STUNTS FOR FUN
TUNT driving. Mention those two words and most car enthusiasts who have ever sat through a James Bond movie will imagine themselves doing something incredibly dangerous in a car they could never afford.
So, when the opportunity arose for me to give the Driver Dynamics stunt driving school a go, I had visions of myself swerving a Ferrari through a flaming building sideways and making a graceful exit through a plate glass window.
With that in mind, I promptly said what any self-respecting 20-something male would say to such an offer. Yes.
A few days later I discovered I would need to know how to drive a manual — which put a kink in my plans to appear in Die Hard 5.
Three days out before my stunt driving debut I enlisted my dad to give me a quick lesson in a manual — which turned into several lessons in which he did little except laugh.
But, by the time I arrived at the Sandown race track I was cool,
Scalm and possessed the confidence to drive a manual. Or so I thought.
Trackside, I was a little disappointed to discover the Ferrari from my stunt dreams had been replaced by a Mini Cooper. That’s the first lesson. It’s not the size of the car, it’s the awesome stunts you can do in it that counts.
There are several things you should never, ever do on the road. Four of them featured in the Driver Dynamics stunt driving school.
The main idea is to give drivers a chance to experience situations in which they lose complete control of a car, but in a controlled environment so you can enjoy it.
Perhaps the most tricky stunt is driving on two wheels.
Put simply, cars are normally not meant to be driven on two wheels.
That’s why Driver Dynamics wears out about 400 tyres a year teaching two-wheel techniques.
And they certainly aren’t meant to be driven on two wheels by anyone without a LOT of experience.
This is where Driver Dynamics head honcho and chief instructor Kevin Flynn comes in.
Rather than swerve to avoid a carelessly placed ramp, he uses it to tilt the Toyota Yaris gently on to two wheels.
He then takes you for a leisurely spin around the course with a bit of small talk thrown in so you will not freak out.
Conveniently there is an outrigger-type extension attached the the side of the car to catch it before it rolls.
It’s not exactly factory standard (or even an option, really) but it is comforting to see it when you’re looking at the bitumen through the driver’s-side window.
Fortunately, a professional is on hand for the two-wheeled stunt.
However, all participants are invited to have a go at jumping the Minis.
The ramp rises at a 30-degree angle, ending rather abruptly and with a drop off on either side that could rip the underside out of a car.
In the interest of safety a governor limits the top jump speed to 40km/h.
All you really have to do is keep the car in a straight line and floor it.
For those who cannot drive a manual you can still go along for a ride as part of the Driver Dynamics Wild Ride package.
No one has been injured in the course and it is popular as a gift, presumably by those looking to bring forward their inheritance or avoid a messy divorce.
As a bonus you get a certificate to prove you’re a stunt driver.
There’s probably not a lot you can do with it but it will look good on the CV, even as a talking point. Besides, you never know where it could lead.
Seriously, anyone working on Die Hard 5. I’m available.