NZ motorcycle daredevil crashes in tribute outing

By Lynda van Kempen

Luke Smith is in a stable condition at Dunedin Hospital. Photo / Supplied
Luke Smith is in a stable condition at Dunedin Hospital. Photo / Supplied

An Auckland-based motorcycle daredevil has crashed, suffering serious injuries, in a stunt show celebrating his return from a horrific brain injury that left him in a coma three years ago.

Former Crusty Demon Luke Smith landed on his shoulder as he attempted a backflip near Alexandra yesterday during the inaugural South Island Big Air Boot Camp.

The crash came a day after he told the Otago Daily Times that attempting a backflip was "50:50".

Last night, he was still being assessed at Dunedin Hospital. His injuries included a dislocated shoulder and broken collarbone. Sources said he was stable and was due to undergo a CT scan.

Three years ago, he crashed during training, suffering a severe brain injury. He spent eight days in an induced coma and five months more in hospital, learning to walk again.

On Saturday, Smith spoke to the ODT after he had successfully demonstrated a backflip-type manoeuvre to other riders on a motocross track outside Alexandra.

"That's my first backflip since I was injured, but you can't be the tutor at something like this and tell others how to do it, if you don't step up yourself.

"Landing these things is probably 50:50 whether you make it or whether you have a trip to hospital, but I'm used to hospital - it's my home away from home."

A group of spectators and riders at yesterday's boot camp watched in awe as Smith successfully completed another backflip and then in horror as he misjudged the manoeuvre and crashed during his next attempt, landing on his shoulder.

The South Island manager of Smith's Moto Mayhem company, Regan Healey, said the rider's new helmet "probably saved his life".

"He'd nailed the backflip the day before and again the first time [on Sunday] and then had another go, doing it for the boys who were there, to give them a buzz, but he under-rotated, and crashed."

He was taken to Dunstan Hospital first and then to Dunedin Hospital.

"He wasn't looking too flash," Healey said, "but he's a real fighter. He proved that last time around."

- Otago Daily Times

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