Big wheels in the stunt business

It takes a monster personality to handle a monster truck, and Ian Soanes is certainly larger than life.

The motor stuntman is in Palmerston North for two performances of the Demon Energy/Rock FM Biggest, Baddest Monster Truck Tour at Arena Manawatu starting tonight.

Even the event title is big and it's the first time the show has been to Palmerston North.

South African-born Mr Soanes has been driving monster trucks since the 1970s. He said he got into the action because it made him popular with the girls.

"It's amazing the amount of sympathy I'd get when I had an accident and ended up in hospital."

Given his reputation as the best in the business, it should come as no surprise his 13-year-old son Tyrin has jumped behind the wheel and is creating a name for himself in the sport.

"He's been driving for years already and holds the world record for being the youngest in the world to drive a car on its two side wheels," said Mr Soanes.

Mr Soanes will be thrilling the crowd tonight alongside Benn Milne, who performs a human torch act and drives the Terror Trip monster truck, capable of jumping more than 15 metres high and 30m through the air over cars.

Rangi Cornfoot will be behind the wheel of a truck that has appeared in an energy drink advertisement and burns 80 litres of alcohol per kilometre with its 1500hp engine.

Clearly an adrenaline junkie, Mr Soanes holds numerous records for motor stunts. All six of his children have given the sport a go, although Tyrin is the one who has stuck at it.

Even wife Debbie was a bridge jumper.

The trucks will be hard out in action tonight and tomorrow night in a two-hour show of bangs, crashes, fire, explosions and FMX (freestyle motocross) aerial displays starting at 6.30pm.

Manawatu Standard