While the ‘safety alert' issued today makes no reference to any particular incident, it is notable that it follows a fatal crash in the Australian Off Road Championship in last month's Rainbow Desert Enduro.
The nature of the alert is also somewhat similar to that issued about brake system maintenance in July in so much that said alert was issued a week after a crash caused by brake failure in a Touring Car Masters race at Townsville, to which Speedcafe.com understands it was directly related.
While no conclusive findings have yet been announced with specific reference to the AORC tragedy, which claimed the lives of Gerry Hoekstra and Ede Taric, Motorsport Australia confirmed in the following days that it was a case of the vehicle “crashing and becoming engulfed with fire”.
It furthermore confirmed that “the condition of the Vehicle, the fuel system and fuel tanks in use” formed part of its investigation, and issued an interim measure regarding carriage of fire extinguishers.
Today's announcement reads, “Motorsport Australia is alerting competitors in the Off Road discipline of an amendment to the Off Road Appendix – Off Road General Requirements (GR) regulations, to be applied with immediate effect.
“The amendments require Off Road Automobiles to be fitted with a fuel cap and fuel filler neck that is contained within the structure of the chassis or safety cage of the Automobile to ensure that the fuel filler cap and filler neck are protected by the structure of the chassis or safety cage in the event of any incident.
“In addition to the relocation of the fuel filler neck and fuel cap the regulations highly recommend the fitment of non-return valves, where applicable, into a filler neck. This requirement will be mandatory from 1 January 2023.”
The regulatory changes are also included in the announcement and read as follows:
Off Road Appendix – Off Road General Requirements
5. FUEL TANK/S
Each fuel tank filler (including any filler neck/lines) must not protrude from the coach/bodywork of the Automobile and must be located within the structure of the chassis or safety cage structure.
It is highly recommended that a filler neck be fitted with a non-return valve (i.e. a type with one or two sprung “flaps” or where suitable, a gravity activated style valve) in a location nearest to the fuel tank.
The filler neck is defined as being the means used to connect the fuel tank to the fuel filling location if separate to the fuel tank itself. A fuel cap directly attached to/integrated with the fuel tank is not considered a filler neck. Non-return valves are highly recommended in all applications.
NOTE: Filler neck non-return valves will be mandatory from 1 January 2023.