CAPTAIN CRUSHER

OWNER: KC's Fireworks, sponsored by National Foods for The Daily Juice Company (2006)

DRIVER: Billy Featherby (at 14 years of age in 2006, officially the youngest monster truck driver, at the time, in the world)

VEHICLE: Custom delivery van (1998 Dodge Dakota Club Cab with camper shell back)

ENGINE: Supercharged, fuel injected 580cu.in Chevrolet big block

HORSEPOWER: 1,700

DRIVETRAIN: Powerglide 2-speed Automatic

SUSPENSION: Steve Combs 26 inch Nitrogen Gas Suspension

WEIGHT: 4.7t

TIRES: Weight-reduced purpose cut and grooved

TOP SPEED: 130 km/h

Captain Crusher resulted from the major sponsorship agreement between KC's Fireworks and the National Foods company. The deal, finalised in late 2005, would have National Food's Daily Juice Company brand displayed on the ex-Paul Shafer Bear Foot truck for 12 months, and was a neat tie-in and followup to a recent nationwide TV commercial campaign for Daily Juice. The humourous commercial portrayed Daily Juice Company's "new" delivery vehicles - featuring a 'monster delivery van' (actually the Tropical Thunder monster truck owned by Sam Xuereb, craftily disguised) crushing cars on a Melbourne street. KC's own Daily Juice-sponsored monster truck made its public debut at Tamworth Showgrounds on the 5th of November 2005, sporting a livery designed by Lindsay Houston of LDI Signs, that drew elements of the appearance from the TV commercial. The visual design of the truck was further refined over coming weeks, and on December 28 Captain Crusher appeared at the Wayville Showgrounds in Adelaide, sporting its finalised paint scheme and an enclosed back (fashioned from a fiberglass camper-top for a standard utility) that suitably referenced the style of the 'monster delivery van' from the TV commercial. The truck ran in this configuration for most of 2006; with the prominent Daily Juice logos being phased out by the beginning of 2007 following the conclusion of the sponsorship deal.

Captain Crusher's regular driver is Clive Featherby's eldest son Billy, who made his public debut on the 21st of January 2006 aged just 14 years 3 weeks, a feat which officially makes him the world's youngest monster truck driver. Billy's monster truck career began with Clive Featherby looking for a gimmick to generate publicity for upcoming monster truck shows, and further the cause of making monster trucks mainstream in Australia. Having tried various guest drivers in the trucks over the years including celebrities, sportspeople, and monster truck drivers from America; and with Barry Gaunt (possibly the world's oldest monster truck driver) and Sherri Shaffer (the world's only monster truck driving grandmother) as regular drivers for KC's; and frustratingly not having generated a worthwhile level of exposure through any of these, the idea occurred to train his teenage son to give Captain Crusher something really new. Billy received extensive training and showed himself to be a natural in the truck, and Featherby successfully sought Australian and USA monster truck officials to grant a special license for Billy to drive at public shows.

Billy's debut performance driving Captain Crusher at Brisbane's RNA Showgrounds was spectacular - genuinely beating all three of KC's other more experienced drivers (including father Clive) in the freestyle and jump off competition in front of 19,000 cheering fans, with probably the highest jumps ever seen in Australia. Featherby's ploy also had the desired effect, gaining extensive media coverage in major newspapers, national news and TV shows around Australia. As if that weren't enough, two weeks later Billy was in the news again after flipping Captain Crusher onto its side, causing $15,000 worth of body damage, after attemping a 'cyclone' monster truck donut manoeuvre during a press demonstration on February 8 at the Parklands Showgrounds on the Gold Coast. Billy was unhurt in the incident and the truck was repaired in time for both to perform at the show on February 11.

Billy's driving a 1600+ horespower monster truck has attracted it's share of (largely unfounded) criticism from certain quarters, but to put things in perspective, at Billy's age one can train for a pilot's license and fly solo at age 15 (which Billy is incidentally also doing) - to put it in something like father Clive's own words: if you think about it, you could do a lot more damage with an aeroplane - at least the monster truck only travels along the ground! Billy in Captain Crusher are crowd favourites with young audiences at KC's monster truck shows around Australia, and Billy says that he hopes to make his adult career driving monster trucks in the US.

Dennis,

I have included here pictures of Captain Crusher which currently runs in Australia. The picture of the truck in a field crushing the cars was the first look to the truck with the two other pictures showing its current look. It is owned by Clive Featherby and is the former Bearfoot chassis which was built by Jimmy Creten.

Jason Twite

MidwestMonsters.com

Dennis,

Barry Gaunt is driving again he was out for a little while due to a broken vertebrae in his back he is driving a truck called Captain Crusher an old Monster Patrol truck with a different body on it.

Stuart Forrest

Hi Dennis,

 Please find attached photos of our Aussie Monster Trucks.

 All photos courtesy of the Aussie (+Kiwi) Monster Trucks Gallery - www.amt.mtm2.com

 Kind Regards,

Mark Hurley and David Carr.

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