By Pete McNae

By now, many Nelson speedway fans will be aware of a tragic road crash a fortnight ago that resulted in the death of a local woman and critical injuries for Nelson Speedway Association club member Simon Rieter. While the details of the crash are yet to be made clear, Rieter and his work colleagues appear to have been the unfortunate victims of another driver’s error.

Rieter, who joined the sprintcar class in Nelson last season, spent more than a week in an induced coma in intensive care in Christchurch but recent news has been positive. Despite suffering severe multiple injuries, he has been brought out of the coma, has already undergone some preliminary surgery and was expecting to be transferred from Christchurch back to Nelson this week to continue his recovery and rehabilitation.

A bank manager and married father of a young family, the likeable Rieter faces a lengthy recuperation. So, on Saturday when the Milestone Homes Top of the South Speedway hosts the sprintcar class for round two of the Hydraulink and Brooks Auto Painters War of the Wings, Rieter’s fellow competitors will be doing their bit to help the Rieter family.

After the time trials (scheduled for 5.30pm) and before the Grand Parade, sprintcar competitors will do a helmet collection through the crowd, to get extra cash to help the family with the bills they will face in coming weeks and months.

Jason Smith, driver of the XLR8 Motorsport 89N Maxim, said: “Simon’s a family person, a great guy and we are all concerned about what he’s been through already and what might still come.

“If anyone can spare 5 or 10 bucks when we come through the crowd, it will go a long way towards helping his family.

“It was a great bit of news to hear he was leaving the ICU but we all know that it doesn’t end there – he was badly banged up and the thoughts of all of us in the class and the whole speedway family are with Simon and his wee family.”

Nelson Speedway Association vice-president Kevin Freeman, who is a founder of the War of the Wings series that Rieter had planned to contest before the accident, added: “The latest news is that he’s busting to get home, he wants to get out of hospital and he’s in good spirits which is really positive after where he was directly after the crash.

“We did a whip round in the pits last weekend among the drivers but Simon is a Nelson guy and part of our club, so we will come through the crowd on Saturday with some helmets just before the race meeting starts — anything people can spare will be a help for Simon, Penny and their family.”