Top Gear Thursday: In ‘Crash Course,’ Richard Hammond Says, ‘Tanks for the Memories’

Say hello to my little friend.

Richard Hammond is, of course, used to driving fast cars. Very fast cars. But it wasn’t a fast car that gave him the biggest challenge in his new series, Richard Hammond’s Crash Course (premiering Monday, Apr. 16, 10p/9c).

And, surprisingly, it wasn’t the Abrams tank that he learns to drive in Monday night’s episode, either. The tank that could obliterate an entire town and that, in the episode, crushes regular cars like they are tins of sardines.

No, towards the top of his list of scariest vehicles was one with a funny-sounding name.

“One of the machines I was most scared of is the slowest thing I’ve ever been in, let alone operated,” he says. “It’s a thing called the ‘dangle head processor,’ and it was terrifying - it was a lot of teeth and angry gnarled bits.”

It’s a machine that’s used to take down and strip trees in logging, and, yes, it’s pretty scary.

“I loved it,” says Hammond.

But as big and powerful as the vehicles that he encountered on his American journey are, Hammond stresses that the real stories are about the people who operate them.

“It’s all part of meeting the American worker, and spending time with them,” says Hammond.

• How many moves will it take you to unscramble the below photo of the Abrams tank featured in the first episode of Richard Hammond’s Crash Course? Try your hand at BBCAmerica.com’s sliding puzzle and let us know how you did.

• If you want a quick – and we mean quick – crash course about Crash Course, look no further. Richard masters each new challenge in three days. You can master a summary of the series in…20 seconds:

And just to test your mastery of the material, we’ve got a short quiz on the first episode. Get your pencils out now.

• If it seems as though the Hamster is everywhere, he is. He’s even on New York City cabs:

All Hail Richard!

He could be in your garage this very moment! Here he is talking to G4’s Attack of the Show about how his new show is attacking America:

• And Richard has turned up on Yahoo!’s Breakout to sing the praises of the BMW 3 Series, which he calls “three-mendous” and, arguably, “the best car ever made.”

• Of course, it’s not all about Richard. Airing right before Crash Course on Monday night is the eagerly-awaited two hour special kicking off Season 18 of Top Gear. (Monday, April 16 8p/7c) And just about now, you might be asking: Why is the series such a big success year after year? Or, given that it’s Passover, why is this series different from all other series? We’re glad you asked. The show’s producer, Andy Wilman, has the answer.

• Here’s some more stuff you won’t see on Top Gear – sneak peek outtakes from Season 18.

• Our friends over at Buzzfeed have done a guide to driving in the U.S. vs. driving in the UK. Who comes out on top?

• You may know that Anglophenia is asking for your answer to the question: Who’s the greatest Top Gear Star in a Reasonably Priced Car? In the video below, BBC America has suggested 18 possible contenders for the title, including Tom Cruise, Hugh Grant, Cameron Diaz, Guy Ritchie, Helen Mirren and Matt Smith.

Click here to see a full list. Now, you can play your part. Choose your favorite, tell us here at Anglophenia, and we’ll select the top ten from your lists, and Monday, April 23, we’ll count down to your No. 1 choice.