As Team D-MAX prepares to headline at Maitland Show for the third year in a row, the precision drive troupe have shared the secret to their most popular stunt; driving on two wheels.
With decades of experience and thousands of kilometres of two-wheel driving under his belt, 63 year old Team D-MAX veteran Dave Shannon makes balancing an Isuzu D-MAX ute at an angle of 60 degrees look easy.
But as Shannon explains, negotiating a circuit on two wheels is no easy feat and has taken years to master.
“When we first started doing it [driving on two wheels] in 1981, there were no parameters and nobody to learn from,” Mr Shannon said.
“We didn’t know how high the kicker ramp [utilised to tip the vehicle] needed to be, what gear to select or what sort of speed to drive at.
“It was very much a case of trial and error and we eventually came up with a formula [for two wheel driving] that works.”
Team D-MAX will perform demonstrations on February 18 in front of the grandstand at 5:00pm and 7:00pm.
They will drive near standard Isuzu D-MAX SX crew-cab utes tio perform a range of stunts that will leave the crowd in awe.
Mr Shannon said knowing you have to drive in second gear at 22 to 25 kilometres per hour is only half the battle when attempting to drive on two wheels.
He said driving that way was counter-intuitive.
“To perform a turn while on two wheels, the car needs to lean over like a motorbike, so a tight turn in one direction sometimes means we’ve got to steer a little bit in the opposite direction in order to get the weight transferred,” he said.
“It’s one of those things where someone who has done it can only teach you so much, after that you have to work out the remainder for yourself.
“It’s a very frustrating thing to learn. You take one step forward and two steps back or two steps forward and one step back, then one day, it all just clicks.”
Mr Shannon said the next step to mastering the stunt was learning how to control the vehicle on a variety of surfaces.
“On bitumen you might learn how to drive on two wheels in a month or so, but when you get on to dirt or grass and have to deal with slippery and uneven surfaces, it’s a whole new ball game – it’s like learning all over again,” he said.
Only a handful of drivers who have worked for the precision driving team in its 50 year history have successfully mastered the art of two-wheel driving, which is testament to the skill required.