Photographer injured in a flash

By ROGER MORONEY

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Minutes after taking a shot of medics attending to an injured sidecar rider, freelance photographer Daniel Reyland found himself in the back of an ambulance after being struck by an out-of-control outfit seconds after the race re-start.

"It's just one of those things," Mr Reyland said yesterday as he reflected on the incident at Meeanee Speedway last Saturday night which left him with a broken foot, a lacerated finger and plenty of bruises.<inline type="photogallery" id="12333" align="outside" embed="yes" />

The impact of the machine flicked the Hastings photographer into the air and left him slightly dazed. Although the only thing he was immediately worried about was his camera.

"I saw there was skin taken off my finger and I felt a pain down my side ... but my big worry was the camera gear," Mr Reyland said.

Like him, it, too, was damaged. He faces a possible bill for a damaged lens of around $2000.

He described the incident as "one of those things" and said there was always a risk while taking shots from the infield.

"You use your ears to pick up the sounds because you're busy with the camera up to your face and you're looking at what's happening through it," Mr Reyland said.

He did hear a machine which "didn't sound right" and coming closer to where he was kneeling.

"I heard yelling and turned to see the number 22 coming at me ... I remember seeing the number vividly," he said.

He did not even have time to get to his feet before he was sent flying.

"It was the first lap of the re-start. I'd got a shot of guys getting taken away in an ambulance after a crash ... and then I got taken out."

He said the rider and passenger immediately ran to him and apologised.

"I said 'hey, it's not your fault'."

The sidecar's driver, Chris Lane of Havelock North, said he felt bad for the rest of the night after the incident.

"I was pretty bummed out, a bit shaky. I'm so pleased he's okay," Mr Lane said.

He said he had got a good fast run into a corner but then struck a slight bump and the outfit speared to the right. He was unable to correct and put it sideways as it ran across the infield, trying to scrub off speed.

"I could see him there. I was screaming out."

He said he would call and see Mr Reyland when he was back from a contracting job out of town.

"I'll have to buy him a beer."

Mr Reyland's 10-year-old daughter Samantha, who was watching from the stands in the company of her aunt, was not aware it was her dad who had been hit.

She only found out later when he called it quits for the night and after treatment watched the rest of the meeting from the stand.

Hawke's Bay Today photographer Glenn Taylor, who also ran to assist, later showed the photos he had taken to the family.

Samantha's aunt laughed and said: "Look, he's trying to be Superman."

"We've got three daughters," Mr Reyland said. "They couldn't wait to go to school to tell everyone what happened."

It was only on Sunday morning, after the pain in his left foot worsened, that he went to Hawke's Bay Hospital to have it checked out.

An X-ray showed two fractures and he will be spending the next six weeks in a cast, although he returned to his job at Computercare yesterday.

He said he had no problems with the speedway management and said it was his decision to be where he was.

"It's just one of those things," he said.

- HAWKES BAY TODAY

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