Monster of a driving lesson

Emily Blatchford has been for a crazy, insane, petrifying, death-defying monster truck driving lesson.
Emily Blatchford has been for a crazy, insane, petrifying, death-defying monster truck driving lesson.

"SURE. That would be lovely."

That was my response when Clive Featherby, Australian Monster Truck Champion, asked if I would like to come down to the Gladstone Showgrounds for a monster truck driving lesson. Boy oh boy. What an inappropriate choice of word that was.

Thrilling? Yes. Adrenaline-pumping? Oh yes. Completely crazy, insane, petrifying, death-defying and something I won’t mention to my mother any time soon? Yes, yes, yes. However, "lovely," monster trucks are not.

First of all, these things are massive. I know it seems obvious – they are called monster trucks after all - but when you’re actually staring at one face-to-face, or face-to-wheel in my case, their size is truly daunting. They could crush a 4WD like an ant.

Second, they are LOUD. Unbelievably loud. A guttural, hungry-to-crush-stuff deafening roar kind of loud.

Mr Featherby, who has been driving these monsters all around the world for the past twelve years, makes handling one of these vehicles look like a piece of cake. The reality is somewhat different. Not only is the volume deafening– almost like a physical pressure against your eardrums – but the ethanol fumes will have your eyes gushing water in no time. It’s amazing drivers can even see, let alone perform death-defying tricks.

However, the sense of power you got from being behind the wheel was intoxicating. Not to mention a whole lot of fun. I got the feeling that during show time, there would be no stopping these bad boys and what they could do. And I am referring to both the trucks and Mr Featherby when I say that.

"Let me show you how it’s done," Mr Featherby said after I had done a couple of, what I considered to be, hair-raising and dare-devilish laps. Well. Let’s just say people could hear my screams even above the engine. And according to Mr Featherby, that was a tame run.

Monster Trucks will be thrilling audiences this Saturday at Gladstone Showgrounds. Book your tickets at

Believe me, you won’t be disappointed.

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Senator John Williams, Ben Franklin and Ballina Mayor David Wright at Boulders Beach. They were visiting projects on the Northern Rivers to have received funding under the Regional Jobs and Investment Package.

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