Petrolhead paradise comes to Durbs

2012-06-18 00:00

PUMPING music, smoking rubber, screeching tyres and women in skimpy outfits had Top Gear fans revved up, and the presenters — Jeremy Clarkson, James May and Richard “Hamster” Hammond — didn’t disappoint at Durban’s Moses Mabhida stadium at the weekend.

Entering in a Porsche GST RS, a McLaren MP4-12C and an Aston Martin DBS, they performed a non-stop series of daring moves and paint-scratching stunts in their “car Olympics”.

Their first event, a kind of synchronised swimming using Peugeot RCZ coupés, had the capacity crowd “oohing” and “aahing” at the stunt-driving team’s ability to power-slide and parallel at high speeds.

The Top Gear trio had the crowd laughing with their version of curling, with Hammond being shunted in a shopping trolley towards a Fiat target. Only, instead of the tame golf cart he expected, the Hamster got pushed by a roaring DBS instead.

Chariot racing with four 28-horsepower scooters hitched to a wagon saw the Stig beat Clarkson, May and Hammond.

A soccer match between SA and England, each team playing in three Chevrolet Spark hatchbacks, created a lot of work for panelbeaters.

In the Top Gear’s version of hurdles, a stuntman jumped over three moving go-carts before somersaulting over a Dodge Viper — billed as the world’s longest supercar — as it accelerated towards him.

In a world first, the Rage-bug did the show’s first “720”, twice racing upside down through two 360-degree loops.

The stunt-racing team also provided great entertainment, burning rubber while being chased by a member of the Durban Metro cops in his VW Jetta.

Between the four shows over the two days, more than 70 000 fans streamed to the stadium, most sporting their colours in Ferrari jackets, BMW racing caps or Mercedes T-shirts.

One of them, Marianne Bodenstein of Durban, was one of several people who had hopped several kilometres between her car and the stadium on crutches.

“It would have been nice if the organisers thought of a golf cart for us hop-alongs,” sighed an exhausted Bodenstein.

After the show, there were no complaints.

“The Top Gear live show was simply fan-freaking-tastic,” said Frans Kruger of Port Elizabeth.

Car fanatic sisters Raeesa and Aneesa Badat, who had travelled from Pietermaritzburg and stayed overnight in Durban to attend the show, said it was worth every penny.

“It was a full day’s event, which catered for all petrolheads.

“The best parts of the show were definitely the street circuits and to see the F1 McLaren and hear the sound of the Lamborghini Aventador,” said Aneesa.

Tammy John, also from Pietermaritzburg, surprised her husband Edwin with VIP tickets for yesterday’s show, and she insisited the couple of thousand rand she invested in his Father’s Day treat was worth every penny.

Between races on the narrow street circuit around the stadium, the fans were treated to a taxi being driven on two wheels, “Stig rounds” and, of course, donuts — served up in great dollops of burning rubber.

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