exterior is then designed to assist with the sliding part of the equation.
Rolling with it
The quantum leap is the back protector. In partnership with French company, In&Motion, RST now use airbags in their kit. Powered by an integrated battery, these things are nothing short of amazing. The management system in the unit can predict and react to falls in milliseconds.
Once it does inflate the back is covered from above the shoulders to below the coccyx. The front and sides protect the ribs and the shoulders inflate to ‘lock’ the wearers helmet into place via shoulder inflation. This last one prevents the hyper extension associated with upper spinal injuries.
Luke, meanwhile, hit the ground, rolled and slid for long enough to get the red flags waving. At a speed of well over 200KPH he was up and wandering about the pit garages looking for bits to put his Suzuki back together before the next group had gone out.
As for the suit, RST reviewed the images and declared it to now be a ‘souvenir’. Lukes suit saved the day. The reduction in deaths and serious injury thanks to kit like this changes the game significantly. Even better is that all this tech is available in road clothing as well. See Kennedy Motorcycles in Drogheda for a fitting and presentation. Bravo RST and In%Motion!
In The Bag