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View Full Version : Are rally co-pilots tranquilized??


pvmw
30th May 2014, 18:51
The moment when Mark Higgins TT lap (almost) went horribly wrong.. (w/VIDEOS) (http://skiddmark.com/2011/06/the-moment-when-mark-higgins-tt-lap-almost-went-horribly-wrong-wvideos/)

There isn't a flicker of expression - I'd have been screaming in terror!

con-pilot
30th May 2014, 20:44
Well yes, as matter of fact I always tranquilized all of my co-pilots. Their screams of terror and panic kept wakening me up.

And as for my landings, well I'd probably over medicated them, they'd turn white, even the blac, err Afro-Americans, guys and gals and go to sleep just before Id land.

;)


Okay I'll get serious now, after viewing both videos, I cannot believe that his expression never changed during the near total loss of control of the car by the driver.

So he was either drugged, or has ice water in his veins.

Checkboard
30th May 2014, 20:59
Apparent death - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Apparent_death#Tonic_immobility)

Tonic immobility (TI) is a state of apparent paralysis (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Paralysis) that animals enter, in most cases in response to a threat.

:E

VP959
30th May 2014, 21:08
I remember doing the Forest of Dean rally back in the very early seventies as the nav for a complete nutter. The car was a Lancia Fulvia. My seat collapsed gradually over about three stages to become a loose bag of steel tubes and foam by the end. I was still trying to read the pace notes and keep time, whilst the nutter of a driver kept turning around and reminding me that if I carried on hanging off the top roll cage tube (I had no other way of staying vaguely upright) I'd lose my hands when he rolled (and he'd rolled the car at least half a dozen times on previous rallies).

The funny thing is you don't really have time to feel fear, as you're focussed on trying to call the next bend from the notes and keep track of time through the stage.

Needless to say, this was the end of my very brief stage rally career. I did get to meet (and have a coffee with) the late, great, Tony Pond, though.

pvmw
30th May 2014, 21:19
Um! Possibly "co-pilot" is an unfortunate expression to use in this particular place, but it is the commonly used term.

I remember once reading of an interview with Dennis Jenkinson after he and Moss had won the Mille Miglia. 1000 miles at an average speed of just under 100 mph in 1955 on Italian country roads. He was asked if he was scared and, to paraphrase his reply, said something like that with any other driver he'd have been terrified, but Moss' ability was simply beyond his comprehension. He didn't understand how it was possible to drive that fast, but obviously it was so he didn't worry about it.

G-CPTN
30th May 2014, 21:32
He didn't understand how it was possible to drive that fast, but obviously it was so he didn't worry about it.
There have only been a handful of drivers (no more than half a dozen) that I have travelled with as front-seat passenger and that I have been entirely content to relax and 'let it happen' when they have been driving quickly (ie very quickly).
Two of those were females.

A A Gruntpuddock
30th May 2014, 21:46
I think anyone who gets into a rally car must be able to stay calm or they wouldn't get in a second time.

Saw McRae on tv setting a new record on a particularly difficult and dangerous stretch.

Reporter hurries across to the car and asks McRae how he thought he'd done.

After his hair-raising performance I expected him to look like Marty Feldman on speed but he answered as if he was sitting on his lawn enjoying a quiet drink!

"Don't think it was too bad, but I lost time on a couple of places".

VP959
30th May 2014, 22:36
The "staying calm" thing is just inherent in some people, and wholly unrelated to fear. I'm very far from being a brave person, in fact I'm more than averagely risk-averse. However, I've never really felt fear when in situations not too dissimilar to that in that video.

An acquaintance commented on it once when we were flying across the channel and suffered an engine overheating problem part way across. I wasn't PIC, he was, and all I did was try and keep him flying the aircraft whilst I talked on the radio, watched the instruments and gave a brief on what we should do if we ended up in the oggin. All I remember is being wholly focussed on the practical stuff of how best to survive the ditching (which thankfully we avoided, by "just" making it to a field on the top of Cap Gris Nez). Fear just didn't come into it at all, for some odd reason I had absolute faith that if Jamie at Headcorn knew where we were, and that we'd prepared properly for the ditching and escape, it'd be no more serious than doing an annual sea drill.

There's a strong element here of familiarity through constant exposure to risk being a good way to overcome the panic response from fear. I guess that's why we went through dinghy drills and dry drills three times a year, plus regular dunker training, hyperbaric chamber sessions and regular aeromed refresher training. Maybe years of being exposed to this sort of stuff just limits the amount of fear you actually feel, when something goes tits up for real.

