Rider knocked out in beach race crash

NEIL RATLEY
Last updated 05:00 30/11/2013

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A competitor was left unconscious when he crashed at Oreti Beach during the early stages of the New Zealand Beach Racing Champs on Friday night.

Today, David Glover, of Mataura, remains in critical care in a stable condition in Southand Hospital.

Glover lost control of his motorcycle while racing in the open class event.

Glover's mother-in-law said he was unconscious after the crash.

However, he was a tough rider who knew the dangers that came with motorcycle racing, she said.

An ambulance communications spokesman confirmed a rider was taken to Southland Hospital with serious injuries.

At time of print, the duty manager at Southland Hospital said Glover was still being assessed.

Predictions for gusts of wind up to 80kmh did not delay the start of the beach racing, the spiritual heart of the four-day Burt Munro festival.

Crowds flocked to find a spot in the tussocky dunes and were not disappointed with the early action.

Nestled in the sand were Tauranga couple Mike and Kym Lehan.

Mr Lehan was back at the beach races after being "blown off the beach" when he was there several years ago.

"The last time I was here in 2011, the beach racing was cancelled. You couldn't see the ocean because of the sand storm," he said.

For wife Kym, it was her first time at the Burt Munro Challenge.

The conditions last night were "tropical" compared to his last visit and any wind at least served a purpose.

"It's blown the rain away," Mr Lehan said.

Also among the crowd lining the fence were father-and-son Tom and Malcolm McDonald, of Invercargill.

Eighty-nine-year-old Tom said he always made the effort to get to the beach racing.

"I knew Burt Munro. We all thought he walked on water." Mr McDonald Sr said he was in the motor trade business and "Burt would visit him for bits and pieces for his bike".

During World War II, Mr McDonald even went the extra mile for Burt.

"I was training as an aircraft mechanic in Hobsonville and when I came back for leave, I smuggled down some Sunderland Flying Boat parts for Burt's bike," he said.

The beach races reminded him of when everyone would gather to watch Burt Munro fly down the sand on his Indian, Mr McDonald said.

The Burt Munro Challenge continues today with the Teretonga Sprint Races starting at 9am and the Motorcycle Speedway at 5pm to be held at Oreti Park Speedway, Pitt Rd.

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- © Fairfax NZ News

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