Without a chassis and a roll cage to protect their bodies and keep them attached, motorcycle drag racers are prone to being subjected to the elements more than other type of drag racing machine, and when things go wrong, there’s really no such thing as pretty…just “bad” and “worse”. If you need confirmation of that, just ask Australian Top Bike racer Chris Matheson, who went for a wild ride over the weekend at the Australian National Drag Racing Association’s (ANDRA) Nitro Champs at the Sydney Dragway.
Matheson, a three-time ANDRA Top Bike champion, was on a solo run in the semifinal round of eliminations on his nitro-burning, 6.0-second motorcycle when, at the 1/4-mile finish stripe, he was yanked from the speeding bike by the forces of the wind and sent tumbling through the shutdown area.
As you can see in the video provided by ANDRA, which has been replayed on news telecasts all across Australia, Matheson was fighting the motorcycle nearly the entire run and finally got it settled down and charging smooth at the 1,000-foot mark on its way to a 229 mph (370 km/h) blast. But as soon as he released the throttle and sat up from his laid-out riding position, the wind grabbed his body and pulled his left hand free from the handlebars, creating a horrifying scene as he was was lifted away from the speeding bike, tumbling side-over-side down the pavement. To get an idea of just how fast Matheson was traveling sans his motorcycle, check out the smoke trails coming from his leathers as he slides on the ruthless tarmac.
While incidents just like this one have had far worse outcomes, Matheson miraculously survived with only a broken ankle and certainly some bumps and bruises. A veteran rider in the class, Matheson has returned from tumbles before, and we look forward to seeing him mended and back on the bike with the ANDRA series in the future.