I know that the one time I did ditch for real (which was really just a water landing, following a MRGB chip detector warning whilst some miles offshore) we all just joked as we argued over who should get in the MS10 first.................. We didn't get to stay in it long, though, as there was a SAR Wessex overhead within minutes, with a rather pissed off winchman in the door who realised he could just high line us off without any need for him to jump in the oggin and do his stuff.

Fox3WheresMyBanana
30th May 2014, 23:45
The landlord of my local out in the Yorkshire Dales was a rally co-pilot - totally laid-back. His favourite story was between stages in the RAC rally, when he was driving. They were well behind time due to repairs, so he was bombing down some remote Pennine lane in the middle of nowhere at about 1 am when a police blue light came on ahead. Instinctively, he slammed the anchors on, skidding to a halt abeam the fuzz.
PC "I was just investigating another matter when I heard you coming. You seemed to be quite fast, Sir. Could I see your licence please?"
Fumbling around, he could only find his competition licence. He managed to slide it out through a vent slot in the window.
PC "What this, Sir?"
Impatient to be off, he just blurted out..
"It's a competition rally licence. It means when I'm driving down a track at 90 mph in the dark, I know what the f#ck I'm doing"

Pause.

PC "Jolly good Sir. Carry On"

So he did.

The driver in the passenger seat slept through the whole thing.

Dushan
31st May 2014, 01:49
I occupied both the left and the right seat in a rally car in the 70s and 80s and can tell you that I was a lot less scared and a lot calmer when I wasn't driving.


http://i256.photobucket.com/albums/hh162/dushan_divjak/17c155e7.jpg

Fox3WheresMyBanana
31st May 2014, 02:04
love the hi-tech bungee cord!

Dushan
31st May 2014, 02:35
Kept those Mini Oscars from vibrating too much.

PLovett
31st May 2014, 03:43
I remember once reading of an interview with Dennis Jenkinson after he and Moss had won the Mille Miglia. 1000 miles at an average speed of just under 100 mph in 1955 on Italian country roads. He was asked if he was scared and, to paraphrase his reply, said something like that with any other driver he'd have been terrified, but Moss' ability was simply beyond his comprehension. He didn't understand how it was possible to drive that fast, but obviously it was so he didn't worry about it.

The following year Moss & Jenkinson were in a Maserati and the race was held in pouring rain. Moss lost control at the car went off the road and was heading down hill when a tree stopped them. If it hadn't been for the tree the car would have continued down the steep hill for some considerable distance. Jenkinson was asked afterwards whether he was scared and he replied something along the lines of that it was over all too quickly to have time to be scared and there was no reason to be scared afterwards.

tdracer
31st May 2014, 05:06
The 'racer' part of my handle isn't just a handle - although I'm semi-retired now, I was a race driver for about 35 years. I don't think I ever once was 'scared' in the car - and that includes a few bad accidents and countless near-misses. While the 'it happens too fast' part is somewhat true, it's also that you are so focused on the task at hand that there isn't the bandwidth left over for the 'scared' part.

I think that mental state is part of what separates the front runners from the 'also ran's', at least at the lower levels where I participated (at the pro levels they all have that mental state and it is more down to raw skill and dedication).

What I found interesting was the thought process when it was either 'over' or 'too late'. One time, when a head-on collision with another car was imminent and unavoidable, I distinctly recall thinking - without fear - "this is going to hurt" (it didn't, but the other driver wasn't so lucky - in the collision my car 'won' and basically went through the front of his and broke both his ankles). Another time, when it was clear I was going to hit a wall at speed after a mechanical failure - the thought was literally, again without fear, a resigned 'oh :mad:' (unfortunately I didn't walk away from that one- still have a bit of a limp :sad:).

