Monday, 29 October 2012

Day at Top Gear Live

On Thursday, we went to Top Gear Live 2012 at the NEC in Birmingham. The drive down seemed to take 70,000 years, and i must admit, that as we drew closer to the NEC, i became a small child again. The excitement of seeing a huge room full of supercars, ones that i have dreamt of catching eyes upon ever since seeing their first pictures in Top Gear magazine. And then of coarse there is actually seeing the Jeremy, Richard and James in person! This to me was going to be heaven.

When we arrived, we picked up our press tickets and were taken through the press corridor to avoid the huge crowds queuing to get in. Between me and those cars stood one silver door. My heart was thumping in my chest (sorry, i don't mean to sound all Fifty Shades of Grey). As the door opened into the brightness and my eyes adjusted, i made out the first super car i would see. The first car i would see at Top Gear Live 2012, the one that would stay with me for a long time. So, Ferrari California? No. Aston Martin DBRS? No. What stood before me was a plain, boring Citroen DS4! Now im not complaining, i think the DS4 is a very good car, but having it as the first car people, especially the press, see when they arrive??

But i digress. We started moving our way to the right, looking at other Citroens,  until we got to the Citroen rally cars. Then the big smile returned to my face when i saw Sebastien Loeb's car.

I must point out at this point that Sebastien Loeb is, to me, one of the greatest rally drivers that have ever lived, second only, perhaps, to the late Colin Mcrae. And although this isnt Sebastiens latest rally car, it is by far, my favourite.

It was then, after seeing the Citroen section, that we realised that the exhibition itself wasn't awfully that big. Infact, we went round every car, taking what seemed like 2 million pictures as we went along, in just over half an hour! And although there were lots of beautiful cars there, they were a bit crampt together. Half of the hall was almost empty. As someone who uses a wheelchair, there is nothing worse than a wall of people coming at you. You just know that someone is going to going away with a broken ankle! So in my view the hall could have been spread out a bit more, to give people more room.

But all of these little niggles where overshadowed by what i really came to see. The indoor show featuring the Top Gear cast and of coarse, The Stig. And although I was a bit confused as to why Tiff Needell Vicki Butler-Henderson were there, the first half was good, with some fantastic drifting by the American Ken Block:

Plus some very bizarre, but very funny, half a car racing. Basically, they get some front wheel drive cars, and chop then in half. Some funny racing ensues:

But the highlight of the day, and quite possibly the funniest thing i have ever seen, came in the second half. A few years ago, Jeremy Clarkson took a Chevy V8 engine, and turned it into a food blender. In the end James had to drink a drink made from raw beef and bricks, with a dash of Tabasco sauce. So now, Jeremy has decided to put that engine into the mobile stage, which he drives on stage. Below is a video of what Jeremy decides to do next:

As we went on Thursday, which was the first day of the event, i have decided not to publish this blog until after the event has finished, so that i do not ruin any surprises for those people who are going. And nothing more so, than the world record attempt of riding a motor cycle around 2 consecutive loops, called a 720. This has never been attempted before, not even in rehearsals! This has been done by Top Gear live in a buggie earlier this year in Durban, South Africa. Below is a video of what happens:

The rest of the second half was made up of Jeremy getting shot in a G-Whiz convertible, the guys playing a new sport of sidecar polo and some people on pogo sticks, jumping over Citroen DS3's. All of these videos are available to watch on YouTube.

After the show, we had another walk around the exhibition, taking some final photos of the day, such as the beautiful Ferrari 458, and the engineering masterpiece that is the Bugatti Veyron.

Even despite the cramptness, and the fact our press tickets couldn't get us into all of the places, such as the paddock, so we can't review those, we left at the end of the day with a smile on our faces, and a lot of very funny memories. I just now cannot wait for the new series of Top Gear to return to our screens in January.

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