Top Gear Tuesday: Hammond’s Hung Out to Dry in Season 22, Episode 6
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- Season 22, Episode 6—Hammond Wilderness Rescue Challenge: Richard Hammond is dropped into the remote, frozen wastes of Canada to test a watch with a built-in emergency beacon. Normally, activating the device would summon a vast international rescue crew, but in Hammond's case, the distress signal is sent directly to Jeremy Clarkson and James May who are disorganized, disinterested, and very many miles away. Eventually, the pair get their hands on two trucks—a Ford Raptor and a Chevy Silverado 2500HD—they believe are suitable for the job and set off on an epic adventure to find their colleague.
Productivity has come to a halt, and while I hate to place blame, I have no choice but to put full culpability in the hands of the very company that employs me—the MotorTrend Group. Our very own MotorTrend App recently acquired the whole library—episodes 2-25—of Top Gear UK for our viewing pleasure. On top of that, the app has additional Top Gear compilations, specials, and best-ofs. For better or worse, I live in a household that happens to love Top Gear. The biggest problem has been that until now, it's been really hard to get our hands on episodes, thus reducing TV time and increasing productivity. Now that we have access to over 170 episodes, we're metaphorical kids in a candy store, running around wild while stuffing our faces with a disgustingly absurd amount of candy. Again, not our fault. You give candy, we're going to eat.
Since we can choose which episodes to watch, I have gravitated toward those featuring trucks and just finished Season 22, Episode 6: Hammond Wilderness Rescue Challenge—Ford SVT Raptor vs. Chevrolet Silverado. Although there's some Lexus track car stuff and celebrity stuff—which, don't get me wrong, is always entertaining even though I'm not as into cars and don't know the celebrities—the items of real interest were the 6.6L Duramax Chevy Silverado 2500HD Z71 and Hennessey-supercharged first-gen 600hp 6.2L Ford F-150 Raptor "Velicoraptor." Besides just really liking big, American trucks, I happen to own a 2013 Raptor (minus the supercharger) and 2002 Chevy Silverado 2500HD LB7 Duramax—and have also spent time behind the wheel of the newer GM 2500HD 6.6L Duramax trucks.
The gist of the episode is that Jeremy Clarkson and James May are summoned to rescue their "friend" and colleague Richard Hammond, who is stranded and forced to survive the freezing temperatures of Wolf Mountain in Canada. Hammond's exact location, pinpointed via his watch, expires in 24 hours, and instead of speedily heeding to the seriousness of Hammond's distress signal, Clarkson and May naturally take their sweet time and arrive four days later. For the last 10 miles of the journey up the mountain, Clarkson and May traverse different paths in their respective Ford and Chevy pickups, "racing" up the snowy, steep mountain to aid Hammond, who has begun to go crazy waiting for "Yogi" and "BooBoo" to arrive. Hammond can't understand why his "friends" take so long, while Clarkson and May are more interested in the pickup trucks and their own comfort.
Which truck reaches Hammond first, you ask? The nimble roost-throwing Ford Raptor with Clarkson behind the wheel or the slow-and-steady high-torque workhorse Chevy HD that May pilots? Well, they both end up sliding down snowbanks and getting all sorts of squirrely, but the one that finally breaks a driveshaft loses. Their depictions of the contrasting handling characteristics of the Ford and GM are spot-on, and I found myself cracking up in agreement the whole time. They make fun of the trucks ("this entire vehicle is transportation for its own wheel") but eventually come to appreciate the value of these pickups.
It's amazing; it's clever; it's brilliant. And actually, it's just another Top Gear episode, one of many the Clarkson, May, and Hammond trio perfects. The story line is brilliant, and the blend of acting and genuine interaction is flawless.
What episode are you watching today?