SuperStock Teams Championships at Palmerston North canceled after driver dies in crash

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SuperStock Team Champions at the Central Energy Trust Arena.

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SuperStock Team Champions at the Central Energy Trust Arena.

A driver has died after crashing during the SuperStock Teams Championships at Palmerston North.

A police spokesperson confirmed that one person died at the Central Energy Trust Arena at 6.15pm on Sunday evening.

The driver was Stephen Penn, a member of the Manawatū Mustangs.

Promoter Bruce Robertson said there was an incident and the race was cancelled.

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“We advise people to hold on to their tickets and relevant information will be available in due course,” he said.

Speedway NZ had seized the car and would investigate, it said.

Stephen Penn takes a checkered flag for the Manawatū Mustangs following their victory over the Whanganui Warriors in December last year.

Ivan Smeaton

Stephen Penn takes a checkered flag for the Manawatū Mustangs following their victory over the Whanganui Warriors in December last year.

A witness, who declined to be named, said the accident happened during the first race of the night.

“They were trying to keep teams away in case it rained. [The driver] went down the straight hard, hit the other car, went sideways, backed up and went straight into the wall.

“It was a really big hit…but it doesn’t usually happen that way.”

The witness said the race started at 5.45pm and it took the cars 22 minutes to complete six laps because there were “four big hits”.

“When they finished, the crowd gave a standing ovation. It’s just amazing.

Another man, who witnessed the crash from the stands, said it appeared the driver was unconscious as soon as he hit the wall.

“He slammed into the back of the other car, tried to push it against the wall, but he rammed head-on into the wall.

“It looked like he was knocked out instantly. He wasn’t on the brakes and continued down the track before coming to a stop.”

At 7 p.m., the ground announcer said the large crowd could not continue, but did not provide further details.

A spokesperson for St John’s said they were called to Pascal St near the Arena at 6.06pm and were at the scene to assist police.

WorkSafe has been notified. Police said they would investigate on behalf of the coroner.

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