Speedway ace breaks neck in race crash
The Lismore champion was the navigator in a buggy competing in the Victorian Off Road Racing Association Donald 500 on Saturday when his vehicle crashed after hitting a dip on a section of the 100km track that runs around Lake Buloke.
The buggy rolled several times after crashing at more than 150km/h.
It took paramedics more than an hour to extract the father-of-three from the wreck.
He was later flown by helicopter to the Alfred Hospital in Melbourne.
According to a hospital spokesperson, he remains in a stable condition.
The driver of the buggy was his long-time friend Mark Eveleigh, who has been involved with Herne in motorsport for many years.
He escaped the crash with minor injuries. Eveleigh even owned Herne's V8 Dirt Modified car for a short time.
Herne is believed to have suffered breaks to his C6 and C7 vertebrae.
He will undergo surgery tomorrow to stabilise the injuries. He also has fractured ribs and a fractured sternum.
According to a source close to the family, doctors are confident the racer will walk again.
Herne's father, Harvey, and mother, Marcia, have travelled from Lismore to be by his side, and his wife Karen and their three children will also travel from Lismore to Melbourne at the weekend.
"Stuart is due for surgery on Thursday to fix the spinal injuries," Mrs Herne told The Northern Star by email.
"After a short period of rest in hospital we are expecting Stuart to return to Lismore in good spirits.
"On behalf of Stuart, myself, my family and the staff at Herne's Freight Service we wish to thank all those people who have contacted us to offer their support and best wishes for Stuart.
"We will keep you updated on Stuart's progress as developments occur."
Herne's Freight Service will continue to operate as normal, according to manager Kevin Talbot.
"We've just got our fingers and toes crossed that he'll be okay," Mr Talbot said.
In a terrible coincidence, Mrs Herne was involved in a car accident on Monday morning when a P-plater crashed into the back of her 4WD on Wyrallah Road, Lismore. She received only minor injuries.