September 21, 2006

Hammond in stable condition

Writing about web page http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/england/north_yorkshire/5367616.stm

I heard about this on my way into work on the news this morning, and it must be said I was pretty shocked. Thankfully doctors are optimistic of a good recovery, although he’s suffered a significant brain injury. My thoughts and best wishes go to Hammond and his family and friends.

What annoys me, however, is the reported reaction I heard on the radio on my journey home. In amongst the get well and “he’s a legend” messages were a load of ones complaining that Top Gear is too extreme in it’s stunts, that since Hammond wasn’t “a professionally trained racing driver” he should never have been allowed to do the stunt in the first place, that it was irresponsible for him to do dangerous stunts because he has a family, that something like this was bound to happen sooner or later.

Well let me tell you something. I’m sure the last thing that Hammond would want is a backlash toning it all down as a result of his accident. From what I can make out of it, the car suffered a tyre blowout at high speed anyway in which case it was hardly a lack of skill that caused the accident, and nothing could really be done about it anyway. Top Gear is reasonably out there with it’s stunts because it’s what viewers like myself love to watch, and I’m in no doubt that Hammond and the other presenters do what they do willingly and in fact love the opportunities they get to do amazing things presenting that programme. I am one of countless people who would love to have his job. Why can’t someone do a job that they love if they are accepting of the risks? It was his choice to accept those risks; considering how bad most people’s parenting is these days yet it’s ‘their choice to do what they want’ I don’t think getting into a fast car in a controlled environment is bad parenting technique by comparison. Just because he’s had children doesn’t mean he should give up a job he loves, and stop doing the things he loves. Being a parent doesn’t mean your life is over. Sod off and go be judgemental on people who are deserving of it.


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  1. Edward Cooper

    Well said Siggy. Some people just need to learn some respect at the very least.

    PS In the words of Clarkson – I’m back! I’ll be getting my blog back soon. I just need to sort some stuff out with WGA when I’ve got time.

    21 Sep 2006, 20:55

  2. Yeah, I agree, wise words. I wasn’t entirely pleased with ITV’s insinuation that he was going for it purely for TV ratings…people like Hammond don’t go for land speed records to make headlines in the Radio Times. They go for it simply because they can, which is the way these things should be. I guess that’s part of the appeal of Top Gear, the three of them all love it because they’re getting paid to do what they love doing :D

    Also, check this http://www.justgiving.com/PHRichardHammond?page=1 out on justgiving.com. It’s impressive how much they’ve raised in less than 24 hours, this is really cool. And it’s for a properly worthy cause as well.

    21 Sep 2006, 21:28

  3. Well ITV would say that, wouldn’t they; their audience probably drops into about three figures when Top Gear is on BBC2. You can bet that a lot of those “he shouldn’t be doing that” finger waggling messages are coming from environmentalists, the caravanning fraternity, and basically any other group Top Gear likes to point fun at regularly. Just ignore them. Like you said, Hammond did it knowing and accepting the risks involved. The man’s a legend – let’s hope he makes a speedy and good recovery.

    21 Sep 2006, 21:56

  4. Lindsey

    That’s sad…

    I view it the same way I do Steve Irwin’s accident – sad, but not totally unexpected. Jobs with risks like that, well, it’s always a possibility. But he certainly shouldn’t change his job just because of a family and it doesn’t make him stupid or irresponsible.. just someone who is willing to take a risk while doing their job.

    21 Sep 2006, 22:39

  5. If not for a bit of ‘added value’ excitement, we’d all be watching 5th Gear, or even worse, some of that dreary crap on Sky. Lets not drive the car, lets just watch it sit on the driveway cos frankly, transport is risky! Heck, even getting out of bed in the morning is so dangerous.

    Passionate about the job was the key. The thrill of the bigger machine. How many people actually turn up at alton towers and prefer to sit on the swings instead of going on the monster rollercoasters?

