Bull­dust

DEAN MEL­LOR

4 x 4 Australia - - Contents -

THE other day I caught my­self do­ing some­thing I used to do when I was a lit­tle kid, ei­ther in the back of the car on a fam­ily hol­i­day or in the back of a bus on a school ex­cur­sion. I used to gaze out the win­dow and whit­tle away the hours watch­ing the verge on the side of the road rise and fall as it sped by, imag­in­ing my­self rid­ing along it on my Honda XR75, jump­ing cul­verts and skill­fully ne­go­ti­at­ing any other ob­sta­cles that might get in my way. My in­ter­nal mono­logue would mimic an in­cred­u­lous com­men­ta­tor, while at the same time gen­er­at­ing the ac­com­pa­ny­ing sound­track of Soichiro Honda’s scream­ing lit­tle 75cc over­head cam sin­gle, revs quickly climb­ing and fall­ing as I shifted through the imag­i­nary gear­box as the chang­ing ter­rain de­manded.

Roll on 40 years or so and I find my­self driv­ing a well-equipped Holden Colorado through the Vic­to­rian High Coun­try. As I am­ble over steep and bumpy tracks, my mind drifts and I imag­ine that I’m in­stead be­hind the wheel of my Land Rover De­fender. I keep think­ing how much more ground clear­ance I’d have, how the gear­ing would be bet­ter suited to the steep­ness of the coun­try, how I’d have a bet­ter view through the Landy’s up­right, flat wind­screen and over its shorter, stub­bier bon­net, and how I’d have ac­cess to front and rear lock­ers should the need for more trac­tion arise. While there is no com­men­tary go­ing on in my head, I can cer­tainly imag­ine the sound of my Landy’s rat­tly old 300Tdi over the re­al­ity of the Colorado’s barely au­di­ble VM Mo­tori diesel.

You’d reckon that at some stage you’d reach an age when you stop be­ing a kid. As I re­cently notched up a half ton, I can as­sure you that 50 is not it. In fact, to cel­e­brate my 50th birthday I met a few mates in town and pro­ceeded to drink like an 18-year old – so much beer, in fact, that I swore off the grog for the re­main­der of the month.

If my ju­ve­nile be­hav­iour that night wasn’t enough to con­vince me I hadn’t yet “grown up”, then the birthday presents my fam­ily and friends lav­ished upon me cer­tainly were. In amongst the usual drink­ing para­pher­na­lia and bot­tles of wine was a pair of che­quer-plate wings for my De­fender and a Traxxas TRX-4 1/10th scale RC rock crawler. Yep, I might be 50, but I still love play­ing with RC crawlers.

I al­ready have a 1/10th scale RC4WD Ge­lande II De­fender rock crawler (pi­loted by none other than Evel Knievel) with a heap of af­ter­mar­ket good­ies in­clud­ing roof rack, snorkel, Baja De­signs light bar, OME sus­pen­sion, G4 Chal­lenge tent and more, but the Traxxas TRX-4 is next-level. This thing has a dual-range trans­mis­sion, por­tal axles, re­mote lock­ing front and rear diff locks, and stan­dard ac­ces­sories such as bullbar, roof rack, jer­rycan, Hi-lift jack and more. If you haven’t al­ready seen one of these, you should check out the videos on the Traxxas web­site (traxxas.com).

So if 50 is not the age at which one grows up, what is? My dad as­sures me it’s not 84. Sure, he com­plains from time to time that his body doesn’t let him do all the things he could do as an 18 year old, but as­sures me his mind is still that of a young­ster. I reckon there’s good rea­son for this; in all his years he has never stopped do­ing the things he loves, such as fish­ing, trav­el­ling, play­ing ten­nis, read­ing sci-fi books and tin­ker­ing with his tin­nie.

So long as we main­tain the pas­sion and keep do­ing the things we love to do, I don’t reckon we ever have to grow up. I’m cer­tainly not plan­ning to.

Vroom, vroom. When it comes to toys for big boys, age is ir­rel­e­vant.

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