We love women who break the stereotypes, and Becky McDonough does just that – burning dust at Monster Jam in trucks that weigh around 5,500kgs, doing donuts and jumps you have to see to believe.
In case you’re new to Monster Jam trucks, they’re custom-designed machines that stand nearly four metres tall and four metres wide. And they are, quite literally, monsters! Built for short, high powered bursts of speed, the powerful Monster Jam beasts perform gobsmacking stunts and can accelerate from 0-100kph in under three seconds. And they literally fly – covering up to 50m in a single leap (a distance greater than 14 cars side by side) and up to 12m skywards.
Becky is one of the few women drivers behind the wheel of these monstrous trucks and will be showcasing her driving skills on full throttle at the Monster Jam 2016 Australia tour. It’s a super-charged, family friendly moto-tainment event like no other. The show features four unique Monster Jam driver competitions – Monster Jam Wheelies, Racing, Donuts and the coveted Freestyle competitions, with the Freestyle Motocross and Quad Wars. It’s competitive entertainment the whole family can enjoy! And yep, Becky loves it.
So what drives her to tour with the big guns, burn dust and compete against all those boys in a tough pit? Becky rolled up her sleeves to answer all those curious questions and more…
Q. How did you get involved in the Monster Jam circuit?
A. “Back in 9th grade, a bunch of friends were going to a Monster Jam event and had an extra ticket so I thought, hey, what the heck! I was always into racing and knew I wanted to be a part of the sport in some way shape or form. By the time I left the dome, I was in love with the beasts and knew someday I was going to be a part of it. I could feel it in my bones! Of course, all my buddies said I was crazy because I didn’t even change my own oil. After becoming a fan, I soon learned about Madusa. Watching her out there running with the big dogs totally inspired me. We shared a few emails back and forth and she gave me a phone number to call about a job, and the rest is history. I started as a technician in 2006 and became a driver in 2011 – November will be my 10th anniversary!”
Q. What’s it like being a Monster Jam truck driver?
A. “My first time ever performing in a Monster Jam truck was in front of thousands of people and it was an unexplainable adrenaline rush! I was so excited, as my dreams from the ninth grade were finally coming true. There was also the anxiety that goes with wanting to do well, on top of the nerves of all those people watching me perform. And yes, to this day I still get the jitters! There’s so much energy at our events that I can’t help but get anxious… to the point of feeling sick sometimes. But once that helmet is on and I hit the throttle for that first jump, it’s all gone. I’m like a little girl all excited and happy.”
Q. What is your ‘normal road driving’ like?
A. “Ironically, I just got two speeding tickets this month…”
Q. What are your favourite stunts to perform?
A. “I have a few favorite stunts. I love a good wheelie, and the feeling of holding the truck completely vertical and riding it out. Everything goes by feel at that point as you’re staring at the sky – or ceiling – and preparing to put the truck back down. The ‘Bull Buck’, as I like to call it, is a pretty fun feeling in your stomach too. And of course the ‘Back Flip’ creates such a rush!”
Q. What’s it like being a female Monster Jam driver in a male dominated field?
A. “Monster Jam is mostly a male dominated sport. In the beginning I knew I had to work that much harder to prove myself as a woman trying to break through the barriers – especially in my early career as a mechanic. Over the years, though, more and more women are coming into the sport, which is so awesome to see!”
Q. Is it competitive on the track – or more like a performance?
A. “I’m a naturally competitive person, so yes, it is still competitive – but very entertaining for crowds too!”
Q. You tour the world performing. Do you have plans to start a family – and how would you manage that?
A. “Monster Jam keeps me travelling on average half the year. It does make it hard to be on the go so much as you definitely miss home and family. Starting a family is something that I would like to do someday, but not quite yet!”
Q. Can you explain some of the stunts Aussie fans can see during your Oz tour?
A. “Our typical events include racing two trucks at a time, and freestyle. With freestyle, we go out and try to wow the crowd with wheelies, donuts, huge air and occasionally a back flip.”
Q. What advice do you have for others wanting to become a Monster truck driver?
A. “Be ready to work your butt off! If it’s something you full-heartedly want, go for it and don’t let anyone tell you can’t.”
Monster Jam kicks off on October 1, performing jaw-dropping displays of punishing stunts across seven shows in five major cities. The 2016 lineup includes a number of fan favourites, with ‘Grave Digger’, ‘Monster Mutt Dalmatian’ and ‘Max-D’ back to tear up the track, alongside new additions ‘Alien Invasion’, ‘Pirates Curse’ and the yellow ‘El Toro Loco’.01 October – 7pm – QSAC, Brisbane
08 October – 2pm and 7pm – AAMI Park, Melbourne
15 October – 7pm – Adelaide Oval, Adelaide
22 October – 7pm – ANZ Stadium, Sydney
29 October – 2pm and 7:30pm – Domain Stadium, Perth
Tickets for Brisbane & Perth visit Ticketmaster or call 136 100.
Tickets for Melbourne, Adelaide & Sydney are through Ticketek or call 132 849.
For more information visit Monster Jam