I was a bit worried when Jeremy announced ‘I need a slash’ on the final episode of Top Gear. I mean he’s getting on a bit now so you never know. Luckily it turned out he was referring to The Slash, who it seems is known by everyone in the world except me (but then I was also unaware of the advances of the jet pack) who was the last Star in the C Apostrophe D of the series.
Dressed in his rubber top hat, sunglasses and leather trousers, I was expecting the former Guns N Roses frontman to be a bit wild. Instead he proved himself to be nice but rather…dare I say it…dull? We learned that he is a clothes thief and used to own in excess of 90 snakes, but apart from that. His lap didn’t set the world on fire (1.49.8) but it was wet and he beat Alice Cooper so Slash was happy.
What got everyone talking was his serenade at the end of the show, playing ‘Jessica’ and proving, wow, he really is some guitarist.
As well as Slash we were treated to an interview with the effortlessly funny man-of-few-words Kimi Raikkonen announcing (in his own way) that he’s returning to racing in a Lotus Renault sponsored by an anti-dandruff product. His lap in the Suzuki Liana was remarkable in that he appeared to be nonchalantly gazing out of the window for most of it admiring a helicopter parked nearby. Despite this and the fact the track was wet, the calm as a cucumber approach saw him beat both Mark Webber and Damon Hill on the F1 drivers’ board with a time of 1.46.1.
The rest of the episode felt a little jumbled to me, as though they’d had lots of good ideas but had run out of time and had to pack them all into the final show. The opening BMW M5 review with Hammond, for example, left me slightly puzzled. Sure it’s a car show so they should be able to discuss any car they choose without a particular reason why but I thought the item seemed a bit rushed and wasn’t sure what they were trying to say about it, other than it was good and more like the original. Yay?!
James’ trip to visit Chris Evans’ Ferrari collection seemed slightly off-key too, but I suppose they were grabbing the opportunity to showcase such a rare car that most of us plebs would never get to see otherwise. And I must admit, I’m very glad they did. I thought I was in love with the Bentley last week, but no! The Ferrari 250 GT California is just stunning and lucky James, in a bold choice of jumper which more than made up for the car’s lack of colour, got to drive it.
The final item was one for the Golf Widows. Categorical proof that golf is stupid. Okay… maybe that’s not quite what was said but the boys were out to prove that at the very least, that motorsport can be cheaper than golf.
For the same price as membership to the golf club, the freemasons and a set of ‘bats’ the boys managed to equip themselves with rally cross cars and took to Lydden Hill Track to compete in a race. The point was proven, the rest was just typical Top Gear fun.
James in his Toyota MR2 came, typically, last in 2/3 of his races. Jeremy did pretty badly in the Modified 2 litre class in his BMW 328 but then won the ‘Spanner Final’ and somehow ended up in the proper final. Hammond, on the other hand did extremely well, getting two 3rd places in his Citroen Saxo in the stock hatch class and ending up in the proper final against Jeremy.
I defy anyone to understand the rules. Hammond’s approach, ‘I’m just going to drive round the track as fast as I can,’ seemed the best in the circumstances and seemed to work! Meeting in the final the boys battled it out but Hammond beat Jeremy, gaining a respectable second, whilst Jeremy bagged third. Pretty impressive really.
And on that bombshell (and on Slash’s guitar shredding) series 18 ended. Come on Top Gear, you’ve got to at least make it up to a nice round 20! Bring on the next series.