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Speed Silks™ - the latest uniform in technology

Product FocusWebmaster

Earlier this Fall, Darby Racing Technology, LLC, launched an incredible new product for racing horsemen and jockeys - Speed Silks™.

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Speed Silks is a revolutionary new equine jockey uniform made almost entirely from Aero Dimplex®, an ultra-lightweight, aerodynamically-engineered fabric that is textured to reduce drag. 

Speed Silks inventor, Matt Darby, says “Cyclists have been wearing uniforms made of Aero Dimplex for a few years. Even some competitive runners have adopted it, but the technology has never been used in horse racing until now”.

The use of Aero Dimplex is key to the design of Speed Silks; it is the industry standard in the world of competitive cycling and, according to manufacturer SwissTech, it’s the highest-rated aerodynamic fabric between 14 and 47 miles per hour. 

The entire Speed Silks line includes four products: colors (jerseys), helmet covers, pants and boot sleeves. All Speed Silks products are form-fitting; that, in addition to the special material from which they are made, reduces the amount of aerodynamic drag the jockey’s body creates in 3 ways:

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• The “kite tail” effect A jockey’s colors and pants make a lot of noise during a race. That noise is his clothing flapping in the wind. Every single flap pulls backwards on the jockey and therefore, the horse. We call it the “kite tail effect.” All Speed Silks products are form-fitting and almost seamless, so they don’t flap in the wind as the horse and jockey move through the air. Even Speed Silks pants conform to the rider’s body.

Skin friction - is the friction created as air is dragged across a surface; in this case, the jockey. The textured surface of the Aero Dimplex creates tiny pockets of turbulence along the surface of the jockey. While it may seem counter-intuitive, that’s what allows the rider to “slip” through the air more freely. 

Form drag – As a jockey moves through the air, a low-pressure pocket develops behind him. Cyclists and NASCAR drivers already know about this phenomenon, and take advantage of it by “drafting” closely behind another competitor. Race horses can’t “draft,” but Aero Dimplex’s special texture decreases the size of this low-pressure pocket by allowing the air to flow more smoothly around the rider. This reduces the backward pull on the jockey.

Darby says his product solves a problem many horsemen don’t even realize they have. “A jockey wearing traditional, old fashioned gear is basically a big parachute on top of the horse,” he says. “But since jockeys have worn loose, baggy uniforms for a hundred years or more, most owners and trainers never really think about it. I spent about two and half years building and testing a complete head-to-toe uniform designed from the ground up with a jockey in mind. Speed Silks will cover the rider from head to ankles in an aerodynamic shell of Aero Dimplex.

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The colors, helmet covers and pants are all fully customizable. Anything you can dream of, we can put on the product in very bright, vibrant colors…owner colors, sponsor logos, anything. I’ll put a photo of your grandkids on your back if you ask me to. And the photo will look great.”

All Speed Silks products are available from Darby Racing Technology at www.SpeedSilks.com. Questions can be e-mailed to info@SpeedSilks.com. Matt Darby can be reached by phone at 806-570-6920. Follow on Twitter: @SpeedSilks.

Speed Silks™ is a trademark of Darby Racing Technology, LLC, in the US and in other countries.

Aero Dimplex® is the registered trademark of Schoeller Textil AG and may be registered in the United States Patent and Trademark Office and in other countries.

Published in North American Trainer Fall/Winter 2013 Issue 30