Waikaraka Park Speedway president believes car's brakes failed in crash

A stock car's brakes failed before it ploughed into a photographer at a race meeting, critically injuring him, according to a track official.

John Sprague was taking photos at the NZ SuperStocks event at Waikaraka  Park Speedway in central Auckland on Saturday night when he was hit shortly before 8pm.

He was taken to Auckland City Hospital in a critical condition, and remained critical on Sunday morning.

Waikaraka Park Speedway president Frank Irvine said on Sunday that Sprague was standing "in the correct place" for photographers when he was hit.

READ MORE: Photographer hit by stock car at Waikaraka Park Speedway in critical condition

"Evidently some mechanical failure happened with the car," Irvine said.

"I believe the car had a mechanical failure; the gearbox blew up and something got under the brake pedals.

"The gearbox blew up, so it disintegrated, and parts of the gearbox went under the brake pedals, so the brakes weren't operative."

Irvine said the "freak accident" was now being investigated by police and Speedway New Zealand.

Police said on Sunday that officers were making inquiries about the incident, and WorkSafe had been notified. 

Speedway New Zealand president David Jones said that the governing body took health and safety very seriously.

"All incidents reported to us are fully investigated to ensure, in the context of our sport, all reasonably practical steps are taken to minimize risks to both competitors, infield staff and the public," Jones said.

He was unable to provide further comment while an investigation was under way.

"Our thoughts and priorities are with the injured person and his family at this time, and those affected by the incident."

 - Stuff