ANYBODY eager enough to be standing waiting for a daring bunch of stuntmen to start an hour before gates opened would have probably picked out the proverbial sore thumb.
While moto-cross riders joked, monster truck drivers roared their engines and catering staff flipped their burgers, a tall skinny lad in a shirt and tie stood trying his utmost to act laid back and cool.
The problem however was a simple one. I was the tall, skinny lad trying to give off the air that I didn’t give a care in the world – and I was failing terribly.
Considering the biggest adrenaline rush I’ve ever had was roaring my old Ford Ka, with 100,000 miles behind it, over the 60mph mark with a steering wheel shaking in my hands, I had to check it was tea I had been drinking when I confidently volunteered to play a part in the stunt show.
I picked the phone up casually expecting a straight “no”, with a high-viz clan of 7ft blokes letting me nowhere near the impressive array of vehicles and bikes assembled at Hartlepool Marina ready for Thursday’s show.
“Yeah no probs Dom, that will be fine,” replied a friendly voice down the phone at the same time, coincidentally, as my stomach flipped more times than footballer Cristiano Ronaldo at minimal impact.
“How do you fancy being the passenger in a car which goes up on two wheels?”
And that was that. I had signed my life away or so I thought as caring colleagues circled and chirped away pointing out anything and everything that could possibly go wrong.
Gathering my family and saying my goodbyes did cross my mind. Then I realised maybe I was overdoing the whole thing just a touch.
My try-hard laid back look was inadvertently thrown out of the window as I stood at the side of the site waiting for my call to get in the car.
“What’s the press lad called again,” asked the commentator/stuntman as the show got underway.
“It’s the skinny one isn’t it?”
I guessed that was my cue.
After watching the stunt performed three times without any hitches I had plenty of faith in Steve, the driver.
I was told to get in the back, hold on with my right hand and prepare for a shudder as the car hit back down on four wheels.
It seemed like an easy Sunday morning drive for Steve. After heading up the ramp and on to two wheels with my head getting seemingly closer to the floor, Steve turned and started chatting.
I can only hope he didn’t walk away blasting my ignorance for my half-hearted attempt at a normal conversation.
Bang! Back to four wheels, and that was that.
A quick handshake, a walk back into the crowd and I was done. A big thanks to the brilliant Extreme Stunt Show crew for letting me take part.
l And just so you know as you race to open your laptop, the video of the stunt filmed from inside and outside of the car is online now at www.hartlepoolmail.co.uk.
l More pictures from the show in Monday’s Mail.