Thrill seeker and motorcycle stunt driver Rhianna Buchanan is the first Australian to be invited to join the exclusive Monster Jam® driver line-up. A small town girl from Hillsview in South East Queensland, Rhianna has always had a passion for vehicles and a need for speed. Her no fear attitude and need for speed saw Rhianna fly to Illinois to train at Monster Jam University (MJU) earlier this year. We spoke to the pocket rocket about her supercharged passion.
Have you always been an adrenaline junkie?
I guess so! Growing up it was more about just being outdoors and active but looking back most of our activities involved bikes, cars or some other machine! Motorsports is in my blood really!
Was there anyone in your family or in your life that inspired you to take this path?
Definitely! My mum and dad owned their own business for the first 17 years of my life so I really saw what it took to work for yourself and be successful! I believe my brother, sister and I all inherited riding/driving talent from dad as well and he was (and still is) a great coach out on the bike trails.
My boyfriend and business partner, Jack Field, he is such an incredible talent and is also very supportive in all aspects of life and always inspires me to push myself. I am also fortunate enough to have my Flair Riders team mates and some very talented friends around me doing amazing things which inspires me to make the most of every opportunity!
What were some of the biggest challenges at MJU, and what were some of the biggest highlights?
It was definitely a challenge the first time I had to squeeze a 4m wide Monster Jam Truck through a 4.5m doorway! After the initial success it didn’t bother me so much. I took to the rest quite quickly really, the other minor challenge was driving with opposite controls: left-hand only on the steering wheel so right-hand controlling rear steer only. For turns, you are using rear steer a little like a handbrake when drifting so it felt back-to-front and took a while to get used to. Highlights were soaring my 5,500kg Monster Jam Truck through the air and having the opportunity to learn and work with Tom Meents!
Has this been a long term dream, and if so, now that you’re on your way to ticking it off, what is the next mountain you’d like to conquer?
I think every kid who’s seen a Monster Jam Truck has a dream of driving one! After working on the tour last year I was definitely in awe of the Athletes and maybe a little jealous of their job! I even joked with Candice Jolly (MonsterMutt Dalmation) about switching roles but didn’t believe I would actually be given the opportunity to try out for a Monster Jam position myself! This opportunity has opened up a completely new book of goals, however for right now, I am going to endeavour to make the most of this and my next immediate goal is to be the first Aussie Monster Jam Athlete in competition!
What piece of advice would you give to kids who are interested in pursuing a career in extreme sports/stunts?
- Health and fitness are essential so really make an effort to listen to your body, learn what it needs and take action on what works for you and what you can do to always improve this.
- Dedication is key! Nothing good comes easy, you will have to work hard (train/practice) for it and a lot of the time you may feel like you aren’t getting anywhere but the only time you will truly fail is if you quit!
- A support network will keep you motivated and true to your goals. It doesn’t have to be big, even just a friend or a family member, someone who you can express your goals to that can help you work towards them; But don’t forget you have to return the support as well!
- Being physically and mentally tough is very important but takes time, and with all the above in place you will be on your way! Good luck and best wishes 🙂