WHEN I was told I had the opportunity to take a spin in a ute at the Bendigo Agricultural Show, I instantly agreed; I thought it would be a nice break from walking around the Princes of Wales Showgrounds.
What I didn’t realise I’d agreed to, and what Toyota Unbreakable HiLux Heroes driver John Boston relished in telling me, was that I would be harnessed into a standard ute which would be drifting at high speeds, travelling in extremely close proximity to three other vehicles and jumping off ramps.
Then, when my heart rate was already going through the roof, my good mate John told me we’d use a ramp to hurl ourselves onto two wheels and drive on our side for a good 50 metres.
I gave my phone to our photographer and told her where she could find my parents’ numbers if worse comes to worse.
The ever-tactful John chose that choice time told me about the “high speed cross over”, where four cars line up in a diagonal square formation drive at each other at speeds of 80 kilometres per hour and hope they don’t hit each other.Once I’d escaped the clutches of John and was belted, buckled and helmeted within an inch of my life, I made sure I enquired as to my driver Dave Shannon’s qualifications.
He assured me he’d been driving in the precision driving team since 1981 – the team perform two to three shows a day 120 days of the year – and he had a fairly good idea of what he was doing.
As we drove out onto the ground, which was surrounded with people waving at us, I felt like a moviestar and started to forget my fears.
Once we were off and through the first of many handbreak turns, I even started to enjoy it.
I won’t lie, there was a bit of yelping after our first leap into the air off a ramp, but once we’d landed I wanted to do it again.
It is a credit to the driving team and the immense skill they possess that they could make me feel comfortable while reversing into another car at high speeds.
I’m probably not going to quit my day job to become a stunt woman, but it was much better than a casual drive around the showgrounds.