TESTED: HANS Adjustable and Sparco Harness
By Steve Rockwood
Racing is hazardous to your health. With a helmet on, one of the most immediate dangers to your continued existence on this planet is a basilar skull fracture (see Dale Earnhardt). See, hanging an extra 4lbs on your head, then keeping your torso stationary in a racing harness, makes it so that your head becomes a nice tether ball in a decent crash, especially one that's head on. I, like most out there, prefer my neck to stay unbroken, so I went in search of an SFI 38.1 compliant device and harness built specifically for it. Luckily, HANS and Sparco had something available that had higher expectations than me.
Back to the tether ball. The forces of crashing and your heavier than normal head put a lot of strain on the base of your poor skull, and can result in a break that's certainly hazardous to your health, and is fatal more often than I'm comfortable with. Rather than continue to attempt to use words to explain this phenomenon, I'll just use this video:
Physics are a real bastard to deal with sometimes.
Luckily for us idiots who like to drive too fast for our own good, guys like Dr. Robert Hubbard are inventive enough to come up with inventions like the Head and Neck Support (HANS) Device that go a long way towards preventing such injuries.
I am a late adopter to the HANS Device game. My first line of reasoning (okay, excuse-making) was that HANS devices were pricey. Indeed, its original 4-digit price tag put it out of reach for this budget-minded privateer racer until HANS dropped the price significantly with the Sport Series. My next excuse was that the HANS device limited sight out of the car. This was a valid complaint once upon a time, as the fixed tethers did not allow you to move your head much at all side to side. Again HANS addressed these concerns by introducing a sliding tether system.
|The orange clasps allow the tethers to slide back and forth to allow for maximum movement left and right.|
These slider tethers allow anyone but a road racing owl and the girl from Exorcist to turn their head as much as they would without the device.
|We really need to hire some models…|
My last bastion of ignorance was that while the device fit pretty well if you selected the correct device, it did not work everywhere, and the angle you chose was a compromise. With the latest HANS Adjustable, it seems even idiots like me no longer have a valid excuse to get one, so I did.