26 Feb 2024

Brooklyn Horan and Tyson Jemmett victims of rally crash in Northland

4:15 pm on 26 February 2024
Brooklyn Horan.

Fifteen-year-old Brooklyn Horan has been named as one of the two victims. Photo: Bruce Jenkins Photography

Profile pictures are turning black on social media in honour of the two people killed in a rally sprint crash in Northland.

They have been named as 15-year old Brooklyn Horan, and his co-driver Tyson Jemmett, 35.

Their car crashed into a ditch during the Arcadia Road Rallysprint in Paparoa about 2pm on Sunday, 25 February; they died at the scene.

Social media users have changed their pictures to a black square, or a black background with a gold 89, Brooklyn's driver number.

MotorSport New Zealand said it would cooperate with all investigating agencies as well as undertake its own thorough investigation.

Separate from the rally sprint, Brooklyn was also a competitor in the Toyota 86 Championship.

Toyota Gazoo Racing New Zealand motorsport manager Nicolas Caillol said the teen was a "promising talent" who was getting better and better, round after round, with a couple of recent top five finishes.

According to the rules on the MotorSport New Zealand website, the junior driver program "allows people aged between 12 and 16 the ability to obtain a competition licence with a few extra steps".

Caillol said it was not uncommon for young drivers to participate in this kind of competition.

"We have drivers as young as 13 or 14. To race on circuits in New Zealand you need to be 12. I understand in rally you need to be a bit older."

And it was not uncommon for drivers without a road licence to have a competition licence.

"The best example is Max Verstappen, Formula 1 champion - he was driving in Formula 1 before he got his road license," he said. "When he joined Formula 1 he was only 17."

Tributes pour in

Tributes have been appearing on social media since midday.

Offroad Racing NZ said Brooklyn was "super-fast in any machine, on any surface. Gone too soon".

Racer Products called him "a great kid to deal with. His future was bright and he will be missed".

Brooklyn Horan.

Brooklyn Horan. Photo: FACEBOOK

Winger Motorsport said: "On behalf of the team at Winger Motorsport, we send our condolences to the friends and family of Brooklyn Horan and his co-driver Tyson."

1Eighty Racing said: "Such a raw talent! You will be missed on the track and our thoughts go out to your family."

Hodgson Motorsport posted on Facebook on Monday: "It is with a very heavy heart that today we heard the absolutely devastating news that Brooklyn passed away doing the very thing we grew to love together as families.

"It's times like these that you remember that the sport we chose comes with the highest of highs and the lowest of lows."

"Brooklyn you were an amazing kind loving happy kid and that hadn't changed years later when we crossed paths again back at off-roading last year, the cheeky smile was still the same, you had just grown a weeee bit taller."

Jemmett was a member of staff in Stuff's commercial team.

According to Stuff, he was a "keen motorsport enthusiast and beloved husband".

Stuff chief executive Laura Maxwell said Jemmett was much-loved and respected, and made a huge contribution to the formation of the company's audio division.

Brooklyn was driving the car when it crashed, Stuff confirmed.

MotorSport New Zealand chief executive Elton Goonan told Morning Report it was still trying to compile the details of the crash. "The car veered off the road into a ditch, and that's as much as I know at the moment."

He said there was no suggestion that the rules needed to change at this stage.

"Our rules we set in alignment with our international governing body and they've been in place nearly 75 years now, so it's something we definitely don't want a knee-jerk reaction on, but it's something that will definitely be looked at very very closely."