Brad Sanders drives the sand rail with his chin at the Silver Lake Sand Dunes
During the summer of 2008, this sand rail was adapted to allow Brad to control the throttle using a mechanical lever with his chin. His brother handles the steering (for now!), brakes and can override the throttle by depressing the clutch. Brad runs the gas by pushing forward in a racquet ball. The ball is hooked to a lever that pulls on a second throttle cable (previously used for cruise control).
A racquet ball was used because it fit perfectly (just a bit snug) in Brad's old chin cup and had a good grippy surface. We tried three different methods of mounting the ball.
The first was to just place the ball in the old chin cup, but it tended to fall out on the bumps and roll around in the sand rail.
The second method was to remove the chin cup and its U shaped holder while replacing both with a ball that had a screw coming out of it. This proved to not be solid enough as the ball deflected as Brad pushed against it.
The third method was to mount the ball in the U holder using two screws - one on the left and one on the right side. This allowed the ball to spin on one axis, keep its shape and provide a good surface for Brad to push against.
The next step is speed proportional steering control.