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The Monsters versus the Elements
Following the closure of the Motor Mayhem show group, the KC's Fireworks Displays company headed by Clive Featherby eventually emerged as the new major operator of monster truck shows in Australia. After some years of performances mainly restricted to the Queensland and east coast areas of Australia while building up their repotoire of equipment and attractions, in 2005 KC's embarked on an expanded tour deeper into New South Wales and Victoria, which included this stop at Bathurst in country NSW in September.
KC's brought two of their modern racing monster trucks to this show, the iconic Australian Outback Thunda and American import Monster Patrol USA. (At this time, KC's also owned Bear Foot USA which was concurrently elsewhere in the country; and they were just sealing a deal to bring another Paul Shafer Bear Foot truck into Australia, bringing their monster truck fleet to four.) For this show Outback Thunda was driven by Clive Featherby himself, while monster truck veteran Barry Gaunt was the driver for Monster Patrol. The show also included motorcycle stunts, the Jump Mania 'mini monster trucks', and a demolition derby; a wall of fire stunt performed by young stuntman Jaye Featherby; and the more unusual attractions of Transzilla (a car-munching, flame-belching robotic dinosaur), and a van mounting a 15,000hp jet engine, which thrills audiences with dump-and-burn displays and the soon-to-be-notorious trademark 'meltdown' where jet is used to a incinerate a car. The show was rounded off with KC's staple fireworks displays: the format of which at this time consisted of a demonstration of the types of fireworks narrated by Clive Featherby, and two intense main displays pitched as "China versus Australia" styles.
Most of these photos were taken on the Thursday prior to the show, while the trucks and other attractions were on display in the showgrounds and at venues around town; the remainder were taken during the show itself. The show attracted a moderately large crowd on the night, although not filling the venue to capacity. Unfortunately the performance of the show struggled under difficulties beyond the control of the operators - principally the cold weather on the night of the show. Although typical for Bathurst for the time of the year (indeed almost any time of the year outside of the hot summer months), what wasn't quite as typical was the gusting winds that blew in brief showers of freezing sleet at occasional points throughout the show. Besides making things miserable for the audience, this forced some delays in the proceedings, as the wind and sleet made it difficult to safely let off fireworks, and forced a modification to the Jet Van meltdown act to avoid flaming debris being blown into the crowd. On top of this, Monster Patrol suffered a most inopportune breakdown, with the failure of its automatic transmission just subsequent to the parade lap at the opening of the show. This left Monster Patrol immobilised (the crew resorted to using one of the prime movers that normally tows the trailers to drag the monster truck clear) and meant that for most of the show only Outback Thunda was able to perform. However the KC's crew were determined to present both monster trucks to the audience and worked hard behind the scenes to repair the truck, managing to source a replacement gearbox from town and completing the mechanical swap in time for Monster Patrol to join the closing acts of the show, albeit with only one gear. All in all these factors made for one of the more difficult shows KC's had put on... nevertheless they were dedicated to present the best entertainment for their audience they could under the circumstances, and fortunately the weather held off its worst just enough for all the acts and performances to be completed.
In the lead-up to the night, the show seemed to get some great original coverage from the local media; these are snippets and articles from the local newspaper, the Western Advocate (Thursday 15th and Saturday 17th September 2005 issues).
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