NEWS

Dakar Rally: Matt Campbell survives high-speed crash in desert race

01/13/2015 01:15 EST | Updated 03/15/2015 05:59 EDT
A Calgary driver has been released from a South American hospital after he was injured in a spectacular crash Saturday during an off-road rally through the Bolivian desert.

Matt Campbell, 63, and two teammates were on taking part in the legendary Dakar rally when their vehicle became airborne and flipped several times before coming to a stop.

"The race car was moving at a speed of 174 km/h when suddenly they found the water cut 5 feet deep… There was not much to do but hang on and resist the crash. The affectations are quite notable, the car was completely destroyed," El Martillo racing said in a statement on their Facebook page.

​On mobile? Watch the dramatic crash here.​

"Pretty bruised, pretty sore, but no broken bones. That's the good news," said James Maxim, a Calgary neighbour and friend who has been helping with sponsorship.

Maxim has been in contact with Campbell and his wife, Melanie, who was travelling with him across South America for the nine-day race.

Campbell was behind the wheel at the time of the accident. Reports say the team tried to skim across a stream at high speed when the vehicle's front end became immersed in the water — sending the car into the catapult.

Campbell is the principal driver for the El Martillo Racing team. The team was sitting in 36th place at the time of the accident, according to Maxim.

Matt Campbell is a successful businessman in Calgary. He is the co-founder, CEO and executive chairman of Rocky Mountain Dealerships, which sells farm equipment. The company is listed on the Toronto Stock Exchange.

Campbell raced in last year's Dakar — finishing in 56th place. This year was his second try at the event.

Maxim calls ​the Dakar Rally the "Olympics of off-road racing". The annual endurance race sees teams travel 9,000 kms of tough terrain. The rally is said to be one of the toughest in motorsports.

​On mobile? Watch the video here.

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