Login| Sign Up| Help| Contact|

Patent Searching and Data


Title:
SAFETY DEVICE FOR HARNESS RACING SULKY
Document Type and Number:
WIPO Patent Application WO/1992/002395
Kind Code:
A1
Abstract:
A fender (10) preventing inadvertent contact between the wheels of racing sulkies comprises a deflector rail (20) having a sulky wheel axle coupling (21), a horse shaft coupling (23) and a brace coupling (24) for securing the deflector rail (20) to the sulky wheel brace. The fender (10) may be integrally formed or retro-fitted to the sulky and may include a sheet plastic hoof guard extending between the deflector rail (20) and the wheel brace.

Inventors:
PELLOW LESLIE VALENTINE (AU)
Application Number:
PCT/AU1991/000329
Publication Date:
February 20, 1992
Filing Date:
July 25, 1991
Export Citation:
Click for automatic bibliography generation   Help
Assignee:
WILLDAMO PTY LTD (AU)
International Classes:
B62C1/08; B62C11/00; (IPC1-7): B62C1/08; B62C11/00
Domestic Patent References:
WO1988002328A11988-04-07
Foreign References:
US3415533A1968-12-10
US4667973A1987-05-26
US3173706A1965-03-16
US3163438A1964-12-29
US3907325A1975-09-23
AU1103627A
AU2135448A
US3549165A1970-12-22
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
Fuller D. G. (34 Goodwood Road Murrumba Downs, QLD 4503, AU)
Download PDF:
Claims:
The claims defining the invention are as follows:
1. A safety device for a harness racing sulky comprising deflector means securable to the sulky such that under racing conditions, when the wheels of adjacent sulkies are travelling toward each other in mutual interfering alignment said deflector means is operable, prior to the wheels interfering, to deflect the sulkies so that the wheels move out of alignment.
2. A method for preventing wheel interfering collisions between harness racing sulkies under race conditions, the method comprising providing each sulky with a deflector means on each side of the sulky, driving adjacent sulkies so their adjacent wheels travel toward each other in mutual interfering alignment and deflecting the sulkies via said deflecting means so that their said wheels move out of alignment and can pass safely.
3. A harness racing sulky comprising two spaced wheels, a seat for a driver between the wheels, a chassis supporting the seat and the wheels and a pair of shafts depending forwardly of the chassis so that a horse can be located between the shafts to pull the sulky, respective deflector means mounted to opposite sides of the sulky such that under race conditions, when the wheels of adjacent sulkies are travelling towards each other in mutual interfering alignment the deflector means of one said sulky engages the other sulky to deflect the sulkies so that the wheels move out of alignment and the sulkies can pass safely. 4) The invention according to any one of the preceding claims wherein the deflector means comprises a side guard and forward slide member, the side guard being located adjacent a wheel of the sulky to deflect adjacent sulkies and the forward slide member being located forward and above the wheel in order to safely slide on a rear portion of an adjacent sulky when the wheels of the sulkies are in mutual interfering alignment.
4. The invention according to any one of claims 1) to 3) wherein the deflector means includes a hoof guard to deflect the flailing hooves of a horse such that there is a low risk of injury to the horse.
5. The invention according to claim 5) wherein the hoof guard comprises a sheet of material which includes an oblique interned arcuate plate member, the sheet of material being made from flexible high impact, nonsplinter material.
Description:
TITLE: SAFETY DEVICE FOR HARNESS RACING SULKY

THIS INVENTION relates to a safety device for a harness racing sulky and in particular to ' a safety device which reduces the likelihood of one sulky becoming entangled with an adjacent sulky during race conditions.

Harness racing involves the use of sulkies employing wheels which are liable to "lock-up" when the wheels of adjacent sulkies travel into interfering alignment during race conditions. The common consequence is that the wheel of a following sulky moves inside the wheel of a leading sulky so that the wheels "lock up". Under these circumstances - the driver of the following sulky must reign- in on his horse in order to extract his wheel. Under some circumstances where say, the driver of a sulky is inexperienced, the wheel of the following sulky can lift off the track so that the following sulky becomes unstable. In this situation, the sulky tends to rotate or "flip" about its longitudinal axis thereby catapulting the driver out of the sulky. These incidents can happen at high speed and the driver can be thrown into the path of oncoming horse and sulkies or into trackside obstacles such as posts, running rail etc. A potential for serious injury and possibly death is clearly apparent.

