It is human nature to believe that we can go through our lives without experiencing personal injuries and other dire consequences of our actions. I doubt there would have been much human progress without such attitudes. Most of us, in reflecting upon our youth, wonder how we survived the risks we took during our formative years. The development of almost every enterprise was made by human beings taking risks to their personal survival. Were it not for that deep rooted belief that "it won’t happen to me" airplanes wouldn’t fly; ships wouldn’t sail; Mount Everest wouldn’t be conquered and the human race probably wouldn’t have survived.

However, the real truth is that none of us is immune from injury or death because of risk taking. A basic axiom of industrial safety is that if there exists a hazard, then sooner or later someone WILL be injured by that hazard. Do any of us consider the benefits of kart racing as justifying the taking of a risk that may maim or cripple us for the rest of our lives? Does the pursuit of fun and entertainment warrant taking even the slightest unnecessary risk to ourselves and our fellow competitors? Do not all of us need to develop safe habits and check everything before we go on the track to see how fast we can run?

My observations of over 20 years in kart racing is that the vast majority of safety problems are caused by neglect of the "little things" I wonder how many racers have been hurt to one degree or another by improperly secured lead weights and how much expensive equipment has been damaged by them? How many wheels have gone bouncing and rolling down the track because "I forgot the safety pin" How many wrenches, screwdrivers and other dangerous implements have been strewed over countless tracks because they were left on the floor pans of the karts? Defective chains, brakes, clutches, flywheels, tierods, bearings and bushings have all caused injuries and equipment damage. Each and every one of these perils are TOTALLY UNNECESSARY in the opinion of this writer.

Every dedicated racer I know spends some time during the week to prepare his kart for the weekend’s racing. It is a simple matter to prepare a check list of items to inspect as the last step of such preparation. Most items such as fasteners being safety wired and brake disk keys being secured in their slots require nothing more than looking at.. At the track, use a check list immediately prior to reporting to the starting grid. Double check anything you have changed in the pits. If there is a pit crew, make one person responsible for making that final check and the driver should specifically ask that person if the checks were made before getting on the kart. This is not to suggest that the members of the pit crew should not double check each other. And the driver should have the final responsibility to ensure everything is right; after all, he is the one at primary risk.

And, there is another side of the coin. YOU WILL WIN MORE RACES! I have yet to see anyone win a race unless he finishes. I have never seen a race won on 3 wheels, or with a broken chain, or with a loose sprocket, or with a loose tie rod, or with cut tires. I have, this year, seen a fellow cross the finish line first in a $1000.00 to win money race, only to be disqualified at the scales, under weight, as a result of losing an improperly secured weight on the track. It happened at our track. I strongly suspect he wishes he had spent that 60 seconds or so required for that last inspection. He would have been a $1000.00 richer, and he and his competitors a lot safer.

"It won’t happen to me"? It can and does, every racing weekend. Are you CERTAIN it won’t be you?

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