Weekly ‘Top Gear’ Roundup; Series 20, Episode 01

Top Gear (2002 TV series)

Top Gear (2002 TV series) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Hey, Humanity! One of my all-time favorite television series is the BBC’s Top Gear.  I’ve

been a huge fan since we started getting them in the US, maybe around 2004…  Back then, it took a couple of years before we got the latest episodes.  Now, though, BBC America plays the new episodes only about a week after they air in Britain.  Awesome!

More about Top Gear and what happened in this week’s episode below the cut!

Last night, I saw that my DVR had recorded a new episode.  Excited!  So I hit play as soon as possible, and I was shocked to hear Jeremy Clarkson say that this was the first episode in Series 20 of Top Gear.  Wow!  For those of you who don’t watch British television, it works a bit different from US TV.  Their ‘seasons’ are called ‘series.’  They do not renew a series on a regular, annual basis like we do.  Series are a bit shorter, as well.  So, Top Gear, runs a series of about 7 to 10 episodes, roughly every six months.

Did you miss it?  Would you like to know what they did last night?  It was a good one!

Richard (Hamster) Hammond made me want a Ford Fiesta.  No, really!  See, we don’t get much of this around here, but one of the big things in cars overseas since the 1980’s in the ‘Hot Hatch.’  This is a small, hatchback-style car that is modified to be more sporty.  You see a little of that here in the States with people ruining their Honda Civics with loud-ass mufflers they bought at the Wal-Mart…  But they take it seriously in Europe.  French automakers Peugeot and Renault have made new sport versions of a couple of their small hatchbacks.  The Peugeot is okay, but very middle of the road…  The Renault is very quick!  But it can’t corner, and has some very silly, tech-heavy features.  But the Fiesta ST from Ford(even if it’s a bit slow) looks like an absolute blast to drive!  I’m always amazed when an American car comes out on top – but check out the episode.  They actually got me excited to try one!

Top Gear also retired their ‘Reasonably Priced Car.’  For those who don’t they, every week, Jeremy Clarkson interviews a celebrity and then has them race a ‘Reasonably Priced Car’ around their custom racing track.  For the last several years, it has been a Kia Cee’d (always pronounced by Jeremy as “See-apostrophe-Dee”).  But no more!  Instead they had a small party including some British rock stars, TV personalities, Jimmy Carr, a Lannister (Game of Thrones, anyone?) and Warwick Davis(!) to introduce their new car – a Vauxhall Astra!  Doesn’t sound familiar?  Not a surprise!  Vauxhall does not export cars to the US.  Basically, though – imagine a base-model Ford Focus being used as a racecar! 

Finally, there was of course – a race!  This race pitted Jeremy against James May!  They traveled to New Zealand.  The race was basically from Auckland to the second-northern-most point in the country.  James May would be riding in…  an AC45!  This is a new type of solid-wing racing sailboat, piloted by America’s Cup champions.  Jeremy would be in “The fastest car…  in the world!”  What car was it?  A Toyota Carola!  What made it so fast?  It was a rental car!  Clarkson behind the wheel of a rental car was hilarious!  You’ve got to see this one!  I won’t tell you who wins, but I will tell you that Jeremy’s car mysteriously changes color from blue to red about 3/4 of the way through the race…

And on that bombshell, we’ll be back with another Top Gear review next week!



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