After a close call, the thought is usually 'that could have been bad' - once, after dodging a backmarker that hit a curb and spun right in front of me, it was "that could be bad behind me" as I could tell he was going to spin back into the racing line. Sure enough, red flags were soon displayed (the guy behind me had t-boned the spinning car - fortunately without significant injuries...)

fltlt
31st May 2014, 05:52
Mid 70's the navigator would have a bar across the floor to raise his/her knees up above their seated pelvis position.
This enabled the 1" to 1 mile OS map (marked or otherwise) folded per the course to be clipped to the map board, usually a thin rigid wood or pressed cardboard and made it a lot easier to use the "potty". This at its simplest a large metal bean can with both ends removed, a large magnifying lens on one end, hooded dash bulb holder inside and an on off switch. Sat with helmeted head down following the route on the map, at night with the potty, glancing at the Halda and stopwatch on the dash just in front of them, calling out distance and degree of bends, coupled with admonishments such as "flat over brow", 45 right, 180 left while glancing up only to visually check their distance estimation usually within the first couple of stages, after that the usually only looked up if the driver uttered an expletive.
Then you graduate to pace notes for forest stages, another world.
Anyway, many folks tried it, the really good ones were worth their weight in gold. It's not the lack of emotion, you take the car out every chance you get, you learn to trust each other, if your nav says 200 yards 45 right flat over bridge and it's 2am on Eppynt stages, foggy as all get out if you are going to be successful then in 200 yds you are going 45 right although you may not actually see the bend until you are literally 10 yds away.
Clear, concise, communication and inherent trust and knowledge of each other's (and the cars) capabilities.
In the days before intercoms it was a little tougher.
From the days of Clark, Makinen, Mikkola, Mehta, Mouton and a whole lot who's names escape me.
I drove, didn't have the moxy to be hurled around the forests feet first with no brake pedal.
Which brings the last point. When trying out new navs, watch their feet out of the corner of your eye, the ones that phantom brake before you did usually couldn't cut it. Not all, but a vast majority.

G-CPTN
31st May 2014, 06:11
My first experience of navigating was ensconced in the back of a Mini van with a proper map table and appropriately shielded lighting.

I was travel-sick after a short while, and, whilst I don't recall actually vomitting, I was distinctly unwell and unable to take advantage of the greasy-spoon halt (it was overnight and said greasy-spoon had been persuaded to open for custom of several dozen hungry customers).

After that I left the navigating to those who had been unperturbed by map-reading whilst being thrown round the vehicle.

AtomKraft
31st May 2014, 06:42
That was superhuman- and super lucky- car control.:ok:

There's only one thing better than skill, and that's luck- as Higgins would be the first to admit.

A horrific accident avoided by a gnats crotchet!

probes
31st May 2014, 07:31
"...it looks fast, and it is fast... but I don't remember it was that fast":

Marcus Gronholm's Funniest Moments - YouTube

(unfortunately I didn't find the one where he's stopped and told he's lost the front wheel and he asks: "I have?" in total surprise)

acbus1
31st May 2014, 07:42
Don't know about driving, but you have to make a simple first decision when it threatens to go t!ts up in an aeroplane: concentrate entirely upon staying calm and taking the correct actions and you'll maximise the chances of a successful outcome. The added bonus is that your colleague in the cockpit will sense the 'body language' and behave in the same way. I'll confess that a surge of adrenaline has often made itself felt when its all sorted (and the rally driver in the video appears to do the same: skillfully sorts the problem as it occurs and only later shows a trace of emotion).

This is where I find myself at odds with 'Human Factors' teaching and simulator training. A favourite trickcylist curve (graph) is of performance versus arousal (no, not that sort of arousal). The theory is that you need to be aroused to perform at your peak. That's quite possible correct in isolation, but it isn't necessarily what's required. Why do you need to be at your peak if you're controlling the situation at less than your peak? If you're at your peak and the situation then worsens, you'll slide down the back of the trickcylist's curve and your performance will decrease. Better to stay as calm as possible, whilst still completing the task in hand. You then have more performance in reserve, should it be needed.

As for the navigator in the rally car, he surely knows that the best chance of survival in an accident is to have a totally relaxed body. I've seen accounts of survivors of car accidents who were asleep at the time of impact - totally relaxed.

acbus1
31st May 2014, 07:56
Talking of being cool under pressure, been Googling for a remarkable Stirling Moss story and there's actually a YouTube video by the guy who witnessed it:

Stirling Moss showing off some serious driving skills - YouTube

jumpseater
31st May 2014, 08:53
In the original clip, the 'co driver' is IIRC a journo from an American mag, I suspect he didn't realise how far it had got away from Higgins, and was probably still in sensory overload from just driving so fast on a 'street'.

Tarq57
31st May 2014, 09:28
I'm a bit bemused at a lot of the responses in this thread.

Don't any of you lot drive at those sorts of speeds as a routine occurrence? The daily commute?

Effluent Man
31st May 2014, 09:38
I navigated for a Volvo123GT driver in the early seventies,only local club saturday night rallies.I was usually tranquilised by several pints of Adnams.

