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  • Tonight, we drive down a sewer.

  • We power slide across a field.

  • And some other things as well. I can't see where I'm going.

  • CHEERING AND APPLAUSE

  • Thank you, everybody. Hello!

  • Hello. Welcome.

  • Hello. Thank you, thank you.

  • Now...

  • what do you suppose is the slowest means of transport

  • in this day and age?

  • Canal boat?

  • WOMAN: James May.

  • James May.

  • Getting a piggyback from James May, possibly.

  • Turns out, though, the answer is air travel,

  • as Richard Hammond explains.

  • This is an airport.

  • It's a place where you wait around a lot.

  • But the waiting isn't just because of delayed planes.

  • No, the problem runs deeper than that.

  • Everything that moves at an airport just takes an age.

  • The tug that drags the plane to the gate crawls like a snail.

  • The bus that ferries the passengers to the place is deathly slow.

  • The catering truck is always late,

  • the fuel truck just meanders about with no sense of urgency

  • and as for that little thing

  • that drags the luggage around in a big train,

  • maybe that's the reason

  • why you have to wait for a year at the luggage carousel.

  • Net result - misery.

  • In fact, some youngsters who check in to fly somewhere on a school trip

  • often die of old age in the departure lounge.

  • And that's an actual fact.

  • Time, then, for Top Gear to step in,

  • and in the same we solved the bendy bus issue,

  • we shall tackle this problem through the crucible of motor sport.

  • Let's begin by assembling a selection of typical airport vehicles.

  • First up, the aircraft steps.

  • Never there when you need them. Hope they can buck their ideas up.

  • Then we have the thing that lugs the luggage around,

  • complete with...luggage.

  • The fuel tanker, heavy and full of...

  • stuff.

  • Fuel.

  • Next, the bendy bus that ferries the passengers around.

  • We're already pretty familiar with those.

  • Ah, the fire engine. Absolutely no excuse for tardiness for that one.

  • And the catering truck.

  • Always late, sometimes better if it didn't turn up at all.

  • And finally,

  • the heaviest beast of all - the aircraft tug.

  • So, there we are -

  • a group of machines that normally trundle around at a snail's pace.

  • But just think how much faster the whole airport experience would be

  • if we could speed things up.

  • To show the airport bosses

  • just what untapped potential these machines have,

  • welcome to the inaugural

  • Top Gear Various Airport Vehicles Motor Sport Challenge Race...

  • Challenge.

  • Our venue for this ground-breaking event

  • is London's Heathrow Airport, just outside London.

  • Normally it is a lot busier than this

  • but the people who run Heathrow closed it for the day

  • and they've moved all the jumbos and, um, terminals off to the side,

  • out of shot...

  • They have, that's what they've done.

  • So, with that taken care of, all I need now are some drivers.

  • Sadly, the airport ground staff just won't cut the mustard.

  • But guess who I ran into in Duty Free.

  • Touring car legend, Tom Chilton.

  • Touring car legend, Matt Neal.

  • Touring car legend, Mat Jackson.

  • Touring car legend, Gordon Shedden.

  • Touring car legend, Anthony Reid.

  • And truck racing legend, Stuart Oliver.

  • The drivers climbed into their chosen machines,

  • leaving me with the fire engine.

  • I can't reach the switch.

  • ENGINE STARTS

  • Yeah!

  • All of these vehicles have very different engines and what have you,

  • and so whichever one wins today

  • is the vehicle we will be recommending

  • all future aircraft vehicles are based on,

  • regardless of function or task.

  • ENGINES REV

  • This is a pretty serious scientific experiment,

  • so I have stressed to the other drivers

  • in the strongest possible terms,

  • absolutely no body contact whatsoever.

  • We're away!

  • The catering lorry - I can't believe how that took off!

  • 'Although the fire truck was incredibly noisy...'

  • ENGINE WHINES

  • '..on paper, it had got winning potential.'

  • 'On the minus side, however, it was still a fire truck.'

  • 'Very soon, I was falling back.'

  • Oh, no! I mean, what good would this be in an emergency situation

  • if the bloody catering truck gets there before the fire engine?!

  • 'And predictably, with me out of the way,

  • 'the touring car boys were ignoring my strict no-contact rule.

  • 'If I was to get back in and restore order, I needed to act fast.'

  • There, that'll do.

  • Ha-ha!

  • Oh! Yep.

  • I can't see where I'm going. I can't see.

  • I wonder what's happened to the world.

  • 'But the crash diet did the trick.'

  • I'm back in the race in my lightweight fire truck superleggera!

  • Yes!

  • 'Unfortunately,

  • 'the other drivers weren't impressed with the new track conditions.'

  • That's lapped the bendy bus!

  • Ah-ha-ha-ha!

  • 'Several laps into the race and no clear winner was emerging.'

  • The stairs in front of me now, they're an unknown quanti...TY!

  • Oh, my God!

  • 'So, with great regret, I ordered the drivers to turn up the wick.'

  • Maximum revs!

  • 'Pretty soon, the results started to come,

  • 'with the fuel tender taking a pretty serious kicking from the catering truck.'

  • The fuel lorry is out.

  • Oh!

  • 'With just two laps to go,

  • 'the 29-tonne tug and the luggage trolley

  • 'were at the back in a fight of their own.

  • 'And following an accidental manoeuvre by me...'

  • Woah! '..the bendy bus was now crippled,

  • 'meaning it was now all down to me, the catering truck and the stairs.

  • 'Correction - make that me and the catering truck.

  • 'Which, as we entered the final lap, had suddenly changed tactics.'

  • Woah! What's he done with that?!

  • 'What he'd done was genius.'

  • 'The lightweight catering truck shot into the lead.'

  • Woah!

  • 'But the racing driver,

  • 'being a racing driver,

  • 'had forgotten about the laws of physics.'

  • That is the catering truck out of it.

  • That is good news indeed. Yeah!

  • Ahh! There you go!

  • 'So, airports of the world, take note.'

  • From now on,

  • all airport vehicles will be based on the fire engine,

  • which will be brilliant

  • as long as there isn't a fire.

  • CHEERING

  • Excellent work.

  • Excellent science, Doctor.

  • Excellent science.

  • More of that. More research, yeah.

  • Now let's do the news.

  • Yes, let's. Right... Oh, yes.

  • Every week, the Daily Mirror runs a story

  • saying that we've done something unspeakable.

  • You know, we've stolen all the Army's helicopters

  • or we've accidentally clubbed an old lady to death with a baby seal.

  • This week, OK,

  • the story they chose to run with was this.

  • OK? Here it is.

  • Big story saying that...

  • homosexuals are banned from the Top Gear studio audience.

  • Now, seriously, honestly,

  • I've never read such rubbish in my life, ever. Now, it is true...

  • LAUGHTER ..that we like an even split of men and women in the audience,

  • otherwise it's a bit like the early days

  • when we only got the Subaru owners club, and that's a bit grizzly.

  • But we do not actually insist

  • that you sleep with the person you come to the studio with. No.

  • I mean, often, you know, mums come down with their sons

  • and we're not suggesting that...

  • You know, that's... No, we're not. But everybody's welcome. Exactly.

  • The truth is, we welcome homosexual couples here. We do.

  • We particularly like the lesbian sort. Oh, God!