MON­STER JAM MAKES GI­ANT IN­ROADS

Herald Sun - Motoring - - CARSGUIDE CONFIDENTIAL -

THERE is motorsport and then there is Mon­ster Jam.

It could not be any more dif­fer­ent, if you tried, from this week­end’s Bathurst 1000.

The Great Race is all about 1000 kilo­me­tres of com­pe­ti­tion in cars that look a bit like a road-go­ing Com­modore or Fal­con or Volvo V60 or Nissan Al­tima. Win­ning is the big thing, and the only thing, in what in re­al­ity is the grand fi­nal each year for V8 Su­per­cars rac­ing.

By con­trast, Mon­ster Jam is about play­ing — the right word — to a kids-first au­di­ence that’s all about en­ter­tain­ment. No­body re­ally cares who wins be­cause it’s the spec­ta­tors who win.

Bathurst draws a huge crowd each year and is the tele­vi­sion high­light of the sea­son with some great rac­ing and in­evitable prangs, but Mon­ster Jam regularly packs con­verted football sta­di­ums with more than 35,000 fans for a one-night show.

I’m won over dur­ing two fran­tic hours when I see what a Mon­ster truck can re­ally do, from 10-me­tre leaps to back­flips off the back of spe­cially-built dirt jumps.

They barely hit 100km/h but their bel­low­ing 1200kW su­per­charged en­gines al­low them to al­most defy the laws of physics, although six of the 12 starters end the night with me­chan­i­cal fail­ures and three lose wheels in the freestyle com­pe­ti­tion.

Kids love bat­tling beast­ies with names like Grave Dig­ger and Zom­bie and Mon­ster Mutt, with driv­ers who al­ways put the crowds first. They sign au­to­graphs and give truck tours for five hours be­fore the ac­tion be­gins, then the win­ners of var­i­ous com­pe­ti­tion cat­e­gories give their tro­phies away to the crowd, be­fore sign­ing again “un­til the last fan is happy”.

V8 Su­per­cars and Mon­ster Jam both have their place, and their fans, but the ac­tion­packed US event shows what it takes in 2015 to build a solid fu­ture in a world where ‘Win on Sun­day, sell on Mon­day’ is just a faded mem­ory in the car busi­ness.

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