Top Fuel Motorcycle champion Chris Matheson took the full brunt of a freak accident during eliminations from the last round of the championship at Hidden Valley Dragstrip.
Matheson was electrocuted with a full charge from the bikes high voltage electrical system through his hands while at high speed due to an engine malfunction.
The jolt through his hands caused him to release his grip on the handle bars, nearly blowing him off the bike as he thundered down the track in the first round of eliminations. Surviving the massive charge Matheson was able to re-gather control of the bike, shutting down at the end of the track. He was then taken to Darwin Base Hospital, where he was held for observation until being released early the next morning.
“The jolt through the handle bars was like being kicked in the chest by a mule, it really belted me about,” recalled Matheson.
“I was extremely lucky I wasn’t blown off, as being sat up like that, you’re vulnerable to huge wind pressure being out of the front aero of the bikes nose cone.
The bizarre event ruled Matheson out for the rest of the event where he admits the team was struggling to perform.
“The whole weekend was tough, despite top qualifying with a lazy 6.628 second pass the night before, we just couldn’t fine our rhythm,” he said.
“The track was great though and we saw a big crowd over both nights, it was fantastic. The officials and track staff did a great job all weekend.
Despite the mishap in the first round of eliminatons, opponent Terry Burnett was disqualified after glancing the wall handing Matheson the win, and a resultant bye in the next round would of seen the team contesting the final.
“The four day drive home to the Nitro Voodoo base in Brisbane with crewman Graeme Turner, gave us plenty of time to ponder what could have been,” said Matheson.
“We have lost our winning reliability and performance over the last season and need to find it if we are going to be serious contenders again.”
Matheson though takes a optimistic view out of the harrowing event.
“I was very fortunate, it could have been a lot worse if the shock didn’t get me, the blow off may very well have beat me up really bad,” he pondered.
And Matheson already knows that feeling after recovering from a near fatal blow off last season, when he alighted from his Top Fuel Motorcycle at over 370kph at Sydney Dragway in May last year.
It was certainly a wild introduction in to Top Fuel Motorcycle for the teams new major sponsor.
“No it was not an ideal start to a new sponsorship deal with BlackAdda, who took major branding rights on the bike in the weeks leading up to the Hidden Valley event,” said Matheson.
Matheson would like to thank all the doctors and nurses in the emergency ward at the Darwin Base Hospital and the ambulance crew who cared for him at the scene.
“I was in good hands and thankful for all the well wishes from fans and friends. I’m looking forward to the Nationals in Sydney in November, we have the chance to do some testing in between and will be ready to roll. Well done to Mark Drew and his team winning the Darwin Round,” said Matheson.
“Thank you once again to our sponsors and supporters, BlackAdda, WebCam, Red Line Oils, RB Performance, Rocket Industries, CRC Industries, PDS Graphics, Kitten Car Care Products, GT Radiators & Machining, Vance & Hines, Hi-Side Leathers, PR Factory Store, Boninfante Friction Inc. and special thanks to Larry “Spiderman”.
The shocking onboard video.