Top Gear Thursday: Richard Hammond is Demolition Man

Hard-hatted Hammond.

Forget about the nineties action movie starring Sylvester Stallone and Wesley Snipes. This century’s demolition man is… The Hamster.

On next week’s all-new episode of Richard Hammond’s Crash Course (premiering Monday, May 14 at 10p/9c), our fearless master of behemoth vehicles goes to Orlando to work for one of the country’s busiest demolition companies.

Richard’s challenge is the 30-ton Track Hoe, which has a normal training period of six months.

Our intrepid host had a few hours.

And we should mention that of the 20 or so attachments for the Track Hoe, there’s one, the familiar Wrecking Ball, that weighs two tons by itself and has the strength to take down a five-story building in a matter of seconds. So, even the smallest mistake on a trainee’s part could be catastrophic. (See if you can avoid catastrophe yourself when you’re trying do the Sneak Peak Scramble of Episode 5’s demolition equipment.)

Did we mention that Richard trained for just several hours?

• Even with little time to train, Richard seems to be picking up what he needs to know to handle mammoth work equipment. Lewis Warren, the field training officer Richard worked with for this week’s show about the Striker firefighter, told BBC America that Hammond “understand vehicles like crazy” and that he “had idea after idea after idea.”

Warren said that Hammond managed to grasp the most important principle in operating the Striker, which is not to be overwhelmed by the enormity and drama of a massive fire.

“We were talking about how intimidating the fire is when you get there. In the fire truck, you have to go back to training versus what you see and feel,” said Warren.

He also said that working with Hammond was a “blast” – an interesting word choice for a firefighter – but, then again, he should know.

• On this week’s episode of Top Gear, the boys present the results of a trip to the town of Abergavenny in Wales and the surrounding picturesque countryside. Their mission was to design and build mobility scooters.

At the time, as we noted earlier this year, the South Wales Argus reported that the triumvirate “caused chaos” while driving the customized scooters, including one with six wheels and one with tank tracks instead of wheels, in town.

“It is not yet known why the team chose Abergavenny for the trial,” the Argus wrote. We hope we’ll find out on Monday night.

Also on Monday night’s Top Gear, the boys take in a broad range of climates. They test the Ferrarri FF and the Bentley Continental V8 at the edge of the Arctic Circle. And James May decides that, like his cohort Richard, he, too, should spend some time in Florida, which is where the picture you see below was apparently snapped.

Do you break for gators?

Hopefully, the only thing that was snapped in this case was the photo. The show will also apparently tell us about how James hung out in the Sunshine State with AC/DC frontman Brian Johnson.

• In addition to Johnson, there’s another celebrity on Monday’s show, namely this week’s Star in a Reasonably Priced Car – Michael Fassbender of Shame and X-Men fame.

• Our Rate My Ride contest is coming into the home stretch. It’s actually time for you to, well, rate the rides. We’ve narrowed down the more than 500 submissions to the top 15 – and cleaned up the blood on the floor of the judging room – but now it’s your turn. Take a look at the top contenders and cast your vote. You can also look at the honorable mentions gallery. Winners will be announced on May 22.

• We’re used to seeing Jeremy, James and Richard talking about cars. But, as you know, they know about lots of other stuff as well. Here’s a clip of Jeremy Clarkson hosting the popular British quiz show Have I Got News for You last week: