Monster Jam coming to Brisbane, and our reporter takes it for a test drive

by admin on March 20th, 2019

filed under 南京夜网

Monster Jam ambassador Rhianna Buchanan in Brisbane ahead of the show on October 1. Photo: Robert ShakespeareI can’t say driving a monster truck was on my bucket list, because I never imagined it would actually happen.
Nanjing Night Net

But a few days after getting the offer, I’m strapped into a five-point harness inside the one-seater Alien Invasion at QSAC on Brisbane’s southside. And she’s roaring, insisting we should go.

It’s a towering white machine, with hard black wheels around a green centre, and leaning on the accelerator with my right foot makes her jump and rattle.

Monster Jam ambassador Rhianna Buchanan gives me some sage advice before I hop in the seat: “It’s all about controlling your enthusiasm.”

“You are so protected and you feel so incredibly safe – you’ve got all the right gear on,” she said.

“But as soon as that engine starts up, you are going to get incredibly excited.

“It’s about making the absolute most of the experience – not everyone gets to drive a 5500kg monster truck, it’s 4 metres wide, 4 metres tall.

“It’s enormous and you are in control of everything.”

Ms Buchanan, who is also an announcer and stuntwoman, said she grew up riding bikes, growing up in Beaudesert and the Logan area.

“I learnt how to drive at an early age, ATVs, buggies, absolutely anything I could get my hands on,” she said.

Ms Buchanan, 29, said there were about 10 female Monster Jam drivers.

“There’s 10 women getting out there every weekend in the stadium and really putting it to the guys and putting on a great show for all the fans out there,” she said.

“It’s something we’re seeing in a lot of different motorsports these days, which is really fantastic, and I hope that I can not only help encourage it but help encourage other girls out there.”

While Ms Buchanan has completed her first stage of training at Monster Jam University, and hopes to drive the trucks on tour in 2017, I’m an extremely long way from giving up my day job.

No taking on the Grave Digger, flying over jumps and crushing cars for me just yet.

I awkwardly haul myself up into the driver’s seat, wearing my restrictive and toasty warm safety gear, where I’m so securely tied in that I can barely move my head and shoulders.

The crew gives a rundown of the controls.

You’re in park, “just like an automatic”, they say. Put your foot on the brake, pull the power lever, pull the fuel level, flick a switch, and the metal and rubber machine shudders to life.

It has first and second gears, but I’m told to stick to first. And don’t forget to push the fuel lever back in and return to park, with a foot on the brake when you turn it off.

Oh, and you can steer using the front wheels via a detachable steering wheel and the back wheels using a switch that presses right or left.

I run through the sequence again and again in my mind but strangely I’m not scared.

We test the kill switch via the radio that gives the people who actually know how to drive these things the ability to shut the Alien Invasion down if I get into trouble. That’s very reassuring.

And then it’s time to drive.

I get off to a slow start, but it feels pretty fast and there’s only a few moments where the Alien feels like it lurches forward. But in retrospect that’s probably the opposite of what you want from your monster truck.

And when I’m cornering at the end of the straight, I realise I’m only turning the switch to turn the back wheels left – not the actual steering wheel. The steering wheel that is for, you know, steering.

I get a bit stuck in the corner, so the instructor runs over and tells me to chuck it into reverse and do a three-point turn.

I’ve got this, I think to myself. Want me to do a reverse-parallel park next? You got it.

Back down the other end of the field and I can’t… seem.. to.. get… Alien… to… turn and keep moving. The motor is running, but I’m only bouncing forward and back a little. It’s confounding.

Turns out I should have hit the gas a bit harder.

I just thought I was stuck in the grass. Because the mortal enemy of a 5 tonne supercharged machine – named after the futuristic potential annihilation of the human race – is lush, green grass.

So, I’m not going to be the next superstar of Monster Jam.

But I had a damn good time.

Monster Jam will be at QSAC at Nathan on October 1.

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This story Administrator ready to work first appeared on Nanjing Night Net.

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