    21 Sep 2006, 22:50

  6. Dear feck… Today along I saw about 4 drivers speed past me at over 100mph. 100 years ago… how many people had done that speed (and survived? – ie people who’d fallen from cliffs).
    He’s been driving fast cars a long time. He’s up there with the pros in certain respects.
    I saw the argument in a paper today: “Should Top Gear be axed ‘Yes or No’”. Ok they might be trying to be interesting, but don’t be so f*cking ludicrous.
    Get one with it.
    If Hammond survives in A1 shape, which is likely, I foresee an endless round of pisstake where they show the clip over and over again.

    23 Sep 2006, 01:51

  7. *ps – Sorry for pissed spelling

    23 Sep 2006, 01:53

  8. Yey, he’s-a-walking!

    http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/uk/5372890.stm

    23 Sep 2006, 11:57

  9. and-a-talking :D

    http://www.thesun.co.uk/article/0,,2-2006440317,00.html

    Btw, I apologise profusely for linking to the Sun website ;)

    23 Sep 2006, 12:10

  10. The Express this morning had the rather attention-grabbing headline ‘Top Gear Axed’ – if you read the article it actually meant that the Best of Top Gear show that was due to go out on 1st October has been indefinately postponed – not quite as radical as the headline implied!

    And I agree that, should (and I hope so) the Hamster recover fully with no lasting injuries, he’ll be constantly reminded by Clarkson of it! But I do see Top Gear being forced to ‘tone down’ slightly in terms of the stunts etc they perform. But hopefully it’ll stay as good as ever.

    23 Sep 2006, 21:46

  11. Charlotte

    Nathaniel: You know your ‘Coke Zero’ blog? How come no one is ever on there anymore? xx

    24 Sep 2006, 08:28

  12. Charlotte: Conversation has run dry (no pun intended).

    Richard is always coming up with new ways to kill himself
    Andy Wilman

    Here’s er a good article my friend Rob found on the reaction by clarkson and producer: http://observer.guardian.co.uk/uk_news/story/0,,1879669,00.html

    I still find it funny that Clarkson told him he was a “crap driver”

    24 Sep 2006, 23:24

  13. mick

    _From what I can make out of it, the car suffered a tyre blowout at high speed anyway in which case it was hardly a lack of skill that caused the accident, and nothing could really be done about it anyway. _

    Disagree!
    From what I can gather, the accident was totally avoidable; the tyre blew out because they were using the *wrong type of tyre;

    1. A jet car does not put torsion through the back tyres (unlike a dragster), meaning that the tyres are freewheeling
    2. Hampster did several runs of the length of the runway (approx 4 miles) before the accident, warming the tyres up and making them more pliable
    3. At high speeds, centrifugal force lifts the tyres from the rims

    i.e. warm tyres at high speeds with no torsion holding them down meant that a blow-out was inevitable, predictable and entirely avoidable.

    25 Sep 2006, 10:41

  14. Re. the article quoted in reply 12: another classic quote from Clarkson:
    “You just hear this constant background chatter of lesbian women running around saying that men should be in prison, not driving fast cars.”
    Hehe, gave me a good chuckle, that.

    I hope the accident isn’t found to have been easily avoidable by the HSE because this would give more ammunition to those who want to see it removed from our TV screens. It sounds like Richard Hammond is doing very well now and hopefully he will be well enough to take part again soon. Mick, you say “from what I gather… they were using the wrong type of tyre”; would you care to name your source of that information? I’m not disagreeing and your explanation of the physics behind is understandable and totally plausible – I’m just interested to know where you got this, seeing as none of the news websites have picked up on it yet.

    25 Sep 2006, 12:15

  15. You just hear this constant background chatter of lesbian women running around saying that men should be in prison, not driving fast cars.”

    Hmm, confused, what about lesbian men?

    ===

    The big difference between the Steve Irwin phenomenon and Top Gear is that Steve Irwin was all about a person taking risks with their own life, while Top Gear is often about taking risks with other people’s lives.

    Why not re-launch it without any reference to the sort of cars people use on public roads?

    25 Sep 2006, 16:30

  16. Charlotte

    Nathaniel: I no what you mean by ‘the conversation has run dry.’ It’s just I added an entry there on the twentieth of september and no one’s been replying!

