Honda Canada Racing Presents the Monday Gate Drop

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Good day and welcome to another edition of the Honda Canada Racing Monday Gate Drop. One week from today we’ll all be getting ready to celebrate Christmas Day and the joy that it hopefully brings you and your family. Before I get into the news of the week I just want to wish everyone out there a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!

Cole Thompson was named my 2018 Rider of the Year. Photo by James Lissimore

This past week while putting together my 2018 Golden Elbow Awards, I was quickly reminded just how many incredible moments there have been during the past year. When the gate dropped for the first time back in Abbotsford, BC there was definitely some excitement in the air. For the first time in our history, riders in the Canadian pro series had to compete in both indoor and outdoor races to win the overall Rockstar Energy Triple Crown Series Championship. From that cold and snowy day in Abbotsford to another cold day in Hamilton in November, the series visited almost every part of this great country. Even though the first year of this new series had a few ups and downs, I still like the idea of having our riders race multiple disciplines in order to win a title. After all, back in the 1990s most of our top pros raced in just as many indoor events as they did outdoors. I’ve said this a few times but I believe that every rider should race or at least practice on some tight indoor type tracks at some point during the season. As we witnessed with a few of our older pro riders in 2018, this type of training can make you a better all around rider. Anyway, the final four Golden Elbow Awards will be announced tomorrow.

On Thursday I’m headed to the JGR Suzuki Team HQ just north of Charlotte for a tour as well as a meet and greet. Photo by Frank Hoppen

On Wednesday, my family and I are hitting the road to Fort Mill, South Carolina for Christmas. Fort Mill is a small city just south of Charlotte at the North Carolina border. My wife’s best friend lives there, and we spent last Christmas there as well. It’s not exactly hot down there in late December, but as long as it’s warmer than here in Ontario that is all that matters. This is a vacation so we sadly won’t be riding while we’re there. However, I will be doing some work while I’m there as on Thursday I’m heading to the JGR Suzuki Team HQ for a tour of their race shop. If the weather permits I will also get a chance to head out to the test track to watch the team ride and test. Obviously, I’m extremely excited about this opportunity as it should be very cool. The story on my visit will appear in the first MXP Magazine of 2019, but I will be posting photos and giving you a summary of the tour in next week’s Monday Gate Drop.

This past week the first photos of Jess Pettis on his new KTM surfaced on Social Media. Jess also posted a video on his Instagram of him doing some SX testing. Obviously, Pettis looked good, and testing for Anaheim 1 is going well thus far. With just a few weeks until A1 Jess and his preparation will most definitely have to be fast tracked. In talking briefly to Pettis this morning, he said that so far everything has been going great and he’s feeling more comfortable each day on his new KTM.

 

Also last week there was a press release sent out on some recent findings on whether or not neck braces really work or not. In case you missed it here is what was sent out:

Introduction/Background

Action Sports EMS is an ambulance service catering to the amateur motocross industry in five states. Founded in 2008 in Northern Wisconsin we have managed to procure some of the largest motocross venues in the Midwest. Our annual coverage includes multiple area and regional Loretta Lynn qualifiers, Flat track grand nationals, ISOC, sno-cross events, and more. We work directly for the AMA providing care and transport at various events, often managing over 1000 riders in a single weekend.

Over the years we have overheard and had conversations about the positives and perceived negatives of wearing various kinds of safety gear, in particular neck braces. Regardless of make or manufacturer people seem to think they are “bad”. This perception may be based on old designs, personal experiences, social media commentary, and/or a total lack of knowledge when it comes to body mechanics.


Riders from age 6 to age 50+ have shared some horrific fallacies about neck braces, much of this information is coming from other riders during what we call “campfire talk”. More frustrating are trainers with junior riders feeding this information to parents and young riders. Some examples:

A neck brace will break your collarbone. • You cannot look up a hill or jump so don’t wear one. • You cannot compete wearing one of these and not many Pro’s wear them. • They will break your upper back and cause nerve damage or paralysis. • They are uncomfortable. • They restrict movement. • They are stupid looking. • None of them fit right.

We as a team feel our riders need to be educated on the mechanics of a neck brace, what it can and cannot do. Furthermore, we must dispel these myths about a product designed to help protect the cervical spine and potentially save a life. The same can be said for seat belts and air bags many decades ago.

We feel the results of this actual patient data is proof that neck braces are providing the results intended since their creation. This is something the manufacturers of these devices have known for several years, and we hope the extensiveness of this report (and other reports like it) will finally show people real world data. We feel the manufacturers are on the right path and the data from the study will back up their claims.

Data Collected *Data is collected for all patient contacts per DHS rule in any state a provider is licensed.

