Thursday, September 21, 2006

Richard Hammond's Freedom to Risk

I love Top Gear the British TV car-show. It's a bunch of articulate humorous car-nuts having enormous fun with fast, expensive and dangerous cars.

The presenters have a remarkable chemistry, the strutting, grumpy, right-wing Jeremy Clarkson, the cheeky, boyish, smooth Richard Hammond and the old-before-his-time "Captain Slow" James May. Even my 10 year-old daughter who doesn't care about cars enjoys the show.

If you've never been exposed to it before, do yourself a favour and watch the clips on the Top Gear website - my personal favourite is the £100 car challenge.

Of course, the reason I mention this is Richard Hammond's recent accident with a 300 mph jet car while filming the new series.

No accident at that speed is a little accident and the hospital says that they are "reasonably optimistic he should make a good recovery" rather than "sure he'll make a full recovery" so I fear he's done himself some permanent damage.

Now the hunt is on for the Shysters to assign blame and for the Safety Nazis to spoil our fun.

My position is that as long as you take all possible precautions to protect innocent by-standers, everyone should be able to do pretty well what they want.

I hope Richard Hammond does make that full-recovery and we get to enjoy him enjoying high-G activity in future. However, I fear he won't and I also fear we may have witnessed the high-water mark of motoring journalism.

Watch those marvellous clips while you can. The future's safe, the future's much, much blander.

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