Racing in the Rain Part III: Preparation

www.boston.com (AP Photo/Bazuki Muhammad, Pool) 


Get Ready to Be Wet
When we're young, it's fun to jump in puddles. For racers, not so much. I don't know about you, but I don't like that squishy shoe feeling so let's look at preparing yourself and your car or bike for rain racing.

Extra Safety Equipment
Having a complete spare set of safety equipment is the best option, but at minimum, have a spare pair of socks, head sock/balaclava and gloves. Why? Warmth can sometimes be as important as keeping dry. Once wet, your suit/leathers/helmet won't dry in the short time between qualifying and your race, or even over night in most cases. Treat your safety gear like your Sunday best (oh, wait, in some cases our nomex is our Sunday best!), and have a spare dry set.

Visors and Windshields
It'd be nice to see, right? Who hasn't experienced fogged up glasses? Those of you with 20/20 eyesight need to keep reading, this applies to all of us: Visor Fogging. !@#$%^&*(). Yeah, that's what we all think when the visor fogs. Same thing for the windshield. Here are some tips that apply to one or the other or both:

Helmet
Keep a bottle of liquid dish washing soap with your gear. Spread it around on the inside of the visor. It works well, but is a pain to clean up afterwards. Anti-Fog Sprays/Wipes/Solutions can work in some cases. Fog City Shield Inserts are a thin plastic film that creates an air gap between itself and the visor.

Windshield
Spread liquid dish washing soap around on the inside of the windshield, same as with a visor. Works well, but a HUGE pain to clean up afterwards unless you can power wash the interior of your car.

If you are in a sedan, you can set up a Boat Bilge Blower or other type of high powered fan to blow onto the windshield. The key here is to ensure dry air is available to the intake side.

Use an old school aftermarket rear defogger kit, which is like the rear defogger on a street car. They used to make them as a BIG "Decal" that could be stuck to rear windows. Stick it to the front windshield, wire it up and go. Down side is you have to look through it and they have to warm up to work.

Use a squeegee if you race sedans. Seriously, I know drivers that carry one in their car when it rains to clear the windshield. This is a last resort kind of thing or last minute "oh man its raining" fix. Get the kind you see at truck stops with the long handle. They work, but it takes your attention away from driving. I can't imagine the Tech Crew being very happy about your carrying a Scepter into battle either!

We don't like to come right out and say "Do This" or "Buy That", but in this case a box of Fog City Shield Inserts and a high quality bilge blower are our recommendations. Having used both we can personally attest that they work. The fact that both are reasonably priced is a bonus.

Towels, Umbrellas, Outerwear
Although these may seem obvious, they are easy to forget. Towels come in handy whether it's raining or not. If mother nature is playing tricks, bring extra. Whether you are staying at the track, with friends, or at a hotel, borrow a bunch of towels and keep at least one in the car with you. Carry a few umbrella's in the trailer for both you and your crew, and make sure that everyone has a variety of outerwear and clothing with them at the track.

You know how unreliable the weather forecast can be, so take a spare set of dry safety gear, and go to every track armed with your fog prevention tools. Most of the time you won't need it, but you'll be glad you have it when the sky opens up and you get to experience the challenging pleasure of racing in the rain. Go back to Part I or Part II.





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