Moments after watching popular Dargaville drifting champion Gaz Whiter smash into a concrete barrier in Tauranga, the 5000-strong crowd put their hands in their pockets and came up with $1400 towards the cost of repairing his car.
Whiter had qualified first in the third round of the D1NZ drifting nationals at Baypark over the weekend, before the spectacular crash
It was captured on video and shows pieces of the car's bodywork shattering and flying into the air, shortly before Whiter walks away from the car.
The Northern Advocate wasn't able to speak to Whiter yesterday, but his manager Warren Sare said it was Whiter's skill at the wheel which saved him from an even worse crash.
He managed to turn the wheel and use the gears to manouevre the car sideways. "Anyone else would have gone head-on into the wall ... If you can imagine flying in there at 110 (km/h) and hitting a two-ton concrete block."
Mr Sare said there would have been a matter of a few centimetres between Whiter's car hitting the wall and him skirting past it safely, as drivers throw their cars into the turns as hard as they can.
"He may have just gone 2km/h too fast into the turn, or smoke was blocking his view."
Whiter was yesterday feeling battered and bruised, and suffering from a bit of whiplash, he said.
Drifters don't wear neck restraints like in some other motorsport events, as it restricts their movement and visibility.
Members of the 5000-strong crowd helped raised $1400 for him after a whip-round spearheaded by leading drivers at the event, including V8 Supercar driver Shane van Gisbergen.
Mr Sare said Whangarei's Daniel "Fanga Dan" Woolhouse, who leads the D1NZ series, felt for his mate.
"Fanga Dan told me it was a sick feeling watching what happened to Gaz, because you know what's going through his head," Mr Sare said.
Whiter's car was yesterday up on a jack in Dargaville undergoing checks.
By qualifying first in the preliminary rounds, Whiter had earned enough championship points to remain ninth in the championship overall.
More on the drifting from the weekend, page 32. Visit www.northernadvocate.co.nz to see video footage of Whiter's crash.