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Top Gear Live: opening night review

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If you’ve been to Top Gear Live before you’ll know the form.
Jeremy, Richard and James cocking about on stage with a bunch of cool cars,
then a motorshow in the hall next door, right?  

But this year, that’s only half the story. If you’ve been
following the buildup on
, you’ll know we’ve built our very own indoor
race track with the help of Lotus Motorsport, the guys behind the Top Gear
track at Dunsfold
.  So now, as well
as the Clarkson, Hammond and May show, we all get entry to a separate 70
minute on-track extravaganza hosted by TG’s old chum Tiff Needell.

For Friday’s opener we had Star in a Reasonably Priced
Car live in front of our very eyes, with Olympic legend Mark Cavendish and TV
presenter Ben Shepherd. Nurburgring queen Sabine Schmitz and The Stig hooned at
great speed, and then we saw Formula One’s next generation, as sons of legends
Freddie Hunt, Alex Brundle and Sam Brabham raced off in karts. Oh, and Lewis’s
brother Nic Hamilton.

The highlight had to be a mouth-watering collection of
flame-spitting Group B rally cars running against the clock. Imagine a massive
Scalextric track, except you don’t have to put the cars back on when they fall

Meanwhile, over in the arena, the boys were on fine form, determined to get at
least one sport included in the London Olympics. Their opening ceremony?
Freestyle bike jumping, flaming rally cars and an Aston doing donuts. If you’re
reading this Boris, the bar has been set…

What else? We’ve also now invented ‘car curling’ (much better than the
original), and a new version of the hurdles which involves an athlete jumping
over a speeding Lamborghini. As Jeremy says: ‘either you’re going to witness
the birth of a brilliant new sport or see a man being run over by a Lambo -
either way its going to be memorable’.

Other highlights included a supercar beauty pageant and a stunt
routine featuring the superb new Morgan 3-wheelers. Watching Jeremy clamber
aboard is, as Hammond pointed out, like ‘watching a gorilla being forced into a

Still, as they would say in those huge posters in London’s

Head to our gallery of pics from the opening night for a taste of the action, and don’t forget TG Live
continues on Saturday and Sunday at the NEC, before moving to London’s Excel in
two weeks’ time on 24th-27th November. If you fancy it, tickets are available

So - any TG.commers there? Let us know what you thought in
the handy space below…

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