    25 Sep 2006, 19:29

  17. Interesting to see points on other message boards saying things like “Top Gear is irrelevant rubbish people are much more interested in cars that you drive day to day” (msn message board), the fantastic counterexample if you come across somebody taking this view is that 5th gear was formerly top gear until it got axed a number of years ago (the entire team except the presenters as i understand went and started up 5th gear) with the goal of doing more everyday motoring reviews; the audience figures are tiny compared to top gear. Admittedly i find that seeing high performance cars is more interesting than some of the sillier stunts but top gear has the right balance of content and entertainment most of the time.

    p.s clarkson wrote an article about this in the times yesterday http://driving.timesonline.co.uk/article/0,,22749-2372412,00.html

    25 Sep 2006, 22:00

  18. “The big difference between the Steve Irwin phenomenon and Top Gear is that Steve Irwin was all about a person taking risks with their own life, while Top Gear is often about taking risks with other people’s lives.”

    Oh, of course, other people’s lives. When they do all their high speed footage and stunts on their own test tracks and in controlled environments miles away from anywhere…

    Mick – I wasn’t aware that the tyres were of the wrong type. Of course I’m aware of the physics of tyres and that having the wrong type, especially at high speed, will spell disastrous consequences. If you look at any professional outfit testing cars at high speed (such as when Top Gear and Tiff Needell did a British speed record for a production car a few years ago with the McLaren F1) then you’ll see that they constantly monitor tyre temps, pressures and condition for any signs that things are amiss. Personally I find it hard to believe that the tyres weren’t sufficiently rated and monitored, but I’ll await until I see official evidence that says otherwise before I comment further on the matter.

    26 Sep 2006, 09:02

  19. The point is that Top Gear links “high speed footage and stunts on their own test tracks” with normal motoring.

    Take a look at the first comment on Clarkson’s piece in the Times yesterday:

    Believe it or not risk taking is a part of every day life (try crossing the average road on foot). It is only not acceptable when the risk is forced onto someone who is not willing to take that risk.

    But a risk is forced on people who want to cross a road on foot by drivers who think they are “on their own test tracks” when in fact they are on the public highway.

    26 Sep 2006, 09:41

  20. The point is that Top Gear links “high speed footage and stunts on their own test tracks” with normal motoring.

    Nonsense. What do you mean by it “links” them? By the same token you could say the Tour de France links high speed (and dangerous at times) cycling with normal cycling – after all, it takes place on public highways and you can ride one of the those bikes at speed on a normal road even when it’s not shut for such an event.

    The vast majority, if not all, of the high speed tests and events take place on tracks which are closed to the public and have emergency procedures and facilities in place should anything go wrong. How can this be considered “normal motoring”? If a road car is designed to go up to 150mph plus, then of course they’re going to test that out on a track because it would be dangerous to do it on a public road. The way Top Gear does it is more responsible than just taking it out and test driving, for example, on the Autobahn (where it would be equally legal from a speed point of view.) Just like Richard Hammond’s jet car – it was being tested on an airfield runway, miles out of the way of any roads. How on earth is testing a jet powered car on a runway “linking” anything with normal motoring?

    Yes, they test road cars on their track but it’s absolutely safe, and that’s what most of the cars they test these days are designed to do. Like it or not, people enjoy watching them. The reason why Top Gear’s ratings slid so far before being relaunched in its present format is because it was becoming dull and dreary; people were getting bored of discussions about how much shopping you could get in the boot of a Mondeo estate, or whether a Fiat Multipla had a better ride than a Vauxhall Zafira. It’s about entertainment and I know you don’t like it, George, but the ratings don’t lie. It is hugely entertaining for millons of people. 350 million people worldwide can’t be wrong. Furthermore, a great number of the features in the previous series alone didn’t have anything to do with speed. From memory there was:
    • The home made convertible people carrier (yes, it was tested at speed but on a banked track closed to the public)
    • The hilarious Southern Counties radio show
    • Home made amphibious vehicles which were not at all fast
    • A caravan holiday
    • Richard Hammond driving a pink Nissan Micra cabriolet
    • Clarkson doing up the inside of a Mercedes to resemble a cottage
    • Building a Caterham from scratch
    • The “best van” challenge

    These challenges are often the most entertaining and fun part of the programme to watch, more so than the reviews of the fast cars. To answer your point even further, not even all of these could be “linked with normal motoring” – in fact very few of them could.

