The Grand Tour

Richard Hammond’s Miraculous Escape in The Grand Tour: A Decade After Top Gear Crash

In a revealing interview, Richard Hammond shared his recent experience in The Grand Tour’s special across the Namib desert, marking a stark reminder of his near-fatal crash in Top Gear ten years ago. Despite hardships and unexpected challenges, Hammond’s adventurous spirit remains unscathed, as he recounts the journey and reflects on his life since the accident.

Key Takeaways:

  • Perilous Desert Adventure: Richard Hammond, along with Jeremy Clarkson and James May, encountered numerous challenges during their road trip in the Namib desert. From compatibility issues with their beach buggies in the sand to facing harsh and unexpected conditions, the journey was far from smooth. Hammond specifically mentions a dangerous incident involving a dune, which turned out to be a near-miss, adding a dramatic twist to their adventure.
  • Reflections on Life and Recovery: A decade after his near-fatal crash in Top Gear, Hammond reflects on how the accident has shaped his life but does not define him. He speaks candidly about his support for those with brain injuries and the importance of patience in recovery, offering comfort and perspective from his own experiences.
  • The Grand Tour’s Reception and Future Plans: Despite the challenges and the humorous banter about their relationship, Hammond, Clarkson, and May are amazed by the positive reception of The Grand Tour. They plan to use audience feedback to enhance the upcoming series, while also enjoying a humorous rapport about their personal holiday plans and professional dynamics.

“When Jeremy, James and I decided to take a road trip across the Namib desert in southern Africa, we thought, easy. We are well travelled. We can handle anything,” said Hammond, recalling the initial outlook on their adventure. However, the journey quickly proved to be more challenging than anticipated. “In actual fact, it was like joining the Foreign Legion. There was an endless string of calamities,” he added.

The trio’s choice of vehicles, beach buggies, proved to be less than ideal for the desert environment.

“The desert and the three beach buggies we were driving were not as compatible with sand as you might think,” Hammond revealed.

His own buggy, with a Beetle engine and black and white stripes, was an attempt to add a cool, African zebra-like flair to the expedition.

The journey’s perilous nature became evident when Hammond encountered a treacherous dune.

“When you’re surrounded by sand, the landscape blends into one. And while a dune might look gentle going up, you don’t know what’s over the top. You do have to be very careful. Those dunes can surprise you,” he explained.

This particular dune led to a near-disaster, as the other side was a sheer drop.

“You’ll have to watch to see what actually happens, but it’s safe to say that I had a lucky escape,” he noted.

Despite this scare, nothing else during the trip matched that moment’s intensity. Yet, the trio faced other challenges, such as getting lost and sleeping under their buggies due to cold temperatures.

“We never made it to our allocated sleep points, wherever those were. We slept under our buggies for a few nights. It got so cold I slept with socks on my hands,” Hammond shared, highlighting the unglamorous aspects of filming The Grand Tour.

Reflecting on the decade since his Top Gear accident, Hammond acknowledges the impact of the crash on his life, but insists it doesn’t define him. He remains involved in supporting others with brain injuries and emphasizes the slow nature of recovery.

“There’s a period of desperate introspection where you question your own sanity, your personality. But that does fade. I hope I offer some comfort,” he said.

The Grand Tour’s success and future plans also featured in Hammond’s interview. Despite speculation about viewership figures, the team focuses on audience reaction and social media feedback.

“People keep banging on about us not knowing the viewing figures. Well, who cares. There are other ways we can gauge people’s reactions and those figures aren’t always accurate, anyway,” Hammond remarked.

Finally, Hammond humorously described their Christmas plans, emphasizing the trio’s dynamic and plans for the next series of The Grand Tour.

“The greatest gift we can give each other is not being there. Short of sharing a bedroom with those two, I really couldn’t spend any more time with them. So instead I’ll be spending Christmas at home with my family,” he concluded.

Richard Hammond’s recount of his adventurous yet challenging journey across the Namib desert in The Grand Tour brings to light his resilience a decade after his Top Gear crash, his ongoing support for brain injury recovery, and the success and future plans for The Grand Tour.

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