Bicycle wins Top Gear race
By Rosee Woodland, Commuting editor | Wednesday, November 14, 2007 10.22am
blank © Top Gear
UK motoring show Top Gear has dented its anti-bike image after a cyclist won a commuter race filmed for the programme.
Popular presenter Richard Hammond, who narrowly escaped death after a 288mph crash last year, took his life in his hands again to bike across London.
The contest saw Hammond race fellow show hosts Jeremy Clarkson and James May, along with programme driver The Stig to get to City Airport first. And the 37-year old beat his fellow competitors by some 15 minutes.
Clarkson, who travelled by speedboat came second, The Stig arrived third after taking the Tube, and May came in last, after paying the congestion charge to crawl across the capital in a 5.5litre Mercedes ML500 SUV.
As he pelted through the Blackwall Tunnel Hammond, told viewers, "I've got 19mph showing on my little speedo here. I've got to keep that up. I feel sick."
Meanwhile, zooming under Wandsworth Bridge in a Cougar speedboat a confident Clarkson yelled, "Okay Hammond and May, live with this!"
But he didn't know that "The Hamster" was a mere eight miles from the airport, while Clarkson still had 17 to go. And his faster speed didn't help him in the end.
Hammond was simply determined to come first. "I've got to beat Jeremy and I cannot be beaten by James," he muttered to himself as he undertook a row of lorries in a narrow cycle lane.
And Clarkson was forced to eat his words when he arrived at the airport to find Hammond already checked in and relaxing in the first class lounge.
"You've killed Top Gear", he lamented.
You can watch some of the race footage on the Top Gear website now. The programme was first shown on BBC2 on Sunday night.
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