The frequency of serious injury from this type of incident is sufficiently high to cause concern amongst the harness racing fraternity and to date, the rules of harness racing require the driver of the following sulky to slow his charge prior to serious interference occurring. While in

many instances serious accidents are averted by this procedure, the variables which come into place include driver inexperience, tiring horses, in some cases fractious horses and these variables are superimposed upon the normal difficulties involved in controlling the sulky, in addition the driver must be capable of responding in a very short period of time while still attempting to give his horse and backers an opportunity to win the race. Clearly, even the most experienced driver can be involved in an accident. Of course any consideration of a remedy to this problem involving modifications to the sulky must ensure that other safety aspects are not compromised and these include the safety of the horse as well as the driver. The applicant is not aware of any device or racing sulky construction which satisfies these safety requirements.

It is therefore an object of the present invention to alleviate at least to some degree the aforementioned problems associated with the prior art.

In one aspect therefore, the present invention resides in a safety device for a harness racing sulky comprising deflector means securable to the sulky such that under racing conditions, when the wheels of adjacent sulkies are travelling toward each other in mutual interfering alignment said deflector means is operable, prior to the wheels interfering, to deflect the sulkies so that the wheels move out of alignment.

In a further aspect, the invention resides in a method

for preventing wheel interfering collisions between harness racing sulkies under race conditions, the method comprising providing each sulky with a deflector means on each side of the sulky, driving adjacent sulkies so their adjacent wheels 5 travel toward each other in mutual interfering alignment and deflecting the sulkies via said deflecting means so that their said wheels move out of alignment and can pass safely. In a still further aspect, the invention resides in a harness racing sulky comprising two spaced wheels, a seat ┬░for a driver between the wheels, a chassis supporting the seat and the wheels and a pair of shafts depending forwardly of the chassis so that a horse can be located between the shafts to pull the sulky, respective deflector means mounted to opposite sides of the sulky such that under race conditions, when the wheels of adjacent sulkies are travelling towards each other in mutual interfering alignment the deflector means of one said sulky engages the other sulky to deflect the sulkies- * so that the wheels move out of alignment and the sulkies can pass safely. The deflector means can comprise an integral part of the sulky or can be an attachment thereto. For example, where the sulky employs a frame-like chassis, the deflector means can be formed as part of the chassis. For example, where the chassis is made from a metal frame, the chassis can include frame portions bent or modified to provide the required deflector function. Advantageously, the deflector means comprises a side guard and forward slide member, the

side guard being located adjacent a wheel of the sulky to deflect adjacent sulkies and the forward slide member being located forward and above the wheel in order to safely slide on a rear portion of an adjacent sulky when the wheels of the sulkies are in mutual interfering alignment.

In order to reduce the risk of injury to the horse pulling sulky or passing horses, the deflector means preferably includes a hoof guard to deflect the flailing hooves of a horse such that there is a low risk of injury to he horse. Advantageously, the hoof guard comprises a sheet of material which preferably includes an oblique interned arcuate plate member, the sheet of material preferably being made from flexible high impact, non-splinter material. For example, a suitable material can comprise any plastics material having these properties such as the material marketed under the trade name "LEXAN".

Where the deflector means is formed as an attachment to the sulky, it preferably includes a " supporting sub-frame on which the side guard and forward slide member are located. Preferably, the sub-frame comprises an oblique frame extending from adjacent the centre of the wheel up to the shaft.

In order that the invention can be more readily understood and be put into practical effect, reference will now be made to the accompanying drawings and wherein:-

Figure 1 is a pictorial view of a safety device according to the present invention;

Figure 2 is a pictorial view illustrating a harness racing sulky employing the teachings of the present invention;

Figures 3A and 3B are side views illustrating sulkies fitted out with typical safety devices according to the present invention;

Figure 4 is a side view illustrating a modified safety device according to the invention installed on a harness racing sulky; Figure 5 is an underside plan view of Figure 4;

Figure 6 is a section through 6-6 of Figure 5; and

Figure 7 is a part perspective view illustrating a typical harness racing sulky employing a safety device according to the present invention. Referring to the drawings and initially to Figures 1 and 2, there is illustrated a safety device 10 constructed according to the present invention which can be removably attached to a racing sulky 11, the- " harness racing sulky 11 includes wheels 12, a chassis 13, a seat 14, a back bow 15 and a pair of shafts 16. Stirrups 17 are provided on either side of the sulky and respective safety devices 10 according to the present invention are also provided on either side of the sulky. In the illustrated embodiment, the safety device 10 is detachable from the sulky and comprises a deflector means having a side guard portion 18 and a forward slide portion 19 formed in this embodiment as an oblique rail 20 coupled at its respective opposite ends to the wheel hub 21

and the shaft 16 via respective coupling holes 22 and 23. A brace 24 is employed to secure the rail 20 relative to the wheel brace 25. As can be seen, the safety device according to the present invention can be easily "retro-fitted" to existing racing sulkies.