    Why not re-launch it without any reference to the sort of cars people use on public roads?

    Because that would defeat the object of the programme. What would be left to test? You can see rally cars and F1 cars going round tracks every weekend on TV, because that’s ALL they do. You don’t get to see road-going supercars in action very often because a) they’re expensive, b) they’re rare and c) they are quite rightly banned from doing the speeds they’re capable of on a public road. Hence the need for shows like Top Gear to test them and criticise or praise them.

    Plus you have all the safe challenges I listed above, a main reason the show has its great ratings. How would these happen if references to ‘normal’ cars weren’t allowed?

    In fact, George, do you even watch Top Gear? If you do and you really don’t like what goes on, switch it off. Simple solution. I don’t like gardening programmes, cookery shows or party political broadcasts for the Conservative Party, so I don’t watch them. If you don’t watch it and you’re basing your views totally on heavily-biased propaganda that the anti-car/pro-cycling fraternity continuously spout, then how can you pass judgement on it?

    26 Sep 2006, 11:26

  21. You have to concede though Ben, stunts such as the one that Hammond crashed doing last week do encourage us all to take our jet powered dragsters onto airfields and attempt to break land speed records…

    26 Sep 2006, 11:34

  22. Yes of course, I should have admitted that. I have a rocket car in my garage fuelled and ready to go. I actually live very near to the end of the runway at Hamilton in NZ at the moment so I’ve got all the facilities I need here. We’re having a test run tomorrow.

    Incidentally I was also thinking of doing the reverse – getting in my Katana and taxiing down to the chippy in it. All those pedestrians had better watch out for my propeller, it’s dangerous!

    26 Sep 2006, 11:44

  23. I must admit that I don’t watch much TV, I find it too slow. The last time I saw Top Gear, Boris Johnson was a guest.

    In that edtion Clarkson mocked speed limits. I wrote to the BBC complaining that the BBC shouldn’t encourage law breaking and that the BBC should ensure balance when political subjects are discussed.

    While some obscure definitions of politics do exist, I certainly think it’s fair to say that discussion of what laws there should or shouldn’t be and whether they should be enforced is political..

    Needless to say the BBC fobbed me off.

    26 Sep 2006, 16:32

  24. thats because like most people, the bbc probably realise that there is nothing wrong with breaking speed limits in many circumstances. i drive home at 80-85mph on a clear motorway in good conditions and i’ve been overtaken at this speed by police without emergency sirens and lights being shown. driving responsilby and safely at this speed is much less dangerous than sitting in the middle lane at 65mph, forcing traffic to change speed and lane for no good reason. the same goes for top gear’s hatred of speed cameras. i’ve never seen one outside a school or playing field, places where i purposefully slow down and pay extra attention. i was nearly caught recently by one that was hidden behind a sign on a straight piece of road without junction or accident black spot. it is there purely to screw money out of people who accelerate a bit over the speed limit from the preceeding roundabout like the majority of cameras. i cant see how a motoring show can be wrong or out of order for questioning aspects of the law that most motorists find frustrating

    26 Sep 2006, 21:05

  25. It was out of order because the BBC is supposed to provide balance when it comes to political issues.

    There should have been someone putting the alternative viewpoint.

