Alan Nursall Talks Extreme Machines Week on Discovery Canada's Daily Planet

The twentieth season of Discovery Canada's 'Daily Planet' kicked off last night, all week long the show is celebrating Extreme Machines and one of the shows correspondents Alan Nursall, host of the segment 'The Alan Nursall Experience' has revealed all to TVRage about what we can expect from this weeks shows and beyond as the show celebrates it's birthday season.


Alan Nursall Daily PlanetWhat can we expect from 'Extreme Machine' week on 'Daily Planet'?

The name says it all! All of the hosts and producers scoured the globe looking for the baddest, weirdest, fastest, strongest machines they could find. And if they found something that was all those things, they made me drive it. I’m just glad that I am still here to talk about it!

What is the most extreme machine you come across this week?

How does one compare a jet-powered ATV, a 600 HP rock buggy, a massive rock drill, or and gargantuan barge used for paving the bottom of the Mississippi River? They’re all outrageous.

But if I have to pick one, I guess it would be the 600 HP rock buggy in Alabama. This custom-built vehicle is designed to blast up impassable hillsides, including vertical sections, at high speed. Nothing could prepare me for the first ride – it was a thousand times more terrifyingly intense than anything I expected.

What was your favourite vehicle to drive?

The most fun was flying the AT-6

Did you feel overwhelmed or underwhelmed at all my any of the machines that feature?

Overwhelmed is close to the case for pretty much everything. Imagine being deep underground in Alaska in a dark, wet gold mine, and someone throws you the keys to a jumbo rock drill and tells you to get to work. Of course, it wasn’t exactly like that. The jumbo drill didn’t have a key. Just a LOT of power.

But you don’t have a lot of training to prepare for these machines. Each one presents its own unique thrill and challenge.

In one of the films you feature in this week, you drive a jet-fuel powered ATV - it took a while for the ATV to set off, were you afraid with the fire burning behind you, that you weren't going to go anywhere?

The first thing we did was the ‘flame display’, in which I go nowhere while igniting a gigantic ball of fire out the jet exhaust, about two feet from my tail bone. I was dressed in a fireproof suit, but the heat gets through pretty quickly. That gets your attention really fast.

How did it feel when it finally set off?

It was loud and weird and to be honest, I didn’t drive it all that well. I kinda messed up on the throttle controls and never got as fast as I would have liked. But maybe that’s a good thing.

'Extreme Machines' week also sees you taking part in the Extreme Sport - Rock Bouncing, is this something you were looking forward to before taking part in it?

I look forward to everything. Youtube is full of videos of rock bouncing and it looks pretty intense. So I was looking forward to it. And then I went for my first run and I wasn’t looking forward to it so much anymore. Every run in the vehicle was an adventure, if by ‘adventure’ you mean ‘cheating death’.

When rock bouncing did you feel more safe driving or as the passenger?

To be honest, I never felt really safe at all. There was a lot of closed eyes and whimpering. When Bobby Tanner was driving, it was an explosion of sound, dust, rocks, smoke, and motion. It was almost indescribable. When I was driving, we went a LOT slower. But with all that power and unforgiving terrain, there was always the very real possibility that I could do something that might be, say, inadvisable.

Do you take part in any extreme sports away from the show?

I take no prisoners on the curling rink! And building assorted devices, often for firing unusual projectiles, is something I am fond of doing. There’s nothing like relaxing on a summer afternoon and building a contraption for firing pencils through planks of wood. Which is definitely something that I do not recommend for people to try at home.

When you interview someone about the vehicle beforehand, does it make you feel more nervous, when they are telling you about how the vehicle is constructed?

Whenever I am heading into new territory, I listen very carefully to everything the expert says. I have a motto when I undertake these challenges – “Don’t be that guy” – don’t be the idiot who wrecks somebody else’s equipment and gets talked about for the next ten years for doing something stupid. I remain aware of my inexperience while being trusted with some expensive and powerful machines!

But all that being said, yes, I do get nervous. I was REALLY nervous in the rock buggy. It’s what Satan drives to work. And I was nervous on the Mississippi barge. And I was really nervous when I had to straddle a jet engine.

So yes, in a nutshell, yes.

Was there any vehicles that were researched for the week of programmes which were deemed too extreme for you to drive?

I’m not sure if we’ve reached the limit yet. I’m not sure if we had to set aside anything. Sometimes with the really extreme stuff, we let the owner/operator decide what they’ll let me do. And they usually show an amazing lack of judgement and hand me the controls.

How did the extreme machines compare to what you normally drive?

Inspired by the machines this week, I plan to add to my regular car a jet engine, giant tires, a custom roll cage, high-speed aquatic capabilities, and a rock drill as a hood ornament. In this way, I can get to work faster and with less interference from other drivers. Provided I don’t get arrested first. But it will be worth it.

Have you filmed anything special for the 'Alan Nursall Experience' with this being the 20th season of 'Daily Planet'?

We haven’t done anything especially for the anniversary, but give us time. There is a whole season to fill! Maybe it’s time for another world record…..

What other films can we look forward to you featuring in this season?

We have some amazing segments for the fall. I flew with an aerobatic team and executed my first loop and aileron roll. And once I pulled off those maneuvers, I tried something called a ‘hesitation roll’ which involves halting the roll at 90° intervals. That was a blast. I was flying an AT-6 Texan, which we call a Harvard here in Canada. And yes, the instructor was on board with me. Not ready for solo flying yet! I also tried my hand at chainsaw woodcarving had an amazing day training as a lumberjack. My log-rolling needs a lot of work.

Thank you for talking to TVRage!


'Daily Planet' continues with its 'Extreme Machine' week tonight at 7pm on Discovery Canada. Alan's films will be featured all week long.

- Discovery Channel
- Alan Nursall
- Daily Planet

Written by: TomSouthwell
Aug 26th, 2014, 8:07 am

Image courtesy of Discovery Channel

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