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Jack Monkhouse’s versatility behind the steering wheels know no bounds, from rally driving, to stunt shows, drifting and now monster trucks, the spectacular South Australian will jump at any opportunity.
Unfortunately at last weekend’s Monster Jam ‘Down Under’ Monkhouse’s end of season plans came to an abrupt end when a heavy landing in the monster truck he was piloting jarred his back and fractured a vertebrae.
“I’ve been driving monster trucks a fair bit, since 2011, and I was invited to drive at the Monster Jam at the Olympic Stadium last weekend,” explained Monkhouse who was thrilled at the chance to compete in front of 60,000 fans.
“It’s the first time Monster Jam has been in Australia, and I was in a truck I’d not driven in before. We had to change the seat over because I’m a bit lankier than the regular driver, unfortunately we missed a bit of lumbar support padding in the swap, and as I’ve landed that’s what’s done the damage.”
“We’d done a few hard test jumps and everything had been fine, but after what I’d consider a fairly standard jump, not a massive jump by any means, I straight away felt something was wrong and pretty much pulled over straight away,” Jack explained.
Monkhouse was taken straight to hospital for scans which revealed a fracture in his L1 vertebrae. “These trucks are incredibly safe and built to a World class standard, unfortunately something as simple as the swap over of the seat has lead to this injury,” said a clearly disappointed Jack.
“It was 110% agony straight away, so I knew it wasn’t good. Sometimes you hit a jump a bit awkwardly and you feel a bit of pain but it goes away pretty much immediately, this time I knew it was different.”
With the disappointment of having to pull out of the Monster Jam, doctors compounded Jack’s frustration when they told him to rest up for the next six to eight weeks.
“Of course it’s very frustrating, I have Rally Victoria in three weeks and the Alpine Rally, which only runs every two years, in five weeks. But I have to take the precaution not to compete because the long term damage could be major if something further was to happen,” Jack said.
It’s proven to be a bit of a roller coast season for spectator favourite Monkhouse. After solid results at the opening two Rounds of the year Monkhouse has found himself on the back foot since, battling unreliability particularly around his Nissan’s turbo-charged engine.
With a loyal following of supporters who love Jack’s ‘never say die’ approach and ‘always sideways’ driving style he’d been receiving a host of support to get him to the final Round in Victoria.
“Coffs was definitely another hard rally for us!” stated Jack, looking on the bright side of the problems that have plagued the second half of his season.
“We didn’t realise at the time but the wheel alignment on our car was massively out. The car has been with Waterhouse Performance since Coffs, and I got a call from the guys saying “We have to shake your hand!”. In their opinion the car should have been undrivable, it had massive toe out, they couldn’t believe we drove it and survived.”
Rally Australia proved a demanding affair for Monkhouse after he smashed the sump on his Nissan’s engine, dropping the oil and running the risk of destroying the power plant.
“We’d known the sump guard was a weak point in the car, but that had never slowed us down. Unfortunately the bottoming out of the car on the roads in Coffs holed the sump and it must have been right on the last bit of oil in the engine,” explained Jack.
“It’s pretty amazing the engine wasn’t destroyed, it could have been pretty disastrous. The ECU started to pickup a rattle in the engine after the sump holed in Coffs and started to detune the engine, that probably saved us from more damage.”
Monkhouse has also received help from Dash Sport in Sydney, the same team who run the rallyschool.com.au Mazda2. “Basically they offered to help us build a sump guard that wouldn’t break!”
“We’ve had such great support this year, I really couldn’t have done it without all the people who have helped us out. Especially Gerald Schofield from Fibertech Medical Australia, without his help none of this would have been possible.”
Unfortunately for Jack, his supporters and his legions of fans it’ll be 2014 before we see him back in action, and we’re all wishing him a speedy recovery.

Photo: Jack Monkhouse via Facebook

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