Roll Cages (originally posted on 10-24-98)

Published October 28, 2008 04:56AM, by Jake MorganViewed: 3679 times

(originally posted on 10-24-98)

It's my opinion that roll cages should be mandatory in certain classes of pulling. Pulling is far too dangerous a sport without them. I feel that the safety rules and regulations have not kept up with the technology and the amount of horsepower that some of these tractors are making. So how do we decide which classes get the roll cages.

I am not sure that there is any clean cut way to decide which classes get them. You cannot use the weight of the tractor to decide which ones should get roll cages, and which ones should not. This would eliminate the Mini-Mods, and I think that it is obvious that they are one of the most dangerous classes. A simple way to remedy the situation would be to either use a horsepower per pound ratio, or just choose which classes need them most. So, which classes need roll cages? Using the Horsepower per pound ratio, the Mini Mods are the most dangerous, and the wild rides that these tractors face are some of the reasons that the fans like this class. But that doesn’t means that the class has to be dangerous, wild rides come with the territory, but that doesn’t mean a driver should be ignorant of the danger he faces without a roll cage. I am very surprised that there has not always been a roll cage rule in the mini class, but I think it is time for a change. I think that the nature of these tractors make them one off the first classes that should receive mandatory roll cages.

The modified tractors should be the next class to receive roll cages. I think that it is very apparent with the most recent accident occurring at the Fort Recovery pull, involving the Walsh Tractor the Irish Challenger. I did not get the opportunity to attend the event, but from all the reports that I hear, the roll cage spared Dave Walsh from serious injury. It seems logical that tractors with wheel speeds of over 100 miles per hours, with thousands of horsepower might be slightly dangerous. I have seen quite a few Mods take some very wild rides, the likeliness of one tipping over is not that great, due to there lower centers of gravity, but it does occur (Green Monster), and it should not be overlooked.

As much I hate to admit it, I am glad to see that the Superstocks are making them mandatory. I originally did not like to see them because I thought that they ruined the look of the tractor, but I feel that safety is a far more important issue. With last years tragic accident a Tomah, and the accidents in Europe involving MP Lift, and The European Maid, it think it is definitely proof that the class is very dangerous. Due to the technology advances by the Connor brothers, and Bret Long, we not have alcohol tractors with more horsepower than we have ever seen. This horsepower combined with the tractors high center of gravity, and narrow widths, makes them extremely exciting, but also extremely dangerous.

It is my opinion that the TWD drive trucks do not need roll cages at this time. The trucks are very squatty, they are low to the ground, and are very stable. One of the most popular truck designs is the “C” cab Ford; the total height is in the neighborhood of three to four feet off the ground. These low designs make tipping very unlikely.

It is also my opinion that roll cages should not be mandatory for the Prostock, and Superfarm Stock tractors. These tractors are making more and more horsepower each year, but their slower wheel speeds keep the class slightly safer than the Superstocks. Some of the top Superstocks are probably turning the wheel close to 100 miles per hours, while the top Prostocks are turning them around 20-30 mph.

However, if a Prostock chooses to hook in the Superstock class, he should not be allowed to do so without a roll cage. I think that this might be a good way to encourage many of the Prostocks to build roll cages, considering that many of them are very competitive in the Superstock class.

One of the last issues is will any old roll cage do? I think the answer to that question is pretty obvious, NO! Roll cages should be mad only of certain materials, and certain type of tubing. Roll cages should also be made using exact specification using a certain preapproved and tested designs for the specific classes. In addition, they should only be welded by an NTPA approved welder. After all if we are going to make a rule shouldn’t we make one that works, and is safe for everyone.

Jake Morgan
Independent Pulling News

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