A six-month old hamster named Charlie was spotted driving a Volvo heavy-goods vehicle at a quarry in Spain. No, we’re not making this up.
Luckily for the safety of other road users, Charlie was merely demonstrating the lightweight steering of the new Volvo FMX truck by driving one along a narrow quarry road in Los Tres Cunados, north-west Spain. It was part of a challenge, cunningly called “The Hamster Stunt”, which has amassed more than 2.4 million views on YouTube.
Obviously a furry creature with short arms (or are those legs?) would struggle to pilot any vehicle, regardless of size, on its own – even with the help of a booster seat. So Volvo fitted a giant hamster wheel over the truck’s steering wheel so that when Charlie runs, the steering wheel rotates in that particular direction.
To make sure Charlie didn’t drive the brand-spanking new truck off a cliff into the water below (and to handle the gears), stunt driver Seon Williams the furry pet in a direction of his own choosing using a tasty carrot as bait.
Charlie, who weighs 175g, was said to have undergone ‘several weeks’ of training before the challenge. It’s not clear if that involved a rigorous fitness regime and psychological conditioning, but trainer Grace Dickinson commented: “Charlie’s our star. He demonstrated that he has the best strength, confidence and attitude to learning new ideas.”
Volvo designed the Dynamic Steering system for its new trucks to make life easier for truckers around the world. An electric motor built into the steering takes up the bulk of the force needed to turn.
Charlie and Williams are now said to be the best of friends since working together. We can only assume Charlie was finally given the piece of carrot for his daring efforts.
Scroll on down to see the YouTube sensation in all of its rodent-based glory.