Kris Smith reveals why Sydney roads are a jungle
BRITISH TV personality, male model and former Super League player Kris Smith is used to a competitive environment but nothing prepared him for driving in Sydney.
Smith, an ambassador for Infiniti, scoots around town in a sporty Q60 S coupe and a QX80 large SUV. "The QX80 feels like you are driving your couch and when you put your foot down it really moves," Smith says. "I pulled up next to a regular SUV at the lights and (the QX80) made it look like tiny."
Having a big car comes in handy when dealing with Sydney traffic. Smith puts its cut-throat nature down to competitiveness.
He reckons Australians won't give an inch in traffic: "When people want to turn right no one slows down to let them through no matter how much traffic is backed up behind them," he says.
"You can sit in a side street for hours and no one will let you in, sometimes it is best just to go the long way round."
When the heavens open, the whole game changes. "When the rain comes down a little, the brake lights come on. Everyone just slows down after a few drops. It is crazy."
However, after his extensive stint in the jungle on I'm a Celebrity Get Me Out of Here, he found that he even missed "people getting on the horn and throwing the middle finger".
Always confident behind the wheel, Smith bought his first car before he got his licence.
He signed his initial football contract when he was 16 in Britain - then bought a new Rover 200 for his parents.
He says they could never afford a new car and it was his way of saying thanks for driving him to training for years.
He eventually get to drive his first car, thanks in large part to his mum. "We always had manuals growing up and my mum taught me how to work the gears," he says. "She used to let me change gears while she was driving and she would work the clutch. I got so good at it that she wouldn't have to tell me when to change gears - I could tell by her feet."
When it came time to learn, he needed only a few lessons to perfect his technique before passing the driving test with flying colours.
Smith has always enjoyed driving. Fresh after getting his licence, he took the long way to training - leaving 30 or 60 minutes early to take the scenic route through the Yorkshire Dales instead of the motorway.
Now that Smith is living in Australia, one of his favourite drives is in Victoria. "I used to love driving my Maserati (Quattroporte GTS) around the Mornington Peninsula. I used to drive it through tunnels with the windows down to hear the beautiful sound."
Kris Smith will judge Fashions on the Field during the Melbourne Cup carnival.