Fierce ride offers thrills and views of Mystery Creek

INTO THE DRINK: The Ranger can drive through water nearly one metre deep.
INTO THE DRINK: The Ranger can drive through water nearly one metre deep.

It's not that I'm a townie; I just don't own a pair of gumboots and I describe cars by colour, not make and model.

The red one is a Ford Ranger, and it's fierce.

In the capable hands of professional driver Tim Martin, I was strapped into the passenger seat and driven over a ragged track - which would have been the death of my old Nissan Sunny.

We began by edging up a steep slope, and to my surprise we didn't slide back down. Apparently this is called roll-over mitigation, designed to stop the vehicle from getting into a dangerous tumbling situation.

Next, we dipped then we rose to climb 45 degrees up a boulder mountain, pieced together by hire company Showscape over the last several weeks.

I heard a crunch from the concrete, but I'm told not to worry about that - the Ford could get away with it.

A pause at the top made for a fleeting view of Mystery Creek, white with tents which awaited the masses of red-band wearing farmers who probably wouldn't feel they've done a hard day's work unless they had mud in their boots.

A magical thing called hill descent control took us down the slope without Martin's foot touching the brake.

My seatbelt was the real hero there, and I felt myself hanging off my seat as we eased down onto the flat.

"Now we take it for a bath," Martin said.

Martin said the Ranger has a wading capacity of up to 800mm, though as we slid into a specially constructed water pit I couldn't help thinking the rain may have tested her limits, and half expected the murky pond to spill through onto my legs. However we came out dry, and with a turn of the wheel we were home free.

Essentially a catwalk for the 2012 truck, the purpose-built course is part of Ford's exhibition at Fieldays this year, and will show off what the beast can do.

A whopping 90 tonnes of stone, 450 cubic metres of sand and around 20 tonnes of logs will have to stand up against the rain to show off the abilities of the vehicle.

It will be one of the most interactive exhibitions at Fieldays, and Martin will take turns with other pro-drivers at giving visitors their own ride around the track each day of Fieldays.

Ford's site is at C99.

Waikato Times