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Bike or car for fast star

A wheel thrill: Stefan Dennis owns two motorbikes.

FOR more than 20 years, Stefan Dennis has called Ramsay St home.  He has played Paul Robinson on and off since 1985 in Neighbours, becoming one of the show's enduring stars.

But there is much more to Dennis, including a world record for endurance karting. He set the mark in 1995 with team mates Russ and Steve Malking and David Brabham when they covered 1664.7km on a 1.3km course in Britain.  The 49-year-old actor is also a keen motorcycle enthusiast and one day hopes to again own a Porsche.

What was your first car?
My first car was an AP5 Valiant but I'm pretending it wasn't, because I hated it. My first real baby was a beautiful 1971 Mazda Capella. It was white with black interior and it had furry faux-sheepskin seatcovers. It was my pride and joy with my surf racks on top. And then I smashed it.

What do you drive now?
I have a navy Audi A6 and my wife, Gail, has a van. I also have two bikes -- aren't I a tosser? My bikes are delicious. I have a Yamaha R1. I describe it as orgasmically frightening. My other bike is a Harley. I got it only recently. That was Gail's doing. She thinks I've reached an age at which I need to slow down and ride a cruisey bike.

Do you have a favourite drive and who would you take?
My favourite drives (car) are anywhere in British Columbia, Canada and up the west coast and into the highlands of Scotland. I would take Gail. She is from Glasgow. My favourite ride (motorbike) is the Great Ocean Rd.

How far would you drive in an average year?
I live on the outskirts of Melbourne, up in the Dandenongs, so I do a lot of driving. I would do at least 500km a week. The moral environmental side of me loves riding motorbikes because I have this vague feeling of less guilt because I'm not contributing as much pollution into the air.

Do you have a favourite motoring memory?
Two of my best friends, from London, and I rode bikes up through the southern French and northern Italian Alps. That was awesome.

What would you buy if money were no object?
Car wise, call me a wanker, but I would buy a Porsche. They're my favourite sports car in the world. I just love them. I love German technology and engineering. To me it's the ultimate driver's machine. And bike-wise, the sportsbike and adrenalin junkie in me would buy the latest Yamaha R1 again. Or the Suzuki GSX-R.

What music is playing in your car?
Anything from the Beatles to Maroon 5 to classical to heavy rock. At the moment I have Michael Jackson's Greatest Hits in the car. It's such good driving music.

How much is too much for a new car?
The price of a house. My darling wife and sensibility has taught me that cars are a depreciating asset and real estate is an appreciating asset. If you can buy a car for the same price as a piece of real estate, and you buy the car -- you're a knob!

What should be done to make driving safer?
The sooner it is mandatory for people to do an advanced driver's course to learn to drive and to control a car properly, the sooner we will have a lot less road trauma.

Are you sponsored by a car company?
No, but if anyone out there wants to, I really want a Porsche!

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