Sunday, May 13, 2012

NEW PRODUCT REVIEW: (SME Motorsports) Develops Seat Inserts and Steering Column Padding, a division of SME Motorsports in Brownsburg, Ind., has created two new products to improve karting safety. The new SME Steering Wheel Bumper reduces the risk of injury from a hard frontal impact and the new SME Seat Inserts are designed to reduce injuries suffered in an accident and over a long karting career. “Not too long ago, my daughter had an accident in her kid kart that inspired me to create the steering column bumpers,” stated SME President Steve Eppard. “My goal was to slow the body and/or head down and distribute the G-forces out and away from the body to significantly reduce the risk of injury to a driver, in this case, my daughter.” SME Steering Wheel Bumpers allow for a series of force reducing impacts before the body’s inertia would cause it to make contact with a stationary steering column. The Bald Spot Sports foam plug in the core helps reduce the severity of injury by transferring the forces of impact to create less of a recoil effect back into the seat. The steering column bumper currently attaches to any 3-hole steering wheel/hub connection and will soon be available for the 6-hole wheel/hub configurations. All bumpers come covered in fabric with a felt backing. Standard color is black, custom colors and embroidery are available at an extra cost. For the maximum possible safety for young karters’ chest and internal organ’s safety, combine the Steering Column Karting Bumper with an SFI 20.1/1 or 20.1/2 karting chest protector SME Seat Inserts are made with the same BaldSpotSports foam and come in a variety of kit options designed to upgrade all popular karting seats. These foam inserts support the tailbone and spine, hips, and ribs against the various hits a kart driver may experience.. Like the steering column bumper, the Seat Inserts distribute and absorb the forces of impact in an accident, thus lessening the chances of injury to each of the areas of the seat/body where they’re installed. These inserts can also help a kart racer avoid long-term “compression style” injuries to the lower lumbar of the spine that result from the repetitive ‘bumps’ a back can take going over curbs or when bottoming out. Standard SME Seat Insert pads are all 3/8” thick and covered in black fabric with a felt backing. Custom thicknesses are available and can increase lower lumbar support. Custom fabric colors and embroidery are also available. Add Velcro™ to the back of the inserts and position in kart seat to maximize comfort and protection. Some drivers choose to use a seat one-size larger than they would need without inserts and add 1/2" to 3/4” thick inserts to maximize comfort and protection. Mike Burrell, 20-year karting veteran and former NKN writer said, “I visited a chiropractor for lower back pains. The Doctor said my L5 vertebra was compressed and a bit askew, and I had broken my tailbone at some point. He asked what I possibly could have done to cause that and it was determined karting was probably the cause. Steve built me a seat back insert and it’s significantly reduced my pain on days after I race.” The Bald Spot Sports material used in both the steering column bumper and seat inserts is SFI 45.2 certified impact padding approved for use in all professional racing (for more information visit This is the same material used to make the seats and custom padding in Indycar™, NHRA and NASCAR™ seats. However, most karts don’t allow for the foam to be used in a format as thick as “the pros” seats. After impacting this material 15 times at 70 G’s of force, Indycar™ committed to using this material for the interior parts in the new DW12 because the material consistently maintains its strength and integrity! For more information on SME Motorsports karting products visit or call 317-709-0770.

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