Alternatively, it will be appreciated that where new sulkies are being made, safety devices of various shapes and configuration which operate in the same way as the present invention can be incorporated into the construction of either the back bow, the wheel brace 25 or the wheel brace 26 in any desired form of frame work in order to perform the same function as the safety device illustrated and to thereby accomplish the aforementioned method according to the present invention. During racing conditions, when the wheels of the sulky illustrated in Figure 2 are travelling towards the wheels of a leading sulky such that the wheels of the sulkies are in mutual interfering alignment, then -the slide portion 19 of rail 20 on the following sulky will make contact with the back bow 15 of the leading sulky prior to the sulky wheels interfering. As the back bow 15 is curved in the region of contact, following the sulky will slide outward so the sulkies move apart and they can pass safely. Likewise, should a sulky approach the sulky 11 of Figure 2 from the side, the approaching wheels which are in sidewards interfering alignment can not collide by virtue of the guard portion 18 and again the sulkies can pass safely.

Referring now to Figures 3A and 3B, there is illustrated typical forms of sulky to which typical safety devices 10 according to the present invention have been installed. In the embodiment of Figure 3A, the back bow 27 5is raised slightly when compared with the embodiment of Figure 3B where the sections of the back bow are located in a common plane (as in Figure 2), the rail 28 of the safety device in Figure 3A diverges relative to the wheel brace 25 while in Figure 3B, the safety device is as illustrated in lOFigure 2 where the rail and brace are substantially parallel. In Figures 3A and 3B where appropriate, like numerals have been used to illustrate like features.

Referring now to Figure 4, there is illustrated a further modification to the typical safety devices of ISFigures 1, 2, 3B the modification also being applicable to the 3A embodiment, as a horses leg could possibly pass between the rail and wheel brace. A hoof guard is provided in the form of a sheet of flexible high impact plastics material 29 bridging between the wheel brace 25 and the rail 2020. This reduces the likelihood of horses getting their legs tangled between the wheel brace 25 and the rail 20.

This aspect of the invention is further illustrated in Figures 5 and 6 and as there is some possibility of the horse which is pulling the sulky 11 flailing its hooves in 5 the direction of the rail 20, the sheet 29 of plastics material preferably includes a contoured hoof deflector in the form of an interned lip 30 which is more clearly seen in

the sectional view of Figure 6 and in the underside view in Figure 5.

It will be appreciated therefore that although the Figure 2 embodiment does not employ the sheet 29, the safety device according to the present invention is much safer if it employs the sheet 29 including its contoured hoof deflector 30. Thus, although the principal objective of the safety device is to prevent wheel interference, the device in its Figures 4,5 and 6 embodiment also comes into play during normal racing by being so designed as to reducing the risk of injury caused by its presence.

Referring finally to Figure 7, there is illustrated the "in race" view of a typical sulky 11 that would be apparent from the rear right hand side of a leading sulky bearing in mind that this view is obscured from the driver of the leading sulky, the sheet of plastics material 29, would under normal circumstances typically engage with a sheet on a similar device fitted to the leading sulky as the two sulkies bump together and are deflated. It is very unlikely that the wheels of a sulky would ever be placed in a position where they can interfere in an unsafe fashion. Likewise, should the wheels be aligned at a distance, then as the wheels approach, there will of course come into play the slide portion 19 well before the wheels can come close enough together for interference to occur. In addition, as the safety device is equipped with a compact deflector means in the form of the rail 20 and the contoured plastics sheet

material 29, there is little likelihood of injury to a horse occurring during race conditions as there are no protruding sections which might cause injury.

It will therefore be appreciated that the present 5invention in the specific form illustrated and in other modified forms that will be apparent to those skilled in the art has great benefit for the harness racing industry, there is a substantial improvement in safety afforded by use of the present invention. It will therefore be clearly lOapparent to those skilled in the art that although one preferred embodiment of the present invention has been described above, there are of course, many variations and modifications to the present invention which do not depart from the broad ambit and scope of the invention as herein

15set forth.