    26 Sep 2006, 21:43

  26. So you’re saying that the BBC should have an environmentalist, pro-speed limits correspondant? Top Gear isn’t a political programme. On the news this morning, there was an article on speed cameras and the human rights act (I may blog on this soon), and in it they had Alisair Weaver in the studio (anti-cameras, a Top Gear magazine journalist) and arguing for, a campaigner from an organisation called Brake. This is how political stuff should be conducted, and the BBC are right to provide balance in this case. As a motoring/entertainment programme, Top Gear doesn’t come under the political banner. It’s inevitable that from time to time, you’ll hear things which may be described as political – they probably come up in all sorts of shows. Every time something happens in a show like Eastenders that could be described as political, is there someone to provide balance? How about when a satirical comedian makes a political point? Top Gear don’t really do investigative features anymore, as opposed to interviews (did Parkinson used to ensure all political points made by guests were met with balance?) such as the ones you speak of. I can’t really think of any of their features in which your case for balance need apply – they tend to either road-test one car, a group of similar cars in which each journalist puts forward a case for their favourite, or conduct experiments such as when they crashed a Renault at 30mph with a person in it to demonstrate it’s crashworthiness.

    27 Sep 2006, 09:17

  27. Quite right, Chris.

    There should have been someone putting the alternative viewpoint.

    I wonder what your reaction would be, George, if there was an programme about cycling on the BBC; say they were discussing the advantages of cycling with someone from the Cyclists’ Touring Club, how it’s much better for the environment, makes you healthy and all the rest of it. Bearing in mind it’s political, i.e. you’d be discussing the advantages of speed limits to keep you safe, environmental issues, health issues, etc… Would you want the producers of that show to employ a correspondent to offer an “alternative viewpoint”? (I think a certain Top Gear presenter would fit the bill perfectly.)

    Thought not.

    27 Sep 2006, 09:37

  28. Why not?

    It would be more enlightening to have an alternative viewpoint. Also it would force the anti-cycling lobby to rely on stonger arguments than prejudice.

    27 Sep 2006, 12:09

  29. You can argue in favour of speed limits from elementary physics.

    E_k%3D%5Cfrac%7B1%7D%7B2%7Dmv%5E2

    So the damage caused when you crash will be proportional to the square of your velocity, not merely linearly proportional. Even better, your braking distance will be proportional to the square as well, so it’s harder to stop in time to avoid colliding with something. Well, the energy will be converted to heat in the brakes, so it’s better than not braking at all.

    Suppose, for example, you had a tire blowout while going at, ooh, 300mph (or 134ms-1). We’ll assume the car has a mass of 998kg.

    E_k%3D%5Cfrac%7B1%7D%7B2%7D%5Ctimes998%5Ctimes134%5E2%3D8.96%5Ctimes10%5E6J

    A 100W light bulb would take 8960 seconds to burn through that. What does this tell us? Um… car collisions could be the solution to all our energy needs. Oh, and speeding is bad, mm’kay?

    27 Sep 2006, 14:23

  30. Erm, 89600 seconds (what’s a factor of 10 between friends?). But that’s even worse than I thought. :(

    27 Sep 2006, 14:25

  31. So, having learnt that Hammond’s crash would have powered a light bulb for about a day, we can compare with the energy involved in a relatively normal (but bad) motorway collision of a 1500kg car at 70mph. This comes to 7.3×10^5J, which would power the same light bulb for a measly 2 hours. I’d say Hammond is very lucky to be alive.

    I’m going to stop posting physics now. ;)

    27 Sep 2006, 14:46

  32. mick

    timothy,
    please dont; physics is fun

    27 Sep 2006, 16:10

  33. Tim – yes, yes, kinetic energy and all that… However, there are several things that you’re missing just by looking at energy. Firstly, kinetic energy is just energy stored in a moving body, and not inherently dangerous. As a comparable example, people consider flying to be safe (quite rightly so), yet look at the amount of graviational potential energy stored at an altitude of 30,000 feet (call it 10km, which is slightly more than this). For an average person weighing say 100kg for simplicity, we have a total stored energy of (10,000*100*9.81) = 9.81×10^6J, or about the same as the energy for the total car. And that’s just the amount of GPE from a person being transported to altitude… My point is that all this energy being transferred around between forms and bodies isn’t dangerous, it’s the way and rate at which it’s transferred. One of the reasons Richard is still alive is because he crashed in a wide open space, thus the energy from the crash, while imparted in severe impacts, was dissipated over a relatively long crash period. Compare that to driving at even half that speed into a solid wall and a sudden stop, and you’d find a much lower survival rate for the sudden stop. Having all that energy stored up in KE isn’t a problem normally anyway, because the braking systems for the car (I don’t know for sure about the vampire, but at those sorts of speeds I’m betting it’s braked by drag chutes rather than wheel brakes, but anyway) dissipates that energy over a steady and long time period compared to a crash event. And in response to all this stuff about speed and danger in general, well take a trip to Europe and marvel at how their speed limits are usually in excess of 130kph (81mph) and in Germany unrestricted in some places. Surely if their respective governments thought that merely by driving quickly no matter what the conditions placed drivers in danger, these high speed limits would be lowered?