MadsDad
31st May 2014, 09:57
Did quite a lot of navigating in the 70s/80s and had a reasonably good reputation for it, mainly in Yorkshire (the 'Yorkshire Brow Hoppers' - notes for Castle Howard reading 'Brow, straight, centre, flat, smile' - it was where the photographers gathered. Personally used my own formula tranquiliser of Qwells and a large scotch before the start of an event.

And fltlt is dead right about the bar on the floor (aka the 'chicken bar') to brace yourself on. As for the trust I recall one event where my instructions to the driver were something like '200 yards to culvert, culvert 10, slot right onto white' we went over the culvert, there was nothing visible on the right except 2 ft high grass, after 10 yards he turned right into the grass and we came out the other side on a trackway - where we were supposed to be.

skua
31st May 2014, 14:39
I only navigated once. A 12 car rally organised by my uni motor club. The driver had spent a year and quite a few doing up his Midget. I am over 6' so it was not the most comfortable ride. We were half way round the course, by now in the Forest of Bowland in the depths of the night. We were on a relatively straight stretch and my driver was at near full chat (say 70!). I shouted 'K left 300' or some such, no reaction. "k left, 200" - no braking discerned. "K left 100!!!", and still he ploughed on. At the last moment he realised that some use of the brakes and steering wheel might be a good idea. Too late, we understeered into the parapet of a bridge. The only sound was of the hissing radiator, and a few moments later, his weeping.

And then he had the temerity to say I had not called the corner!

VP959
31st May 2014, 15:15
acbus1 wrote:

Don't know about driving, but you have to make a simple first decision when it threatens to go t!ts up in an aeroplane: concentrate entirely upon staying calm and taking the correct actions and you'll maximise the chances of a successful outcome. The added bonus is that your colleague in the cockpit will sense the 'body language' and behave in the same way. I'll confess that a surge of adrenaline has often made itself felt when its all sorted (and the rally driver in the video appears to do the same: skillfully sorts the problem as it occurs and only later shows a trace of emotion).

This is where I find myself at odds with 'Human Factors' teaching and simulator training. A favourite trickcylist curve (graph) is of performance versus arousal (no, not that sort of arousal). The theory is that you need to be aroused to perform at your peak. That's quite possible correct in isolation, but it isn't necessarily what's required. Why do you need to be at your peak if you're controlling the situation at less than your peak? If you're at your peak and the situation then worsens, you'll slide down the back of the trickcylist's curve and your performance will decrease. Better to stay as calm as possible, whilst still completing the task in hand. You then have more performance in reserve, should it be needed.

Matches my experience and thoughts precisely.

I remember an instructor telling me many years ago that when something goes seriously tits up in an aeroplane you just don't have the time or spare brain capacity to panic. His advice was just quickly swear if you really have to then immediately calm down and sort the thing out. His party trick on fairly new students was just randomly killing the engine in the circuit. He reckoned the combination of limited height and giving the stude something unexpected to handle when they were already a bit busy was a good way of sorting out the wheat from the chaff.

jumpseater
31st May 2014, 15:20
Tarq

A/ :oh:

B/ :=

RJM
31st May 2014, 16:12
I navigated for a Volvo123GT driver in the early seventies,only local club saturday night rallies.I was usually tranquilised by several pints of Adnams.

The Flying Finn Rauno Aaltonen is supposed to have said "To drive a Healey really fast, a glass of Scotch helps."

fltlt
31st May 2014, 16:36
Acbus1
The old expression 9/10ths not 10/10ths or 11/10ths comes to mind.
At 9 you still have experience and reaction (ass, eyes, brain and hands take over) and physics chips in. Results in either an on or an off.

Not demeaning anyone's skills but the video to me shows 10/10ths at the oops moment. A road course driven quickly many times, but now a reporter, camera and commentary to deal with.

My bet is that if you had been able to ask him what he did to save it he would not have been able to tell you. That's the beauty and result of experience.

Serious rallying events are a constant dance between a YouTube accidents video and finishing.

Those type of stomach in the mouth moments are what made it interesting.

Windy Militant
31st May 2014, 18:53
I watch Ralio + (http://www.s4c.co.uk/ralio/e_index.shtml) the current series has finished for the summer now unfortunately. They show rounds of the world rally championship and you can guarantee at least one flick roll crash out every week. Usually with on board cam clips and associated bleeping.
Any one remember the Simmonite Sisters they were featured in a programme on TV which rumour had that it was meant to be a series but the bleep box wore out after one show!

