Sunday, November 27, 2011

Top Gear Live!

Saturday was one of the best, if not the best, days of my adult life. The Top Gear Live Event was the coolest thing I have ever been to. Super cars were everywhere, tires could be heard squealing against the tarmac in the Track Event stage, trinkets were aplenty, it was a great day.

My train to London left on Friday at 11:40pm and I arrived in London, quite groggy, before the sun had even woke. I promptly took a cab to the ExCel Center and sat in coffee shop to eat my breakfast bar and drink my extra large can of Redbull to wake myself up a little bit. Arriving at the ExCel center about an hour and a half before the doors would open to the main convention center room, I read my Top Gear magazine and waited. As soon as a small queue began to form I walked over. About 5th in line to enter the main hall. When the doors opened at 9:30 I was one of the first to enter, and I immediately was awe-struck as 2 lovely Ferraris greeted me at the door. The 599 GTO and the 458 Italia. After taking some pictures I moved to the "Top Gear TV stage" area where there was a recreation of the chairs and stage the presenters sit at during the TV show. I got my picture taken in Jeremy Clarkson's usual seat, but was a little sad to realize hours later the gentleman I asked to take the picture captured this wonderful moment in a blurry fashion. But by the time I had realized it the queue was far to long to attempt another shot. No matter, blurry image is better than no image.

I spent the next few hours walking around the showroom floor taking pictures of various supercars, and Top Gear Challenge cars, including the 100% electric "Hammer-Head iEagle Thrust." As 1 o'clock rolled around it was time for my Track Event. I made my way to the entrance, had my ticket checked and had a seat in the grandstands. For the next hour and a half I was presented with a variety of cars driven around the track at high speeds, including a personal favorite of mine the Caterham 7 Super Sport, driven by none other than Top Gear's tame racing driver... "Some say that he is terrified the BBC will reveal his salary because he is paid in strong pornography. And that his discharge is luminous. All we know is, he's called The Stig." The Stig put this wonderful little car around the track at breakneck speeds, punishing the tires at every corner. It was a beautiful sight. However the Track Event was not all good, because the main presenters, Jeremy Clarkson, Richard Hammond, and James May were otherwise occupied with the Live Arena Event, there were unable to present the Track Event. Which left it to three other English people I had never heard of, who were quite boring. Thinking themselves to be very interesting and amusing when in actuality... they weren't. The whole crowd knew it and they must have been daft to not know it themselves. However luckily not too much time was wasted with their speaking, and even when time was wasted I was sitting next to the car entrance so I just looked at the next wonderful machine that was preparing to enter the track. After several interesting events including a stunt driver who drove a whole lap on two wheels (it was amazing), and a light drifting competition, the Track Event ended. Which was good news, not because it wasn't entertaining by any means but because it meant that my Live Arena Event with three proper presenters began in a short 40 minutes. I spent the next 20 minutes making sure there was nothing else of any interest in the showroom, then made my way to the Arena. Locating my seat, I waited patiently for the main event. And it did not disappoint. 

The Live Arena event was like being at an actual episode of Top Gear, the news was done, as the presenters drove out the large gear shaped stage, notice i said they drove it out, as if it were a parade float, and the challenge was presented. Having agreed that the Olympics were rather boring the presenters wanted to create a more interesting automotive version of the Olympics. There was an opening ceremony, complete with flaming cars, motorcycle jumps over fire with riders dressed as Beef-eaters, London Taxis doing donuts, and of course an Aston Martin. A true showing of England. The events then started. Starting with motocross limbo. Beef-eater dressed riders took turns jumping though a smaller and smaller gap at the top of a ramp, it was quite exciting. Next was chariot racing, mind you in true Top Gear form this was no ordinary chariot race. The chariots were pulled by 4 Vespas mounted together, controls to all 4 vespas were mounted in the chariot, and cornering was performed by braking either the 2 right most scooters or the two leftmost scooters. It was again quite amazing, and rather comical. The next event, which was my favorite was car curling. In true curling form there was a brusher, which in this case was a quad bike driven by James May with several brooms and circular brushes sweeping the floor infront of it. And the two curling stones, which in this case were two small cars driven by Jeremy and Richard. Now in order to recreate the presence of ice when the car's e-brakes were pulled they were lifted onto 4 wheels rather like the wheels on the bottom of a shopping cart. Which allowed the cars to drift along like they were on ice. When the e-brake was released they were dropped back onto the normal wheels and came to a stop. The cars were aiming for a target area just like in real curling. And also like in real curling they went one after another so you could knock the other stone out of the target. What ensued was a fantastic display of mayhem with several crashes. One of which injured Jeremy's shoulder, but he soldiered on.  The next event was synchronized swimming, but with cars. Which was quite lovely. Followed by another synchronized driving event with Morgan 3-wheelers which was again, very impressive. The final event was a beauty contest, where about 16 of the best, most expensive, and most properly beautiful cars in the world were driven out parked. The presenters then chose their favorites and awarded medals to them. This concluded the show, and it was amazing. I'm not sure if the brief descriptions I gave, got that point across, but let me assure you, it was incredible. I felt like the neighbor kid in The Incredibles:

And on that bombshell it's time to end, thanks for reading, Good Night!

I took lots and lots of pictures which you can view here. Some of them are a little blurry as my camera was struggling to find its focus. But I switched to my phone which worked much better.

I hope you all had a nice weekend, and will see most of you in less than a month.

1 comment:

  1. Toss a few paragraphs in there. :-) Great photos!!