An MPH Retrospective
Now I’m no fool, and I’m sure most of you aren’t either. So let me kick off straight away by saying that this year’s MPH show was one of the best motoring experiences I’ve ever had. Right up there with thrashing around Kyalami in a brand new Alfa GT, with absolutely no consequences apart from the small, yet extremely important, consideration for the potential mocking by merciless mates in the seats beside me for any and all cock-ups made. So obviously my review cannot possibly be objective, nor can anyone else’s and if they claim differently – well let’s just say they’re lying through their teeth and leave it at that.
So, MPH then. Well I’m tempted to say that a summary of the show could be described as a live episode of Top Gear mated with the ideas of an over enthusiastic stunt driver, directed by a hyperactive pyromaniac, while being written and masterfully executed by Clarkson and his cronies. However I like to think of myself as a little more professional than that. After waiting for what seemed a few hundred years for people to take their seats – you’d have thought everyone was on crutches for how long that took that to happen, and yes yes I know I’m an impatient person – the show got off to a bang. Literally. Thanks to an attractive lady fire dancer, a Subaru was set alight and upon bursting into flames it shot off with explosive power, whirling and dancing in harmony with the woman.
From there on the scene was set. Clarkson, May and Sasha Martinengo arrived, each in their choice of super car erotica. Martinengo in a Corvette, Clarkson in the ever gorgeous Aston Martin DBS and May, late as usual, in a Bentley Arnage – performing his own unique brand of doughnut, the “slownut.” With his trademark, “Hello Everybody and Welcome,” Clarkson launched into a typically verbose breakdown of what we could to expect from the next couple of hours. Piquing everyone’s interest and getting the crowd on the edge of their seats in anticipation.
As soon as Clarkson had put his gift of the gab to one side, the show immediately got into full swing. Act after act poured past the often stunned audience, each one seemingly trying to outdo the other, leaving only more tire smoke filling the stadium and tortured engine notes ringing in our ears. With stunt teams driving a multitude of vehicles including Corsa OPC’s, Subaru Impreza’s and Nissan 350z’s hounded by the cops. Offset by the presenters getting up to all sorts of crazy antics in wacky contraptions ranging from rocket powered bikes to chainsaw powered deckchairs. Not to mention the craziest Ripleys Believe It Or Not spectacles which had four crazy Frenchmen whirling around inside the “Ball of Death,” it was no wonder the cheers and whoops from the crowd only got louder and louder as the evening progressed.
However we have to remember that this is a Top Gear show, which of course could not be complete without good, solid, of the moment consumer advice. So the legendary “Cool Wall” made an appearance. I’d like to point out that Clarkson and May got the Ford Focus RS horribly wrong, deeming it to be cool. Clearly an incorrect decision. Fortunately we lowly third world South Africans are not judged to be worthy consumers by Ford and so are not even given the option of purchasing their silly green hatchback. Along with the “Cool Wall” came a selection of super car erotica that paraded before our greedy eyes – the three cherries on top of an extremely appetizing cake were the Aston Martin DBS, Koenigsegg CCX and Pagani Zonda S. As arguments are as inevitable as the tides on Top Gear, one broke out as to which was the best of the three. Unsurprisingly a concise answer could not be reached.
Now the perceptive among you may have noticed a distinct lack of anything Hammond so far in this article. This is by no means an attempt of an undercurrent of parody, feebly trying to mock his height and nor is it some kind of deep seeded jealousy for the man. In fact I happened to attend the Joburg show and therefore did not get to see Hammond in the flesh. This left a gap in the team which Sasha bravely attempted to fulfill, and while meaning no disrespect to the man, there was more chance of Jessica Alba walking in and snogging me for the rest of the show than there was of him being as charismatic and brilliant as a Top Gear presenter.
However all was by no means lost. In fact this created the hilarious scenario which only the most eagle eyed would notice, whereby every opportunity the other two were presented, they would have a subtle go at Sasha – leaving no doubt in the audience’s mind that he was not one of them. In doing so Sasha ended up winning every challenge by a lot more than a country mile and at one point even got told to “Get off the stage and go shave,” something I found thoroughly amusing.
Let’s face it though. The real star is of course old chatter box himself, The Stig. Some say he even writes for DriveRSA…Sorry. Anyway, he most certainly did not disappoint, taking place in an explosive finale, zipping round in a highly excitable buggy while being pursued by numerous opponents, only to defeat them all and attempt a terrifying loop-the-loop stunt as his encore. Without a hint of fear showing through his pristinely white helmet, The Stig flew up the ramp, launched himself round what looked like the world’s largest tumble dryer at dizzying speeds and popped out the other side without even breaking a sweat, or at least that I know of.
And that sadly concluded Top Gear Live. It was truly a spectacular show and one well worth attending no matter whom you were or where you were sitting. You might be sitting there thinking, well it’s easy for him to say, I’m sure he got his ticket for free. Well I’m afraid you’d be one hundred percent wrong there folks. I like you had to pay for my ticket and do not regret it for one second. It was well worth the money and I’ll most definitely be going again next year and I hope you all will too.