'Epic crash' at jetsprint national championship doesn't damage confidence
A jetsprint crew miraculously walked away from an "epic" accident at the national championships in Whanganui on Sunday.
Whanganui pilot Rob Coley and navigator Kellie Minnell, from Waitara, were competing in round two of the championship when their boat clipped a tyre near the finish and was launched over the boundary wall sending them flying 20 metres into a gully.
Minnell suffered a broken nose when her face hit the boundary wall of the Shelter View park track as the boat sailed upside down into bordering pine trees.
*Jetsprint track being dug in Waitara
"As we were coming across to the finish we must have clipped a tyre on the course because we were launched into the spin out pool," Minnell said.
"We were literally airborne and because there was no water in the jet unit when we hit the spin pool it acted like a launch pad over the top of the tyre wall.
"We then carried on into the pine trees and then dropped 20 metres into a gully at the bottom.
Minnell said there wasn't much going through her head at the point.
"Theres not much you can do with a boat flying through the air.
"I must have been knocked out briefly because I came to at the bottom of the gully," she said.
Despite what she describes as an 'epic crash' Minnell said it hadn't shaken her confidence for round three of the competition in February, which will be hosted by her husband, Leighton, at his soon-to-be built track in Waitara.
"The safety gear did its job and the visor on my helmet saved my face from a worse fate," she said.
"I can't stress the importance of having the right gear, it's partly what the sport is all about.
"Rob [the driver] is good as gold though which is a bit unfair because his side of the boat is completely stuffed.
"I think we came fourth still over the day, which leaves in good standing for round three in February.
"It's a sorry way to end the day but that's just the nature of the sport I guess."
Minnell and Coley recently took out second place at the Australian Jetsprint Championship despite crashing in one of the qualifying rounds, however Minnell said this was the worst crash she has had.
"I haven't been in many, mainly just gentle landings onto grass."
"This one was on a whole other level."