I've never moved through mud as fast as I did on Wednesday, and I likely never will again.

While holding on to my seat for dear life and trying my hardest to keep my eyes open, I was grateful it was professional racing driver Greg Murphy in the driving seat, and me in the passenger seat.

The Hawke's Bay-bound Supercars driver was in Hikurangi on Wednesday, taking locals for a speedy ride in the Polaris side-by-side farm and off-road vehicle in a promotional visit.

Who better to showcase just how fast these small vehicles can move than Murphy.

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I didn't know Murphy before Wednesday morning.

I'm not a huge motorsport fan but I did watch enough TV growing up to recognise him from ads on screen.

The Northern Advocate photographer Mike Cunningham and I turned up to the Rouse Motorcycles Hikurangi at midday and caught a glimpse of what I was in for on arrival.

Murphy turned up in the Polaris after taking a local for a ride, both of them were covered from head to toe in mud.

Dressed in my raincoat and track pants, I put on a helmet and goggles, both already covered in mud, forewarning the ride I was in for.

The mud from the sponge of the goggles squished down my face as they sat against my forehead.

I figured it was hardly worth the worry considering the state of the guy that hopped off the Polaris just before me.

I jumped in the side-by-side next to Murphy, strapped in tight.

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Reporter Courtney Hammond gets taken for a ride by Greg Murphy in a Polaris, Hikurangi, Northland. 24 June 2020 Northern Advocate photograph by Michael Cunningham
Reporter Courtney Hammond gets taken for a ride by Greg Murphy in a Polaris, Hikurangi, Northland. 24 June 2020 Northern Advocate photograph by Michael Cunningham

I could tell he loved what he does, still amping to go again after driving the same small vehicle and track for the last three hours.

It was such a miserable day. It had been pouring down for most of the morning and the paddocks had turned to slush. The gravel farm track was now a slippery slide of mud and trickling water.

Murphy drove the Polaris wickedly fast up and down hills, through the mud track and tight gate-ways, over bumps, through gorse and around sharp, slippery corners.

The ride felt like a video game simulation.

So fast I kept wanting to shut my eyes but I knew I had to come back to the office and write about it so thought I better not.

Murphy passed me a rag to wipe my goggles.

I kind of wish he hadn't, I had actually started to appreciate the mud that hindered the view.

We did make it back to the bike shop though, and Murphy and Cunningham both had a good laugh at the mud that smothered my face - and my mud beard.

In fact, I'm still picking mud out of my ears as I write this.

I was given a Polaris cap, too, which was a great bonus to top off the Greg Murphy Polaris experience.

It was a very cool experience and spin on a side-by-side I'll never get again.

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