Ram 1500 2021 review: DT Limited
The new-generation Ram 1500, the DT Series, has arrived. This modern utility...
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I'll admit here and now, as a youth in Goulburn, NSW, I was a bit of a hoon behind the wheel.
Mates had old farm cars that we used to bash around paddocks, doing handbrake turns, slides, belting them up and down steep inclines and jumping them over (small) ramps.
Sometimes there was even some argy bargy that predated demolition derbies but was essentially the same thing.
All good fun.
Then, last week, it all came flooding back as the Isuzu Team D-Max Driving Team re-introduced me to stunt driving.
This time, it wasn't just mucking about in a paddock, it was choreographed driving science that included instruction on how to put a car up on two wheels and drive it like they do in the movies.
The Isuzu Team D-Max Driving Team makes appearances all around the country mostly at agricultural shows where they are a highlight especially among the kids.
But as the saying goes, don't attempt to do this at home kids…..
The team produce a tightly scripted and timed array of precision (stunt) driving tricks like two wheeling, ramp jumps over four cars, close-quarter driving with up to four D-Maxes "dressing" off the front car's inside rear view mirror, forward and reverse handbrake turns and other cool stuff.
They rehearse each performance to make sure everything runs perfectly which it does most of the time.
Someone thought I might be a good candidate to learn a new driving trick or two. Can you teach an old dog new tricks?
The first attempt comes after one of the drivers takes you for a spin completely around the oval shaped arena - on two wheels perched at an angle of about 70-80 degrees.
After that introduction, it was my turn to two wheel...in an ancient Toyota Corolla rear wheel drive sedan with an outrigger wheel protruding from the driver's door - to prevent the car from completely toppling over.
They get you to drive up a one metre high ramp at about 15kmh before you drive off the edge and try to keep the car on its two right hand tyre sidewalls.
Somewhat difficult is my best description as proven after half a dozen or so unsuccessful attempts. If you go too far and onto the outrigger wheel you're done - start again.
On the seventh attempt I actually got the Corolla to stay on its sidewalls for a few metres, juggling the steering wheel from left to right to balance the car. It ain't an easy thing reader.
Enough of that, onto the jumps.
This could easily double as a fairground attraction if it wasn't so dangerous.
The driver has to be going at precisely the right speed in a very narrow corridor to complete the stunt.
Make a slight error and you can fly off the edge, hit the front of the down ramp or go too far and wind up in the arena fence.
But instructor Jack Monkhouse allayed my fears and proceeded to faultlessly jump his D-Max about a dozen times over the three metre high ramp-over that's formed from the team's semi-trailer transporter. It's eerie when everything goes quiet when you get air.
Then on the down trajectory, the brakes must be violently applied almost as soon as you land to cut the stopping distance to a minimum.
Jack says "We have roll cages, racing seats and harnesses, rally style handbrake controls and some minor mechanical modifications to the suspension. The most important change we make is actually the tyres, Toyo's Open Country H/T tyres give us the grip we need on all sorts of different surfaces and are the ultimate in terms of toughness and puncture resistance. We jump the cars on these tyres and even drive them on two wheels."
The day proceeded apace with instruction in forward and reverse handbrake turns complete with drive outs after the turn has been made, again, just like the movies.
Got that one OK, well, the front to rear version anyway.
All that practice as a youth was paying off.
They wanted to keep going but the body was saying no after taking a battering dropping down from the two wheeling and landing after the jumps. Bang, thump, crash - can take no more of this punishment.