Speedway racer Jamie McDonald is thanking the safety features on his sprint car for keeping him alive after a horror crash at Vodafone Springs Speedway before Christmas.
McDonald's car caught the wheel of a rival that hurtled him through the air into the safety fence roof-first and left his car destroyed and the Aucklander unconscious for four minutes.
"I have a 10 second snippet when I was in the car trapped with the seat crushing my shoulder and the next thing I remember was coming out of the CT machine in hospital with all my family and crew there," McDonald told The Herald.
"Aside from the pain and all that I probably got off the lightest out of everyone around me because what the boys and my family had to go through – seeing me in the car unconscious and thinking the worst - was probably worse for them.
"It gave everyone a fright."
Spectacular crashes are part and parcel of sprint car racing and most of the time they aren't as bad as they look but McDonald insists a number of factors contributed to make his accident particularly nasty.
Had he not been using the best safety gear around the incident would have been a fatality.
"It was a freak accident – it hit in the worst possible place you could hit and the only thing that saved my life was the quality of my safety gear and the quality of the seat I use because without that I wouldn't be talking to you now," he said.
Thankfully other than some severe bumps and bruises McDonald's injuries were limited to a bad concussion. He has improved a lot in the past couple of weeks and now hopes to be able to make the start line of the Sprint Car National Champs on January 20.
"It has been three and a half weeks since the accident and I am now a week and a half from the champs. I am feeling a lot better – I have got to pass one more concussion test. Every second day I am in at the physio and osteo rehabbing my shoulder and my back.
"I am racing the clock now to get all my sign offs.
"We are also building a brand new car because nothing from the old one survived – even the motor."