Avon Compton certainly knows how to make an entrance - and an exit.
The Spring Grove drag racer shocked onlookers with a major crash during Saturday's Southern Nationals meeting at the Rock 94.4FM Dragway in Motueka.
His turbocharged Nissan Silvia was on a single run with no one in the other lane, when it made a hard right turn and rolled several times on the grass alongside the dragstrip. Compton, 56, was briefly trapped in the car before being hauled out with cuts and bruises.
He was flown to Nelson Hospital in the Nelson Marlborough Rescue Helicopter but was discharged in time to make it to the event prizegiving.
"A few people raised their eyebrows when I got to the Speights [Ale House]," Compton said. "I stayed a wee while and went home with a bit of a headache, not from the beers, either."
Compton's 8sec car was destroyed in the crash. He said he had broken a part in an earlier practice run, driven home to get a replacement part and then arrived back in Motueka in time for another run, around 2pm.
The car did a big burnout and was accelerating hard when it drifted to the left-hand side of the track before spearing off to the right and rolling.
"The first one was gentle and I thought, ‘that wasn't too bad', and then it dug in and took off and it was, ‘bugger, this might hurt'."
Compton's glasses cut his nose, he was bruised but protected by the strong safety harness and had his foot stuck for a while until track officials could get him out.
He had not seen the car yesterday but had checked out a few photos.
"I think I was probably out to it after the second roll," Compton said. "I didn't wake up until the boys were getting me out but the photos don't make great viewing.
"I'll go and see what we can take off the car. Maybe there is another one to build, maybe I won't drive it ... lots of maybes at this stage.
"I'm grateful for everyone who helped out and tidied up my mess."
- The Nelson Mail