TOP GEAR LIVE 2012 - A RECORD BREAKER
The curtain has come down on the ‘biggest and boldest’ Top Gear Live ever seen in the UK. The action-packed four-day automotive extravaganza staged at the NEC, Birmingham (25-28 October) attracted unprecedented crowd numbers, unrivalled support from the motor industry and also established a dramatic new World Record for the first double loop-the-loop by a motorcycle.
In total nearly 56,000 Top Gear fans savoured the nine live Arena Shows hosted by the turbo-charged triumvirate of Jeremy Clarkson, Richard Hammond and James May, easily surpassing the previous single venue record of 49,000 set at Earls Court in 2009. Taking their lead from the BBC television programme, the Arena Shows featured a hugely entertaining mix of jaw-dropping stunts, mouth-watering supercars and hilarious challenges. Highlights included a timely tribute to 50 years of James Bond, a crazy game of car conkers plus Clarkson and the TV show’s tame racing driver – The Stig – taking on the armed forces in an in-door autotest shoot-out. The Arena Show culminated with a member of the intrepid Top Gear Live Stunt Team completing the breathtaking Deadly 720+, the first back-to-back loops ever completed on two wheels.
As a pulse-quickening curtain raiser to the Clarkson, Hammond and May shows, fans were also treated to live Track Performances overseen by two former Top Gear presenters Vicky Butler-Henderson and Tiff Needell. As well as staging a series of entertaining ‘Grudge Matches’, this section of the show included a rare UK appearance from YouTube driving sensation Ken Block on Thursday plus a live version of the TV show’s ‘Star in a Reasonably Priced Car’. A stellar line-up of sporting and showbiz celebrities competed against the clock in the reasonably priced Kia Cee’d hatchback with multiple swimming champion Mark Foster coming out on top ahead of master baker Paul Hollywood and Olympic boxing gold medallist Anthony Joshua.
Supercars were out in force, too, with two sensational Bugatti Veyrons on display in the adjoining exhibition hall alongside an adrenaline-pumping array of speed machines from past and current generations many kindly loaned by the Lamborghini Owners Club, London Motor Museum, Prindiville and Topaz Detailing. The exhibition also starred several famous props from Top Gear including The Cool Wall and Studio Stage Set plus various Challenge Cars as also seen on TV. Aston Martin, Citroen, Infiniti, Mercedes-Benz and Infiniti were among a record number of motor manufacturers represented at Top Gear Live while other top brands such as Dunlop, Forza and Virgin Media were maximising the opportunity to promote themselves to the record numbers of show-goers.