Man who crashed overtaking partner at high-speed in Pukekohe in critical condition

A man is in a critical condition in Auckland's Middlemore Hospital on Saturday after his car hit a tree in Pukekohe.

Witnesses say he was overtaking his partner in another vehicle - and she had a young child in the backseat.

The tree outside Sam Scholten and James Watson's Pukekohe house bears all the wounds of a serious crash.

The skid-marks, oil and broken glass were still there on Saturday morning - evidence of Friday night's scene of chaos.

"First thing you hear when hear someone's been racing you think 'boy racers' but yeah it was just people being dumb on the road," Watson says.

Police were called to the crash at around 9:30pm last night on a stretch of Helvetia Road - where rural turns residential, and the road turns nasty.

"They were trying to overtake each other, see who could overtake the fastest on this road, which is just not a good idea," Watson says.

One driver lost control, crashing head-on into the tree.

"When we came out the guy didn't sound like he was breathing, he was coughing up blood and making a bit of a racket so we pulled the door open and called the emergency services," Scholten says.

It was then they learned the driver of the other car was the man's girlfriend.

"The lady that was on the scene said it was her partner and he'd tried overtaking her on the back straight," Scholten adds.

The witnesses say the female driver had a young child in the back seat.

Locals Newshub spoke to say it's a difficult stretch of road, with an 80km/h zone quickly turning into 50, a hill, a blind corner, and an intersection on that corner. Crashes are reasonably common.

"People do come racing up and down the road pretty regularly, I guess it was bound to happen at some stage," Scholten says.

"Don't try and be a hero, don't try and race on a road like this," Watson pleads.

A moment of recklessness that's left a man fighting for his life.