Stuart Whitaker is the chief reporter of the Te Puke Times and a general reporter for Bay of Plenty Times.

Lucky escape as race car jumps fence in spectacular crash

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It was the penultimate lap of the third and final race of the weekend - and things had been going well for former Te Puke High School student Michael Scott.

Then it went horribly wrong and he and his Toyota were sent rolling out of the race in a frighteningly spectacular crash on the run up to the Pukekohe "mountain" corner.

Scott, 21, was competing in the Toyota 86 races, a support class at the weekend's ITM Auckland Super Sprint V8 meeting at Pukekohe Raceway, south of Auckland.

As well as getting a good start in the championship series, one of Scott's stated goals for the weekend was to "keep it off the wall".

"We almost did it," he said yesterday.

Video of the crash has appeared online and on social media.

"I haven't had a chance to look at the on-board footage, but my understanding of it was I had a little bit of a run on the car in front and I was just starting to pull out to try and overtake and missed a gear," he said.

"Suddenly the gap just vanished and my front left wheel clipped his rear right which very quickly put me on my roof and across the track. From that point, the camera caught the rest and I saw sky, ground, sky, ground."

The car somersaulted over the catch fencing between the track and the pit access - an area where there were no spectators.

"The really funny thing was, as I was getting out of the car, I was looking around and thinking 'how the hell did I end up in the pit lane?'."

While he managed to walk away, he was taken to Middlemore Hospital, was checked and given the all clear.

Yesterday he said he didn't feel sore, despite being "thrown around inside the car a bit".

"I feel a little bit like I've had a concussion and a little bit slow today," he said.

"Fortunately I kept my hands on the steering wheel so they didn't get thrown out."

The car has yet to be properly inspected, and the damage assessed, so Scott is unsure whether he will be able to take his place on the grid for the second round of the series in Taupo on December 10 and 11.

Scott had qualified for the first race on Saturday fifth and finished fourth and then scored a third place on the first of Sunday's two races.

"Up until the last lap (of the last race), pretty much, I was very happy with the way it was going. We were pretty close to the pace, not too far off, and I certainly feel like the other tracks will favour us more than Pukekohe, so I was reasonably happy.

"But suddenly there's a lot more question marks about what we can do now."

The crash was Scott's first where he has rolled, and said he can at least now tick that off his bucket list.

"I got out of the car and walked away, and the car can be fixed. There's not much more you can say really."

Scott finished fourth in the Toyota 86 championship last season, and also won the single seat Formula Ford title.

Geoff Short, category manager for the Toyota 86 championship, said while Scott had been lucky to escape without serious injury he was also ''extremely unlucky''.

''The category has been racing for three years and we've never had a car roll over, never had a crash like that,'' he said.

''It was a bit of a freak crash.''

Mr Short said the cars were made to be extremely safe and strong and the fact Scott was not badly hurt in such a ''spectacular'' crash was testament to that.

''It's probably the most dramatic crash I've seen in Toyota 86s and I've seen a lot of footage from overseas.''

Mr Short said he hoped the widespread reach the footage of the crash already had could help work in favour for Scott.

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