Out Of Control But In Control

Posted: March 13, 2011 in All

Sunday the 13th of March I was lucky enough to take part in the Drive Rush Stunt Driving School based in the car park at North Harbour Stadium thanks to a voucher given to me from my lovely wife. I was nervous before going and I needn’t have been. The instructors were very friendly and made it an extremely fun couple of hours for all those attending, including the spectators. Drive Rush is run by Peter Bell and for those of you who don’t know he has a wealth of experience in stunt co-ordination and driving that has seen his name in the credits of over 200 films around the world in his thirty year career. He is also the Guinness World record holder for the tightest parallel park; you may have seen him on TV smashing this record.

Instructors Precision Driving.

The morning started off with a brief chat and stunning demonstration of precision driving by the instructors then it was our turn at the wheel. But there is more to it than just the wheel. In fact most of the control of the vehicle is determined by how and when you use the accelerator, foot brake and handbrake. Thanks to Peters knowledge and being able to explain exactly where and when to do what with what even the most pea brained driver would manage these stunts with ease.

Me executing a 90 degree stop.

Firstly we practiced a 90 degree spin which, and here I need to brag a little, I managed perfectly the first time. Even Peter said ‘You’ve done this before haven’t you?’ To which I responded ‘Well, no, not legally anyway!’ unfortunately the next couple of attempts weren’t so great. Next up was the 180 degree spin which took me a couple of goes to get right as it was quite a bit harder and required more accurate timing of handbrake tweak-wheel left-lift off-footbrake tweak-wheel right! It sounds easy when they explain it, and looks easy when you see them doing it but bloody hell it does take split-second timing and accuracy to get right! Oh, and a hell of a lot of fun trying!

Sliding through for the 180, second attempt.

Fourth attempt.

Then it was off to another area of the stadium car park where we laid our eyes on a ramp. Yes, a ramp. We were going to be jumping the cars. At first I must admit I was fair shitting myself here. All the videos of stunts gone wrong that I’ve seen on TV and YouTube over the years started flashing through my head but then I told myself ‘Don’t be stupid, these guys know what they are doing… I hope!’ After all, they will be in the car with us, are they brave or stupid? Well, my first run was up and not knowing what to expect I was a little apprehensive and didn’t accelerate quick enough initially but by the time we got to the ramp the speed was just right. The car launched into the air and came down with a bang on the ramp on the other side perfectly. The second run was much more enjoyable knowing what to expect. Thankfully Drive Rush have equipped their cars with limiters on them otherwise you’d be doing a quick shopping trip into The Warehouse at the other side of the car park!

First run.

Second run.

Next we headed back to the skid pan for a race. One instructor’s team against the other. One member of the team would head down the skidpan, do a 90 degree park, head back and do another with penalties given for various offences like killing an instructor, or a road cone. The next member would then do the same but with the 180 degree park and so-on. Well as I had found I was better at the 180 I opted to go second. The first run to the end and do the 180 was a bit slow as I was trying to remember how it was all done but with Peter sitting next to me filling my ears with the technique I pulled off a perfect 180 degree stop with no penalty. Brimming with more confidence and knowledge I headed back for the final 180 but that confidence was short lived when I realised the speed of the car was a little more than it should have been. The moment I pulled the handbrake I just knew that road cone wasn’t going to survive. Whoops, 10 second penalty, the only one our team got! Can’t remember the exact time but we were around 4 minutes 50 while the other team’s penalties saw them at closer to 5 minutes.

All in all I couldn’t think of a better way to spend a Sunday morning than at Drive Rush. All of us left there with a huge smile and a better understanding of how to control a car. Just hope that I’m never in a real world situation where that knowledge will be needed but it’s good to know it’s there.

To find out more or book yourself in, which I HIGHLY recommend, check out their website www.driverush.co.nz. If you know someone that would love this experience it will make a great gift and you can get the vouchers from www.redballoon.co.nz/driving-experiences/stunt-driving.

This was the level 1 course. I for one will be booking in the level 2 course before too long and will definitely be doing the level 3 after that!

  1. ryan says:

    Am i able to learn the basics of holding a controlled drift here? like just a quick couple of hours of car control without tractional. I feel like its something that would be a really cool skill to know even in real life in order to control your car when in an emergency??

    • Ken Maule says:

      I don’t know about learning a controlled drift. While this Stunt Driving School is mostly about fun it is also about education and learning how to control a car in an emergency. Learning sbout what a car can and can’t do and how it behaves when it gets out of control.

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