Data in this study has been collected from January 2009 to October 2018, (nearly 10 years) and includes 9430 total patients, 8529 of which fall into the criteria pertaining to wearing (or not wearing) a neck brace, along with Cervical Spine and/or Clavicle injuries, and/or deaths recorded during this time. The other 901 predate the “Yes brace or No brace” question, so data from these instances was excluded. This case study strictly isolates data pertaining to these injuries, as well as accompanying factors like hospital admit, ALS transport (Advanced life support ambulance or flight service), spinal immobilization, fatal injury, and more.

Of the 8529 recorded patients, 4726 of them were toggled as “NO” which indicates neck protection was not in place at the time of injury and when the record was created. 3803 were toggled “YES” which indicates neck protection was in place at the time of injury and when the record was created.

Statistics

1. A Critical Cervical Spine injury is 89% more likely without a neck brace. Over the course of the 10 year study, there were 239 recorded cases of Critical Cervical Spine injuries
without a neck brace, and 26 with a neck brace.

2. Death is 69%+* more likely (due to Cervical Spine Injury) without a neck brace.
Over the course of the 10 year study, there were 4 recorded cases of death caused by Critical Cervical Spine injuries without a neck brace, and just 1 with a neck brace.
*It should be noted that the patient who experienced death with the neck brace had a full Cervical Spine Fusion from a previous injury, and received a blunt force (part of the motorcycle) directly to the back of the neck. Since the injury falls into our report criteria the accident is included in this report, but the circumstances are worth mentioning.

  1. A Non-Critical Cervical Spine injury is 75% more likely without a neck brace.
    Over the course of the 10 year study, there were 702 recorded cases of Non-Critical Cervical Spine injuries
    without a neck brace, and just 109 with a neck brace.

4. A Clavicle (collarbone) fracture is 45% more likely without a neck brace.
Over the course of the 10 year study, there were 443 recorded Clavicle fractures without a neck brace, and 291 with a neck brace.

5. Cervical Spine injuries sustained without a neck brace are more severe, require greater care.

As shown in the left above, of the 239 Critical Cervical Spine injuries without a neck brace (Shown in black), 100% (239) of them required a hospital admit (Yellow) and ALS transport (Orange), compared to just 73%, and 42% for neck brace wearers respectively (Right chart, same colors).
Of the 239 Critical Cervical Spine injuries without a neck brace, 87% (207) received Spinal Immobilization (Red), where as of the 26 Critical Cervical Spine injuries with a neck brace, 76% (22) were immobilized.

6. A Cervical Spine injury of any kind is 82% more likely without a neck brace.

Over the course of the 10 year study, combining all critical and non critical Cervical Spine injuries, 945
injuries were recorded without a neck brace (20% of 4726 people), and 136 with a neck brace (3.5% of 3803 people).

Conclusion

9430 recorded accidents over nearly 10 years is a substantial sampling of real world data pertaining to neck braces, and in every instance above neck braces are an exponential improvement in rider safety. We will continue to record this data for many years to come, and we feel with time these statistics will only continue, if not improve if more people continue to adopt this technology. While we cannot definitively rule out that the device (or any device) could potentially play a negative role during an accident, we feel it is important to mention that no device known to man is 100% effective, and that same rule applies to neck braces.

Our hope is that people see this, educate themselves on the benefits of wearing a neck brace, and make an informed decision regarding their safety when riding their motorcycle. The numbers don’t lie, and we highly recommend everyone consider wearing any protection item that can help contribute to their safety.

We are an EMS service that is simply looking out for rider safety. This is real world data collected over many years, and has in no way been manipulated to show a benefit or detriment either for, or against neck braces. Keeping you safe is our passion and it is our duty to share what we have learned while catering to the motorsports industry and to our moto-family for the good part of a decade. It should be noted that just like your bike, helmet, boots, etc, any equipment worn must be properly fitted according to manufacturers instructions in order to provide maximum benefit and wearability. Improperly fitted equipment can cause unexpected results, and may hinder your ability on the motorcycle, and may even lead to injury and/or death.

This is very interesting information and certainly the first of its kind. In other Canadian National news, MRC Memberships are now available to everyone. The price for a 2019 MRC Membership is $65, which is great news for our motocross riders and families. This sport certainly isn’t getting any cheaper and it’s good to see 2019 MRC Memberships available at a very reasonable price. These would make a great last minute Christmas gift, for sure. Here is a note from the newly appointed MRC National Amateur Race Director Ryan Gauld, It’s exciting to initiate this new price to our racers and families,” MRC Amateur Director Ryan Gauld. “We have taken away old system and followed along the same lines as the US. Every racer will require an MRC membership to be part of the ECAN, WCAN, and the biggest race in Canada: The Trans Can Grand National. We have been working with all the regions in an effort to lower costs and make more attractive races for everyone. An MRC membership will be required to obtain provincial points, national status, and contingency from the major manufacturers at the regional level.”

Well, that is it for me this week. I hope everyone enjoys these final few days before Christmas. It’s very hard to believe that the big day is almost here for yet another year. Have a great week and thank-you for reading this week’s Honda Canada Racing Monday Gate Drop.