Laminated vs. Individual Tear-Offs
Visibility while driving on the streets is very important, especially when the road conditions are not ideal. If you are from an area that gets a lot of snow or rain, you know how difficult it can often be to see the road, especially when your windshield wipers cannot keep up with the elements. It can be a chore to see the streets with bad wipers. You don’t want to cause an accident on the road because you couldn’t see, so investing money on good wipers is very important.
Let’s take that same logic and apply it to the dirt track world. Of course, we don’t have windshield wipers on our cars. So, instead of wipers for us dirt track racers, we use tear-offs. When racing on dirt, these are extremely important; I will not go on the track without them on my helmet.
Just like I mentioned before, visibility is imperative on a dirt track. The conditions can make it very difficult to see such as dirt flying right at you, track lights shining down from above, and cars all around you. Dirt can cover your visor and depending on the track conditions and the speed you are racing at, it may cover your visor. Within seconds, you could lose all vision. When you are in an intense battle for the lead, the last thing you want to do is worry about your vision. You don’t want to try to wipe the mud off your visor. One, that will take too long to do, and two, your hand will cover up most of your visor and not allow you to see. This is where the tear-off is beneficial. You simply reach up and pull on the end of the tab as hard and as fast as you can. In less than a second, you go from a mud-covered visor to a clean visor where you can see all the action in front of you. You don’t lose focus, you don’t wreck, and you are able to continue your fight for the win.
With technology becoming more prevalent in our sport, we are able to implement small tricks to our car and safety equipment. Tear-offs started to take off around the 1980s and made a driver's life a lot easier. Back then, they would use individual thin plastic pieces of film to stack on their helmet. For that time, it was a great invention. The only problem with those types of tear-offs is the more you would stack on your visor, the harder it would be to see through. The individual pieces would also catch dirt, dust, and debris between them, making it hard to see. To make things worse, the more you would stack on, the more of a blue haze you would get, making it hard to see. With these types of tear-offs, it was a catch 22 type of deal. You would try to get the mud off of your visor, but you couldn’t put a lot of tear-offs on because it would become hard to see.
The turn of the century saw a new type of tear-off: laminated tear-offs. Now, I bet that you thought lamination was only used to laminate paper. But no, there is now the great invention of laminated tear-offs. Now you can buy stacks of 10 tear-offs that are all laminated together. This makes it appear as if you are looking through one single tear-off. This is a must when you are a dirt racer; it is a night and day difference between these and the individual tear-offs. There is never any dirt, dust, or debris that gets caught between the tear-offs, and there is no blue haze. These laminated tear-offs minimize stress for you as a driver, as you no longer have to worry about your vision being distorted by the track's conditions.
With the individual tear-offs, you get 200 tear-offs for $20. With the laminated tear-offs, you will get 20 tear-offs for $30. Yes, that is a significant difference, but what you don’t see is the difference in quality between the two. That is where I come into play. As you can see in the pictures, there is a big difference between 10 individual and 10 laminated tear-offs stacked on the visor. I will let you make the decision yourself on which type you would rather be looking through when you are battling for the lead on a heavy, greasy track. It is just like what I mentioned above. Would you rather spend less money and lose visibility in bad conditions or spend more money to get better quality vision when conditions aren’t ideal? It is like the difference between off-brand material and name brand material. In some situations, it is necessary to go with the name brand material like laminated tears over individual tear-offs. I have personal experience with both types, and I will choose laminated tear-offs every time.