Helmet Pops Off Head In Roadrace Crash

Kevin Duke
by Kevin Duke
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helmet pops off head in roadrace crash

Just imagine the panic of crashing into the back of another racer’s motorcycle at speed and flipping over the bars. Then imagine hitting the pavement and feeling your helmet squeeze itself off your head as you slide along at 100+ mph!

That’s what Luiz Franchi had to deal with at New Jersey Motorsports Park when fellow racer Jeremy Whitehurst unexpectedly shut the throttle of his bike as he crossed the finish line after a Superstock race. Franchi was closing in on Whitehurst but came up a bit short at the checkers. Whitehurst, carrying the onboard camera, backed out of the throttle soon after reaching the finish line, which surprised Franchi who ran into Whitehurst’s bike and flipped over the front of his Yamaha R1.

As Franchi fell on his back, the impact bounced his AGV helmet off his head, despite the chin strap still being intact and attached. This makes us think he didn’t cinch it up snugly or his helmet was too large for his head. Either way, he was extremely lucky that his bare skull didn’t impact the track, which could’ve created a scene so ugly we wouldn’t be able to show it.

“This was a lot more my fault than I had originally thought,.” said Whitehurst in the video’s description. “I did not think I chopped the throttle like that after the finish line. I take responsibility for what happened and I apologize to Luiz Franchi. Live and learn. I’m glad no one was hurt and from now on, race pace into T1 after the checker.”

Kevin Duke
Kevin Duke

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3 of 22 comments
  • JWaller JWaller on Sep 06, 2017

    I wonder if that guy bought a powerball lottery ticket, with his kind of luck. Bad luck that the helmet flew off (but, it probably either didn't fit or wasn't strapped down tight enough) but what kind of luck was it to keep his head off the pavement like that? Those few moments before coming to a stop must have been excruciatingly frightening.

  • Dmitrii Kilishek Dmitrii Kilishek on Sep 07, 2017

    I'm a new rider... and luckily I had a conversation with one good sales man(former racer) in a motorcycle shop. He told me a lot about helmets and their sizing. I remembered following things the most:
    1. Put your helmet on, do not use the strap
    2. The helmet should be placed two fingers higher than your eyebrows.
    3. Try to roll the helmet off forward from behind - The helmet should not roll off your head.
    4. Try to roll the helmet left and right - The helmet shouldn't roll both ways.
    5. Try to put your finger between your helmet and your forehead - Finger shouldn't come in.
    6. Check the pressure on the top of your head - you should feel the lining snug but it should not be too tight.

    This helped me to determine that my old helmet was too big for me... I first bought Bell size XXL, but ended up with Shoei size L...

    • Kevin Duke Kevin Duke on Sep 09, 2017

      Glad to hear you got some good advice! Helmet reps often say most people are wearing helmets too big for their heads.