A RIDER participating in the Australian Motocross Championships near Moree at the weekend has been flown to hospital after an accident.
About 11.40am on Sunday, the 24-year-old Victorian man was racing when he came off his bike and suffered chest injuries.
Some of the state's top professional racers had been competing at the time.
The 10-round series was interrupted when the accident occurred.
The event was being held on Boolooroo Weir Rd, north-east of Moree.
The rider was taken to Moree hospital, where he was treated and stabilised, and flown to Tamworth hospital by the Westpac Rescue Helicopter.
He was later forwarded on to John Hunter Hospital in Newcastle for further treatment.
The incident marked the first use of a larger helicopter by the region's Westpac Rescue Helicopter Service for the next five days.
Engineering work is being carried out on the usual two Tamworth BK117 helicopters.
The Bell 412 helicopter has a larger cabin and patient area, a longer fuel range and is capable of carrying two stretcher patients.
During the next five days the larger carrier will allow ambulance paramedics and Tamworth retrieval teams to utilise the helicopter's capabilities.
It is understood it could be a forerunner to a larger helicopter being appointed to the Tamworth service in the next few years.