    27 Sep 2006, 16:31

  34. Yes, the force exerted is the dangerous thing, and this depends on the rate of deceleration. However, the braking distance will still be proportional to the square of your speed – and this (I would posit) affects your chances of colliding with something, and hence experiencing high forces. Your kinetic energy at the moment of impact will affect how high those forces will be.

    On top of the braking distance, your reaction distance will be linearly proportional to your speed, as well.

    Arguing from the policy of the German government back to the estimated risk is fairly weak. Brake has some nice statistics:

    The Parliamentary Transport Committee estimates that an increase in the speed limit from 70mph to 80mph would result in a 10% rise in casualties on those roads. Research shows that reducing the average speed on a road by just 1mph is likely to reduce the frequency of crashes by 5%.

    Anyway, I’m still looking for an excuse to use an integration sign in a blog comment. Hmm…

    27 Sep 2006, 16:58

  35. Vote on the matter here gathered quite large number of comments, its even been “dugg” (I hate to say it) here

    27 Sep 2006, 21:06

  36. Max Hammond

    well take a trip to Europe and marvel at how their speed limits are usually in excess of 130kph (81mph)

    Where’s that then? Germany still has a few unrestricted sections, but fewer and fewer. Nowhere else is over 130. (http://www.europe.org/speedlimits.html)

    27 Sep 2006, 21:16

  37. Austria has one stretch of 160kph (100mph)
    and Italy has 150kph (95mph)

    27 Sep 2006, 21:19

  38. Jason

    Funny enough, it’s been a few of the right-wing newspapers who have called for Top Gear to be axed – the Daily Mail is one of them. And quite a few newspapers have pointed out the prevalence of ‘boy racers’ and the damage and danger they cause. Whilst there is no direct link between Hammond and these criminals of course, Top Gear’s celebration of speed for the sake of speed only encourages them. I wish Hammond all the best but I still consider Top Gear to be an irresponsible show.

    Hammond is most certainly not up there with the pros – having just read this article about the man who owns the world land speed record (a Brit, incidentally), I find it hard to believe that Hammond has the same ability and training. Why don’t we leave these dangerous record attempts to the pros like Andy Green, instead of trying to turn them into entertainment?

    28 Sep 2006, 01:23

  39. Funny enough, its been a few of the right-wing newspapers who have called for Top Gear to be axed – the Daily Mail..

    The explanation is that such papers are rather against law breaking (and incitement to do so). In particular the Daily Mail has a large female readership, who (in general) take a dim view of Men Behaving Badly with Boys Toys.

    28 Sep 2006, 12:40

  40. Jason

    These articles in the Mail were from people like Richard Littlejohn, who is about as far away from a lesbian vegetarian as it’s possible to get. I think Jeremy Clarkson and a few of the people on this board are kidding themselves that the only people who don’t like Top Gear are some minority radical fringe. Actually, I think the famous ‘silent majority’ aren’t particularly fond of the programme, or at least its crazier moments, but because they’re silent it gets portrayed as a battle between the more noisy ‘laddish oafs’ vs. ‘left-wing nuts’.

    Also, it is one thing to think that the speeding laws in this country are over-complicated, counter-productive and designed to make money, quite another to glorify speed on public roads in the way of Clarkson and co. For example, the current issue of Top Gear magazine has Clarkson saying this: ’”this car is pretty fast. Not devastating. Not oh-my-God-I’m-going-to die. But fast enough to make your drive home fun”.

