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First HANS in a Sheane Formula Vee!

Well, maybe not technically the first one ever, but the first time in this Sheane, anyway!

The MSA rules for 2015 state that all single seater drivers in cars made from the year 2000 onwards must use a frontal head restraint system, with pre-2000 cars being required to use them from 2016.

This means Glenn’s 1997 Sheane that I’ll be driving is exempt, however, after writing my previous blog about this, I decided (and my fiancée ‘told’ me!) that I’d be a fool not to be using one right from the start.

The first problem here is that these devices (which I’ll call HANS from here) come in various angles to suit seating positions – so 10 degree is for Formula One, through to 40 degrees for bolt-upright seats such as truck racing. Most single-seaters will need 20 degrees, but there’s no real way to find out which you need until you sit in the car with it on.

Secondly, compared to the 30 degree HANS used for most saloon car racing, the 20 degree kits cost at least 50% more. Whether this is pure greed (the rules to use HANS are ONLY for single-seaters), or because, as these represent a minority of racing series and smaller production runs are required, I will make no comment.

Demon Tweaks were offering an adjustable HANS for around £20 more than the 20 degree model, and as Glenn pointed out, this would mean I could use it with whatever type of car I take on track.

Delivery received, I screwed the posts in to my Koden KSC25 helmet, and attached the HANS.

You don’t have to be scared about this part. You should make sure that there is some thread locker on the screws for the posts, but mine already came with it on the screws.

The HANS attaches to your helmet by sliding the attachment onto the post, which is also spring loaded. Nice and easy, and probably something you could learn to do after putting your helmet on… I found I can put the HANS around my neck already clipped onto the helmet, and then slip the helmet on.

I don’t really know what we’d have done if we’d found it didn’t all fit in the Sheane, but luckily that wasn’t an issue.

I may have mentioned that the head rest in the car may be a little far forward for my liking, and the HANS doesn’t help here – but it’s nowhere near as intrusive as I expected it to be. You’d have to look hard at the pictures to see I’m using one, once it’s all belted up.  We may use a smaller bracket for the head rest, but were most likely going to do that even without the HANS.

You CAN feel you’re wearing the HANS when you first put it on, but you wouldn’t call it uncomfortable.  By the time you’ve adjusted your belts and pulled them tight (making sure it sits right), you’ve already forgotten you’re wearing it.

It makes absolutely no difference to sideways vision or movement, and, as you can see, the tethers are very slack when it’s all in place.  You have to lean your head pretty far forwards before you feel them do their job.

If you’re using 3″ belts, they don’t quite fit over the guides, but the safety documentation says as long as the excess belt is riding up the neck side of the device that’s perfectly ok.  We may decide to adjust the belt mountings inwards a bit more behind the seat, but I think it is workable how it is.

Other than that there are no dramas!  We’ve brought an old Sheane Formula Vee up to modern safety spec, and now I just hope that we do it justice.

And with any luck, we won’t even have to make use of the proven life-saving capabilities of a HANS device.