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Vietnam: behind the scenes

  1. Vietnam special

    Setting off. The boys’ challenge (as it said on the note) was ‘You will attempt to achieve in eight days what the Americans failed to achieve in 10 years. You will ride from here in Saigon to Halong City near the Chinese border which is 1,000 miles away…’

  2. Vietnam revisted gallery

    With a budget of, well, a handful of Vietnamese Dong, the boys went in search of their steeds. Richard ended up on a Russian-built Minsk, James on a Honda Cub, and Jezza - because he has no idea about anything with less than four wheels - a green scooter.

  3. Vietnam revisted gallery

    On the road out of Saigon and Clarkson already looked uncomfortable. Seasoned biker Hammond quickly got into the swing of things – he said he chose the bike for its ability to deal with crap roads. No problems so far…

  4. Vietnam special

    Richard and James make their first stop for fuel on the way to Dalat. Crew picks up first impressions of the bikes and everyone wonders where Jeremy has got to…

  5. Vietnam special

    JC arrives at the fuel stop. Decides his wheel is broken and sets about trying to fix it. Some crew stay behind, but Richard and James, as you’ll remember, didn’t stop to help…

  6. Vietnam special

    After the longest mountain climb in the world (so they said), the boys make it to the snake restaurant in Dalat. Hammond refuses the heart-in-a-shot-glass snake vodka. In fact, he refuses mostly everything food related…

  7. Vietnam special

    Rain-soaked descent to Nha Tring is deeply unpleasant. Weather was warm but persistent downpour meant the boys and the telly crew were drenched and freezing. Jeremy described it as ‘a monotony broken only by a light sprinkling of discomfort…’

  8. Vietnam special

    Honda forfeit bike is revealed as Richard is forced to take a pitstop to fix a clutch cable. Chaos descends as thunder barks in the sky and a school empties its kids onto the street. It didn’t really come across on TV just how much noise was everywhere…

  9. Vietnam special

    Here’s a shot from a sequence that didn’t make the final edit – the introduction of Vietnamese Stig. Filmed at an ex-US air base near De Lat it involved a red suit and a bike competition. Don’t worry that you haven’t seen it, we’ve saved it for the DVD.

  10. Vietnam special

    Later on the beach in Hoi An… James and Richard took a ride while they waited for the suits to be tailored. Notice Hammond’s boat ‘gift’ by now strapped to the back of his bike. Jeremy, meanwhile, had better ideas…

  11. Vietnam special

    JC’s plan for killing suit-making time was less adventurous – a foot massage back at the hotel. You can read more about this experience in Jeremy’s column

  12. Vietnam special

    The boys get the suits and ride through Hue. You can watch this bit on our exclusive clip. Jeremy’s received his gift now too and Richard’s bike had some ‘pink’ modifications overnight.

  13. Vietnam special

    A quick break – but Richard was still not hungry. The penny has by now dropped that the boys won’t make it to Halong City on schedule without cheating. James books the train tickets…

  14. Vietnam special

    The boys make it to the edge of Halong City. Train had taken them as far as Hanoi (James bought the wrong tickets) and they rode the rest. Producer, at this point, steps in with the bad news they haven’t finished yet.

  15. Vietnam special

    The ‘real’ finish line is Ba Hang Bar on Halong Bay, but to get there the boys needed to build the bike-boats. JC’s was literally assembled overnight. See the boats in our second Vietnam clip

  16. Vietnam special

    James’ boat was trouble from the start. Made from branches tethered to an old canoe, they basically had to dismantle the bike to get it to work properly. And even then it didn’t.

  17. Vietnam special

    JC’s Vespa-paddle-steamer made it first. Richard landed next after some rudder-related navigation problems, solved by paddling with his hands until he pointed in the right direction and then opening up the throttle.

  18. Vietnam special

    There was plenty of time for chat before James eventually made it – he swam the final few yards. But, cheating aside the challenge was met – 1,000 miles in eight days. Want more? Watch the video clips.

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