Fifteen-year-old rally driver dies in shocking crash that also killed his navigator when their car plunged into a river

  • Incident occured during race north of Auckland 
  • Tributes are flowing for the two drivers 
  • Teen has remembered for ‘leaving his mark’ on the sport 

A teenage racer and his co-driver have been tragically killed during the Arcadia Road Rallysprint in New Zealand on Sunday. 

Brooklyn Horan, 15, and Tyson Jemmett, 35 were both declared dead at the scene by emergency services after their vehicle left the gravel road and crashed into a swollen river at around 2pm local time.

Horan was driving the vehicle when the incident occured in Paparoa at an event held by Hibiscus Coast Motorsport Club. 

‘Our thoughts are with the family and friends of these two competitors and all involved with the Arcadia Road Rallysprint,’ Motorsport New Zealand president Wayne Christie said. 

‘The whole motorsport community will be understandably shocked and upset by this terrible tragedy. We will be offering support to all those involved in the coming days.’

Brooklyn Horan was just 15 but was already making a big name for himself in NZ rally driving

Tyson Jemmett has been remembered as a loving family man and member of the racing community in New Zealand

Tyson Jemmett has been remembered as a loving family man and member of the racing community in New Zealand

Hayden Paddon, the first New Zealander to win a World Rally Championship stage, said he was lost for words after learning of the double fatal crash.

‘Firstly my deepest thoughts and wishes are with Raana, Lynnaire, Lucy and all families involved during this tragic time. The whole motorsport community is with you,’ Paddon said in a post on social media.

‘To hear of Brooklyn and Tyson’s accident yesterday is numbing,’ he said.

‘Brooklyn, for someone so young, with so much talent and a huge future in the sport who I am sure would have gone all the way. 

You were the future of our sport but also one of the nicest and most humble young man I have ever met. Your career may have only just been starting but you had already left your mark.

‘Tyson, you were one of the true passionate rally fans. I remember you at the [World Rally Championship] events throughout 2017 and 2018 waving the Kiwi flag and supporting us through thick and thin, always pushing the sport of rallying forward in the media. 

‘A great business, sporting and family man. Thinking of your wife and family at this time.’ 

Tributes flowed online for Horan and Jemmett, who is survived by his wife Lucy. The couple both worked together at media company Stuff.

‘This devastating loss is being felt throughout our Stuff whānau (family) today,’ Stuff chief executive Laura Maxwell said.

‘No words can convey the tragedy of losing someone like Tyson in a situation like this, at such an early age, and to express the love we all feel for his family at this time.’ 

Jemmett’s family released a statement saying he was a ‘beloved husband’ of Lucy, loved son of Ian and Pat, brother of Kahlia and loved son-in-law of Caroline and Glenn.

Horan, a highly promising junior, showcased his talents across various racing disciplines, notably participating in this season’s Toyota 86 Championship.

His father Raana is also an accomplished racing driver with a primary focus on rally driving.

Horan’s involvement in rally events was through the family-operated team, Big Black Motorsport, while he collaborated with Mackenzie Motorsport for the Toyota 86 series.

‘Gone too soon,’ Mackenzie Motorsport wrote.

‘Brooklyn was a great kid and a true talent. He will be greatly missed within the team, he will leave a huge hole with his big smile and flamboyant driving style. Our thoughts are with everyone at this tough time.’

Racer Products also posted their condolences to the drivers on Facebook.

‘Our thoughts go out to the Horan friends and whānau at this time. He was a great kid to deal with. His future was bright and he will be missed,’ the post read.

Given that the incident occurred while the road was closed, WorkSafe and MotorSport NZ will be conducting investigations into the events.