    In other reviews he’s written “Try to be cocky with this car and it’ll kill you. A lot of the excitement comes from this … It’s a supercharged great white, a fearsome beast, a killer, a manhunter.”

    Richard Hammond has done segments which include him being hit by artificial lightning and saying “If it hits me directly, they’ll clear me away with a shovel! Wa-hey!” Presumably he isn’t actually so casual about death?

    28 Sep 2006, 13:01

  41. Dave

    Does anyone know how many points your allowed on your licence before you get banned?

    28 Sep 2006, 18:15

  42. I’d like to point out that I think breaking the speed limit is a dangerous and stupid idea, but that doesn’t imply I want Top Gear axed.

    I am guessing that those of a liberal persuasion would actually not be in favour of banning/axing shows such as Top Gear – what they do is within the law. Driving cars fast around racetracks is probably quite fun… discussing the rights and wrongs of speed (or safety?) cameras is not a crime.

    To axe it on those grounds would be tantamount to censorship, and is more of a right-wing stance. If Richard Hammond had died, then Top Gear would likely have been cancelled, of course.

    28 Sep 2006, 19:00

  43. Dave – 12 points almost always results in removal of your licence for a period of time before you retake your test, or 6 points if you accumulate them within the first two years.

    Jason – I don’t think it’s a minority that don’t like Top Gear, but then again it’s ratings (I think I’m right in saying the most popular show on BBC2) suggest that it’s hardly a minority that do like it. It tends to draw out a love/hate stance from most people. And yes, Wing Commander Green is a pro, but then again why can’t other people have a go if they want to? As Hammond demonstrated, in these sorts of stunts you’re only taking risks with yourself anyway. I’m by no means a highly trained fast jet pilot like Green, but I’d hop in a fighter jet or a land speed record breaking dragster or anything like that and give it a go if I was given half the chance. Should we really be told even as adults what we can’t do with our own time?

    28 Sep 2006, 21:23

  44. Tim, you could have squeezed in an integration sign whilst doing a demonstration of the relationship between acceleration, velocity and distance. Good old A-level Mechanics…

    As for driving around racetracks at insane speeds, yeah, that is a lot of fun, I’d recommend it to everyone. Even if you don’t give two hoots about cars and are scared stiff of the thought of making your tyres squeal round a corner, it’s very much worth go, just for the educational value (!). In my experience it, perhaps bizarrely, helps with road driving as well, purely because it makes driving at road speeds seem so slow...you suddenly, inexplicably, seem to have so much more time to think about everything that’s going on around you…which, without any shadow of a doubt, is the key to good driving.

    Anyway…bringing this thread about a 300mph jet dragster crash away from national speed limits and back on topic…Hammond walks ! It looks like the lad will be fine! What a hero!

    28 Sep 2006, 22:16

  45. As for driving around racetracks at insane speeds, yeah, that is a lot of fun, I’d recommend it to everyone. Even if you don’t give two hoots about cars and are scared stiff of the thought of making your tyres squeal round a corner, it’s very much worth go, just for the educational value (!)

    I really want my mum to try circuit driving. In fact, I would like her to get a MSA racing licence. Tim Sudgen once said [about getting a MSA licence] “its so easy even my mum could do it”, and I just thought what an EXCELLENT idea :D

    28 Sep 2006, 22:45

  46. James

    I’ve just blogged this morning about Hammond. A guest blogger has written at greater length about risk taking when you have responsibilities:

    http://cricketandcivilisation.blogspot.com/2006/09/guest-blog-everest-and-stingrays.html

    01 Oct 2006, 15:34

  47. I really want Nathaniel Ho’s mum to try circuit driving too.

    07 Oct 2006, 22:40


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  • I've stopped watching it too. I'm really into stock car racing cos I like getting into the thick of … by Dave on this entry
  • I always knew you were being truthful. by Sue on this entry
  • well! Its very similar to the tory lies where they pretend that if they were in power their banking … by HERO on this entry
  • Aside, although along the lines of "lies" – I think it was Harriet Harman (although I'm probably wro… by on this entry
  • funny – but more importantly helpful as my lodger has been urging me to replace e everything with SK… by Peter Botting on this entry

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