Ryan Berry owes limb, and maybe his life, to a $1000 safety modification he recently made to his car.
His Canterbury super saloon championships campaign ended in abrupt and spectacular fashion on Saturday night when the first-year racer, running midpack at AmPro Tools Woodford Glen Speedway, made contact with Invercargill's Dion McMurdo.
Berry spun sideways, catapulted through the air, and rolled several times before stopping upside down.
Last week Berry installed a new full-containment seat in his saloon car and he believed it was the reason he escaped with some minor injuries.
"I had people saying to me that I was so lucky that I had the new seat in. It could have been so much worse, had it not been in there. It's the best $1000 I've ever spent."
Berry's car received extensive damage.
After a night in hospital for observation, he was released on Sunday with just serious bruising to his elbow and a few other minor niggles.
"I'm a bit knocked around and have my elbow in a sling but I'm OK. It was a really hard smack when I came down."
Berry said the crash "happened so quick" but he remembers it vividly.
"My right rear clipped the front of his [McMurdo's] car, it turned me sideways and the next minute I was in the air."
Other drivers in the race were shaken by the incident.
Eventual winner, Nelson's Ian Burson, was one of the handful of drivers lucky to avoid a mid-air Berry.
"That was really close, too close. I thought he was going to come down right on top of me," Burson said.
After three heats, local favourite Richie Taylor was heartbreakingly close to the title, finishing just one point behind Burson. Last year's winner, Mike Verdoner, of Balclutha, rounded out the podium.
The highly rated Nelson Tigers retained the McCall Trophy with a comfortable victory, while the Canterbury A Grade/Saloon championship was won by Huntly racer and former caddie for Tiger Woods Steve Williams.
- The Press
Should Christchurch host the Commonwealth Games again?Related story: Could Christchurch host the Games again?