Welcome to TopGear’s Lap of England


If the fens have a limited emotional range, the North York Moors National Park is overwhelmingly passionate in comparison. We trotted up the A1079 past Beverley and across the B1248 through Wetwang [cough] and Norton-on-Derwent, on our way to Kirkbymoorside and subsequently Hutton-le-Hole. Which is where we picked up the Blakey Ridge on the way to Castleton and found several kilometres of carriageway genius. The Moors are breathtaking. The views into the valleys make you think of tiny cottages, roaring fires and writing bad novels.

The Blakey Ridge soars across the top, uncommonly sunny today, flowing and long, and it's the first time I can really let the RS4 strut. Having delved into the car's brain, I've set the Individual settings for aggressive gearbox action, full-fat engine and throttle response, weighty steering and comfort suspension. UK-specific. The tweakery might make the RS4 slightly less keen to turn-in and more prone to a subtle dip of bodyroll, but it keeps the wheels in touch with the tarmac, and my spine out of my nose. On these swooping, sighted, slightly greasy roads, the RS4 resolves, becomes incredible. You don't even have to go fast to enjoy it, though the RS4 is keen for the 8,500rpm red line, and more than capable of dealing with the changes in grip. But watch out for the suicidally stupid sheep; they may look fluffy, but wouldn't do well accelerating from standstill to 80kph bolted to the front bumper of an Audi.

I know that I'm enjoying it when I realise that Justin the photographer is breathing heavily and trying to bury his head in a bumper bag of Revels. But we can't linger. As we reach Castleton, I'm ready to face Blakey again, but we have far to go, so we head on and out, and further north.