Dream ride

Sunday Tasmanian - Tassie Living - - Television - DAVID POUGHER

SHANE Ja­cob­son is a busy man. As well as host­ing Top Gear

Aus­tralia, he plays mine sur­vivor Brant Webb in Bea­cons­field, about the Tas­ma­nian mine col­lapse, ap­pears in the up­com­ing fea­ture film

Sur­viv­ing Ge­or­gia, has pro­duced and nar­rated a se­ries on Foxtel called

Rock Soldiers, and is the voice of Santa in the an­i­mated fea­ture,

Santa’s Ap­pren­tice.

But the one thing that puz­zles him is how any­one could classify his role on Top Gear as ‘‘ work’’.

‘‘ There’s not a bad part to it,’’ Ja­cob­son says, laugh­ing.

‘‘ It’s like some­one says ‘ can we pay you to eat food plus sit on the fer­ris wheel?’. You’d say ‘ Of course you can and if you want to call it a job, away you go’.

‘‘ It’s an adult play­ground, a whole bunch of grown-up peo­ple car­ry­ing on like kids.

‘‘ I just don’t con­sider it a job. When I spoke to my man­ager and agent, I said: ‘ This is just me be­ing doc­u­mented do­ing my hobby’.

‘‘ You can call it what you like, call me a pre­sen­ter, but this is just me do­ing what I en­joy.’’

Ja­cob­son [ pic­tured] be­lieves one of the things that made the orig­i­nal UK Top Gear so pop­u­lar is the long­stand­ing chem­istry be­tween pre­sen­ters Jeremy Clark­son, James May and Richard Ham­mond.

While the Aussie team is some way from es­tab­lish­ing that sort of rap­port, Ja­cob­son be­lieves they’re on the same track.

‘‘ The one thing ev­ery­one en­joys about the UK show is the re­la­tion­ship be­tween Jeremy, James and Richard and it’s the same with Steve [ Pizzati], Ewen [ Page] and me, we get along re­ally well,’’ he says. ‘‘ We’ve got a com­mon in­ter­est.

‘‘ This sea­son it’s the first time ever in Top Gear Aus­tralia that the same hosts have come back, so we truly know each other.

‘‘ We talked dur­ing the last se­ries about whether the chem­istry is as good as the UK, but of course it can’t be be­cause they’ve been to­gether for about 15 years.

‘‘ But we have a ball. I had so much fun this sea­son, more than last sea­son be­cause we are like mates who have back­packed to­gether.’’

Ja­cob­son de­scribes him­self as a car en­thu­si­ast and won’t buy into the fa­mous Aus­tralian Holden v Ford ri­valry. But with a gig­gle he ad­mits: ‘‘ I do ap­pear to have quite a slant to­wards Holden, I’ll ad­mit.

‘‘ I’ve got an EH Holden, an HJ Kingswood, an HQ ute and I drive a Holden V8 and if you think there’s a pat­tern in that, it’s up to you.

‘‘ But I have a VW Kombi camper as well. And a rally car.

‘‘ But if I was go­ing to get a hot rod it would prob­a­bly be a Ford and there are a cou­ple of Fords I’d like to buy in time be­cause, ob­vi­ously, my car col­lec­tion is in­com­plete.’’

While Ja­cob­son de­scribes the new sea­son as con­tain­ing the usual may­hem – chal­lenges, tests, dune buggy rac­ing and a seg­ment he swears will prove V8s can solve the world’s prob­lems – it was a Holden that stood out for him: the Holden Efijy, a con­cept car that is a modern take on the old FJ and which won a de­sign award in the US, beat­ing the Amer­i­cans at their own game.

‘‘ It’s the only one of its kind in the world and there will never be an­other one,’’ Ja­cob­son says, clearly awed.

‘‘ Ewen got to drive that one but I got to sit in it. I wasn’t ac­tu­ally part of the story but I raced down to Wil­liamstown just to see it be­cause this car is the most amaz­ing thing I’ve put my eyes on. I just love it.

‘‘ You don’t have to be a mo­tor­ing en­thu­si­ast to look at it and re­alise it’s some­thing spe­cial. We gave that car the re­spect it de­serves.’’

But he ad­mits: ‘‘ There are other cars, it has to be said, that don’t get the re­spect they de­serve.’’

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