#9 – Drive a tank
Tank Driving. Why is this on The List? I think simply because it’s possible. It’s not like I’ve had a thing about tanks all my life, I definitely don’t have a thing about soldiers and I don’t even really like driving, especially not driving big vehicles (and in my world, anything bigger than my Renault Clio counts as a big vehicle). But for some reason, driving a tank appealed to me – after all it’s something a little off the wall that I haven’t already done.
So, on Saturday I spent a fantastic afternoon getting down and dirty just outside Alresford with Juniper Leisure, driving not only a Chieftan tank but also playing on a quad bike and taking both an armoured Personnel Carrier (APC) and a prop gun for a spin around the track. Oddly, I was most scared of the quad bike – mainly because that felt like the only thing I could fall off of and damage myself (and frankly I haven’t done all this marathon walking training to injure myself now and not be able to walk it on the day!). Plus the quad bikes actually had gears and I actually had to think about which one I was in – slightly challenging to my non-engineering brain. Frankly, I wasn’t doing well even before we’d got on the bikes since I couldn’t manage to put the gloves on the right way round. The chap patiently explained that if I put the rubber bit over my palm (rather than over the back of my hand) I would be able to grip the handlebars and brakes much better. I do wonder how he kept a straight face…
However amusing the quad bikes were though, the day was really all about the big stuff. Fantastic fun, and a lot easier to steer and manoeuvre than I expected. The prop gun was the heaviest – two hands definitely required to manipulate its levers! Generally, I was able to handle them quite well (I thought) and it felt like I got a bit of speed up; although the spectators may have a different view of course! The only slight hiccup was in the APC when the instructor said “go straight on instead of turning left” and I tried to turn left anyway because I thought he meant ‘turn left then go straight on’ (subtle difference). As a result I then had to do an extreme right turn to get back on the correct section of the track, at which point I’m wondering if it’s possible to flip a tank. I still don’t know. Thankfully I didn’t flip it and I also wasn’t required to reverse park any of them. I’d probably still be there now otherwise.
A great afternoon out but I wonder if this activity might be even more fun in the rain, with a muddy track.