G-CPTN
31st May 2014, 19:00
My bet is that if you had been able to ask him what he did to save it he would not have been able to tell you. That's the beauty and result of experience.
Serious rallying events are a constant dance between a YouTube accidents video and finishing.
Those type of stomach in the mouth moments are what made it interesting.

I had a moment such as that, after I had accelerated away (for effect) from the pub down a steep and winding hill.
As I crested the hump there was a stream running diagonally across the tarmac and I started to spin.

I saw trees - road - trees in my headlamps and my audience saw the tail-lamps meandering and felt that disaster was inevitable and that they would be picking up the pieces when they reached the scene of the accident.

I 'controlled' it (in that I didn't actually leave the road and crash), but I cannot say that I would have achieved the same had I repeated the event.

The vehicle was a full-race Lotus Seven with IRS.

G-CPTN
31st May 2014, 20:03
BBC News - 'Two killed' in incident at Scottish car rally (http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-scotland-27651504)

G-CPTN
31st May 2014, 20:07
2007:- Car boss dies in crash (From Bradford Telegraph and Argus) (http://www.thetelegraphandargus.co.uk/news/1322775.car_boss_dies_in_crash/)

G-CPTN
31st May 2014, 20:52
Now three dead and a fourth critical.
BBC News - Three killed in collision at Scottish car rally (http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-scotland-27651504)

Windy Militant
31st May 2014, 22:23
Sad News. :(

mixture
31st May 2014, 23:19
Talking of being cool under pressure, been Googling for a remarkable Stirling Moss story and there's actually a YouTube video by the guy who witnessed it:

Not entirely sure what's so amazing about that video of someone shoving a BMW round a fixed radius circle at a steady state.

galaxy flyer
31st May 2014, 23:46
mixture,

My thoughts exactly, I'm sure the video was added and didn't help with Jonsgard's thoughts. Keith was well known for exploring the psychology of racing drivers.

I was in a serious low level mid-air collision years past. IF you are well trained AND have the mental cool, your mind in a case like that runs like a computer and panic is a serious detriment. I clearly, 25 years later, remember thinking, maybe I can fly out of the wreckage despite being on fire. With nothing to control ( stick torn out of the plane by its cables), I gave that idea up and thought I should get into the proper ejection position. Flailing was so bad, I quickly thought leaving in any position was desirable. I pulled the left ejection handle and the canopy clears and up I went. This was after a near head-on collision, A-10 to A-10, at a calculated 600' AGL. The total elapsed time could best be measured in milliseconds, impact to open chute.

GF

fltlt
1st Jun 2014, 01:54
Terrible news.
But I am personally surprised there are not more accidents/incidents. In the mid 70s when I got involved true die hard spectators would trudge a couple of miles in pouring rain to stand on a spot where cars were known to have difficulties, that is crash. Quite disconcerting the first couple of times to have camera flashes from above, both sides and front in the middle of absolutely nowhere.
Folks would stand on the outside of corners leaning against hedges, dry stone walls, gates with absolutely nowhere to run.
Even had one supreme idiot on the Welsh rally that was
crouched down in the middle of the road no more than 50 yards after a fast straight then a yomp.
Sure did get some impressive photos which he tried to hawk to the drivers at rally's end. Didn't care, comprehend that once in the air we have no control and he might just lose his footing on the start of the 5 yard dash to safety.

Then I experienced the parting of the waves of literally hundreds of spectators on a stage in a park, to increase interest in the sport. Came over
crest, saw a sea of bodies, honestly thought I
was going to plow into them, they rolled back each side no more than couple of feet away, the road ran downhill to a river and went 90 left, same thing, heard a thump on the front left flare, honestly thought I had run over someone only to hear my nav in a quite excited yell "did you see that you
spun him like a top".
That was the beginning of the end for me.
It is one thing to compete, quite another to maim or kill someone because they presume we can see and avoid them.
Watch European rally's from the 70s and 80s on you tube and marvel how close folks come to being road kill.

My thoughts are with the families of all concerned.

Lon More
1st Jun 2014, 09:38
Now reported as three dead (http://www.scotsman.com/news/jim-clark-rally-cancelled-after-spectators-killed-1-3429048) and the rally cancelled. Unfortunately will probably result in a knee jerk reaction and the banning of all rallies in the UK.
Easy to blame the Marshalls but they have no powers to force people to move back to a safe distance,