Hawke's Bay TQ driver Tony Meechan surprised spectators when he climbed out of his car and walked away after a spectacular mishap at Meeanee Speedway's season opener on Sunday night.
"That's my worst accident in 20 years of racing. I thought that sort of thing would have happened in my superstock days not in the TQ," Meechan said afterwards.
"Everyone was quite surprised when I managed to walk away."
A former two-time Hawke's Bay superstock champion and former East Coast and Hawke's Bay dwarfcar champion, Meechan, 38, is in his second season in the TQ class. He was leading the first heat for his 13-strong class when he flipped three times and bounced off the safety fence during the early laps.
"I lost my steering and couldn't turn. It all happened so quick. I'm a bit stiff and sore but I will be back at work on Tuesday," the self-employed builder said.
"It was a bit of a shame it happened when I was out in the front but that's racing."
The fact he is so fit from long days on the job and numerous seasons of premier football with the Marist club would have helped him. His car isn't as well-off.
"There's a lot of front-end damage and while we haven't done a thorough inspection yet we suspect there may be some damage to the chassis. If that's the case it will have to go to Auckland to be fixed and rebuilt," Meechan explained.
"Hopefully I'll be ready to race again at our Fireworks Spectacular meeting which is our next one on November 9," he added.
Aucklander Cieran Rose won that first TQ heat and Hawke's Bay's multiple national champion Duane Todd won the other two. Hawke's Bay streetstock driver Ben Yeoman was the only driver to go close to matching Meechan's feat when he rolled himself at the end of the first heat for his 16-strong class.
The second rounds of the Lucas Oil Superstocks and Quin Buildings Direct Super Saloons which began in Palmerston North on Saturday night were the feature events on Sunday night.
Hawke's Bay's two-time national champion Steve Flynn won Super Saloons round which attracted 11 starters. With a win, second and third placings Flynn beat Huntly's Craig Cardwell by two points. Flynn's Hawke's Bay clubmate Chace Rodda was three points behind Cardwell in third place.
Visiting drivers dominated the 12-car Superstock event with experienced Hawkeye Thomas Stanaway the only Bay driver to collect a podium finish in three heats with his victory in the final heat. Palmerston North's Scott Penn claimed round honours by one point from clubmate Shane Mellsop and Mount Maunganui's Dylan Towler.
A teams race between Napier and Hastings aimed at giving less experienced drivers a taste of teams racing was a highlight in the stockcar class. Former national champion Jason Penn secured the win for Napier.
Daniel Melling and Craig McBeth produced some accurate hits for Hastings. Thirty-two drivers started in the other heats in this class.
Huntly's Larry Henderson and Hawke's Bay's Justin White were the heat winners.
Considering it was the first night of the season there was some quality driving in the 16-strong streetstock class. Hawke's Bay's 3NZ Brent Redington won the first heat, Gisborne's 2NZ Brendon Gooch the second heat and Hawke's Bay's Tim Towler the third.
Whanganui's Antonio McKay and the Hawke's Bay pair of North Island champion Denton Hodgkinson and William Bayliss enjoyed heat wins in the 10-strong production saloon class.