Top Gear host promises lots of stunts as show heads for HK

PUBLISHED : Sunday, 01 February, 2009, 12:00am
UPDATED : Sunday, 01 February, 2009, 12:00am

Jeremy Clarkson, the controversial greenie-loathing host of Top Gear has fond memories of Hong Kong.

'I once got a taxi driver there and he was a maniac. He drove through the tunnel at 100 miles an hour,' he said on the eve of taking Top Gear Live, the stage version of his hit television show, on the road. 'He was spectacularly fast, by far the fastest taxi driver in the world.

'He was even more impressive because his cab had no suspension at all. I was deeply impressed.'

Clarkson, co-presenter Richard Hammond and local racing driver Marchy Lee Ying-kin, will be presenting the final leg of the show's world tour from February 20 to 22 at the Convention and Exhibition Centre.

'I love Hong Kong, so even if only three people come to the show, I'll be happy because at least I'll have three days in the city,' he said.

He dismissed rumours that the shows would climax with the destruction of the cars that had served them through all the previous shows.

'No. A lot of the stunts and the mad stuff, it's all very carefully made and constructed so we have this giant transport plane following us around like a rock band,' he said.

'This is theatre and the cars are props and they go from show to show. So if and when we do more shows we'll need the cars.

'I don't think we could turn up somewhere like Hong Kong and say, 'Can we borrow three Ferraris because we want to doughnut them around'. People are going to say no.'

He explains the show thus: 'Explosions, fast driving and some pretty amazing 3D stuff ... I want to keep some surprises for people. People will actually get a chance to drive the Top Gear track using a really clever computer.'

Never one to shy away from controversy, Clarkson does not believe that Chinese deserve the bad reputation they have in some countries for the quality of their driving.

'Every country drives differently. The Greeks are the worst. They are spectacularly hopeless and should not be allowed cars.'

And he is looking forward to one day reviewing China-made vehicles.

'It'll be - what's the word? - interesting. The last time I was in Japan or Vietnam or somewhere, I kept seeing these cars and thinking, 'Christ what's that?' And it was always a name you never heard of, and they were invariably called a 'Fairy'.

'I suppose we better get used to them because we'll all be driving them around one day.'

He believed Hongkongers appreciated beautiful cars and dismissed the argument that there is no point in owning a super car in a big city where there were few opportunities for pushing the vehicles to their limits.

'If you appreciate cars for their aesthetic appeal, the way they drive, the noise they make, you don't need to drive at 1,000 miles an hour. You can still derive a great deal of satisfaction from them.'