Helmet confusion at the 14th Maruti Suzuki Raid De Himalaya

New Delhi: The Federation of Motorsport Clubs in India (FMSCI) citing safety as the first priority wants Xtreme rallyists at the forthcoming Maruti Suzuki Raid De Himalaya to wear Euro-standard international helmets.While the rallyists have agreed to the suggestion they fear that it will not be possible to wear it at this year's event due to lack of time. 

The Maruti Suzuki Raid De Himalaya is set to take off on October 5, and will continue till October 13th. In August, the Federation specified that Xtreme rallyists at the tough, challenging motorsport event must wear helmets approved by the Federation Internationale de l’Automobile (FIA), the governing body of auto-racing events across the world.

Xtreme rallyists speed at impossible speeds in dangerous, challenging terrain, making motorsport a high-risk sport. Rajan Syal, the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of FMSCI, said that rallyists must wear the right protective gear.

The Raid De Himalaya is organized by Himalayan Motorsport Association (HMA), the premier Shimla-based motorsport club. President HMA Vijay Parmar said it is essential for the safety of the rallyists to wear the FIA-approved helmets as they are essential for the safety of rallyists in the Xtreme category. “A large percentage of helmets that are approved for safety according to Indian standards cannot offer the protection that the rallyists require in a high-speed event,” he said.

The Xtreme rallyists said they are ready to buy the new helmets, but they do not have enough time till the Raid to procure them. Their argument is that the regulation regarding the helmets must be imposed with effect from January 1, 2013.

FMSCI has given the rallyists the option of procuring FIA-approved helmets from a Bangalore-based supplier. Rallyists agree that they have been sent a size chart, but say helmets cannot be purchased like this. “Helmets have to be tried on physically, like shoes. There is no point buying a helmet which is too loose or too tight,” said Capt Ajayvir Singh Gill, an Xtreme rallyist based at Nahan in Himachal Pradesh.

Simranjit Singh, a Chandigarh-based rallyist, said most rallyists learnt of the new regulation on helmets in the first week of September.
The Raid takes off on October 5. We don’t have enough time to buy the helmet of our choice,” said Simranjit Singh, a Chandigarh-based rallyist.

“We have to be in Shimla for pre-event scrutiny on October 5. The Bangalore-based supplier of helmets is charging a very high price, and we don’t have time to study the market to buy a helmet of our choice,” he said.

Harpreet Singh Bawa of Chandigarh-based Team Thunderbolt said that FMSCI should give some time to the rallyists for the Raid.“We are ready to sign an additional indemnity clause for the Raid that we will participate at our own risk. In a month or two, we will buy the FIA-approved helmets,” said Bawa.

For Xtreme rallying, FMSCI has specified an internationally-approved roll cage, rally seat, helmet and seat belts. Most Xtreme rallyists use FIA-approved seat belts. Since it was not possible to procure FIA-approved seats before Raid 2012, the Federation allowed that the regulation regarding seats will be enforced from January 1, 2013. The new safety regulations have been imposed by the Federation after the mishap at The Mughal Rally in Kashmir this year, in which two rallyists lost their lives.

By Indian Sports News Network