Street thugs almost cut short motocross stunt star Luke Smith's comeback to the big time at North Harbour Stadium.
The Stanmore Bay rider was an international star with the Crusty Demons until a horror smash in 2009 almost killed him.
But his big day with the Nitro Circus tour on Saturday was almost ruined when he was king hit from behind in Auckland while on a night out with friends, it was revealed at the show.
Luke thrilled the big crowd with hair-raising solo stunts despite the attack which left him with a broken jaw.
The 2009 accident left him unconscious for 25 minutes and placed in an induced coma for eight days, spending four and a half months in hospital.
"I battled some horrible demons and there were times I almost took my life. I shut myself away from the world, gave away all of my bike gear and lots of stuff that reminded me of bikes and tried to block it out of my life."
But one year after the accident he astounded medical experts by competing in high-speed racing and becoming a champion drift-driver before being tempted back to two wheels.
Luke hadn't fully recovered from yet another injury - a badly broken ankle - when he and another rider performed stunts, including his trademark backflips, at the Waitakere Lions Cracker Christmas show at The Trusts Stadium in December.
- North Shore Times
Are our classrooms becoming overcrowded?