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The Top Gear team’s highlights of 2012
Nick Dalton, Assistant Producer, Top Gear
“It would be either a) meeting utter Gentleman and living legend Roger Moore or b) driving the actual DB5 seen in Skyfall or c) discovering a letter in the Ian Fleming archives from a Dr Gibson of the AMOC, who suggested he give Bond an Aston in his next novel - it was like staring straight down the barrel of car nerd history.”
Tom Ford, Associate Editor, Top Gear magazine
“Sitting on a lava beach on the Icelandic coast eating jam sandwiches and trying to light a small candelabra in the back of a new Range Rover, only mildly concerned that the tide was coming in and the Rangie looked utterly buried. It got out. I went for a swim in zero degree water to celebrate.”
Jason Barlow, Editor At Large, Top Gear magazine
“It was a year topped and tailed by great cars but even more so, great people. In February, I drove from London to Cadiz in 22 hours in a Maserati MC Stradale to meet round-the-world yachtsman and hero Giovanni Soldini. In September, former F1 driver and now double gold medal-winning Paralympian Alex Zanardi captivated me with his sheer strength of character. And just two weeks ago I spent a day with AC/DC frontman Brian Johnson, Ferrari, Lola and Bentley owner and racing driver, who turned out to be quite possibly the funniest human being I’ve ever met.”
Ollie Marriage, Motoring Editor, Top Gear magazine
“The Baja. Not just the best thing I’ve done this year, but any year. A potent cocktail of Group B rallying and Mad Max that’s physically, emotionally and mechanically gruelling. My innards still ache.”
Read more from Ollie’s epic Baja adventure in the next issue of Top Gear magazine, out Jan 4.
Piers Ward, Senior Road Test Editor, Top Gear magazine
“Sitting in a Porsche 962, with Derek Bell giving me instructions on just how fast and hard I should be pushing it. I’m pretty certain he was disappointed with my response…”
Sam Philip, Senior Writer, Top Gear magazine
“Reaching the glamorous rooftop short stay car park at Terminal Seven of New York’s JFK airport in a very yellow Ford Focus ST on a grey Friday afternoon in June. Photographer Webb Bland and I had left Los Angeles just five days before, covering 3,333 miles without using interstates. We’d slept for about eight hours in total. There was some undignified weeping and even more undignified high-fiving.”
Dan Read, Writer, Top Gear magazine
“Discovering green-eyed dogs* in the desert night, after two days in a Conti GT, racing a train across America. Non stop. Either that, or becoming the first civvie to actually drive to France, through the Chunnel’s service road. I bought some beer. Then drove back again.
*Dogs may have been an illusion.”
Chris Mooney, Editor, TopGear.com
“As the man responsible for TopGear.com, I’m tempted to say my highlight of the year was a new piece of gallery functionality on the site which stopped refreshing the page every time you wanted to view some of our marvellous photography. We know you all approved, because you all said so long and loudly in the comments.
But that would be boring. I’ll go for a crisp winter’s day on a closed Nordschleife, driving for for nigh on two hours in a convertible 542bhp Jaguar XKR-S, under the capable tuition of Japan Super GT racer Tim Bergmeister. There was snow on the track, the back end stepped out with the lightest of throttle dabs, and there was more than one hairy moment: I wouldn’t have had it any other way.”
Vijay Pattni, Web Producer and Batman correspondent, TopGear.com
“Personal highlights could include being strapped into Jaguar’s XJ ‘Ring taxi or the 400bhp Batmobile from The Dark Knight Rises, and taken for a very spirited hotride, but both of these events launched a massive assault on my personal dignity. No, I still look back with utter fondness on meeting Sir Stirling Moss to talk Formula One. The term ‘living legend’ is bandied around far too casually these days, but with Sir Stirling, it’s true: he is a living legend.”
Matthew Jones, Senior Writer, TopGear.com
“Witnessing several million (five) road traffic accidents in Moscow from the safety of TG mag’s Hot Hatch of the Year. The car was brilliant, Russia was terrifying and I got to see a Lenin. Either that, or getting profoundly stuck in the Sharja desert with a charming Icelander called Hjalti.”
Read more about Matthew’s Moscow adventure in the current issue of Top Gear magazine.
Rowan Horncastle, Multi-platform mediasmith and occasional lensman