Three months ago as final deadlines passed and students started to leave the city for the summer there was a sudden flurry of excitement as “Top Gear” presenters Jeremy Clarkson and James May made an unexpected visit to Lincoln while filming their seventeenth series with electric cars.
Clarkson’s car ran out of power alongside the Brayford Pool and the team received a massive welcome as the car was pushed on to the university campus to be recharged. Taking a break from a tour of Lincoln Castle later in the day, May said that he was “amazed” by the number of people who were around.
“We didn’t arrive until almost 2 o’clock and I didn’t think [the students] would all be up. There were probably about 300 of them, very enthusiastic, all wanting to take part in the show,” May explained.
Clarkson joked about his surprise about this interview taking place, saying: “Surely, at 1pm you should’ve just left the pub having drunk 6 pints, that’s the first rule of journalism.”
The team arrived without fellow presenter Richard Hammond and many people had been eager to find out where the nation’s famous Hamster was.
“He’s dead!” Clarkson joked.
“Yes, he died this morning of unexpected circumstances,” May continued.
The pair left the cars to charge at the university giving them a few hours to embark on a trip across the city to witness some of Lincoln’s greatest attractions. “The electric cars do throw up some unexpected opportunities to explore historic cities like Lincoln and that’s why we’re here today.” May explained.
“We’re very fortunate that the cars have run out of electricity in Lincoln rather than somewhere like Mansfield, Congelton or even Hartlepool. I don’t think it would be possible to fill 14 hours in those places whereas in Lincoln it’s really easy to fill the time,” Clarkson added.
Lincoln is a memorable city for both presenters as they have both visited it in the past and May explained how he had taken quite a shine to the area: “I used to come to Lincoln when I was younger, I’ve got quite a lot of memories from here. When I lived in Yorkshire, I used to cycle here all the time it’s definitely a beautiful city and I’ve had very many happy hours here.”
The team ended up in the iconic Bailgate area and May explained that he “likes a good cathedral”. They also visited other areas of the city but unfortunately they didn’t fill much of their time: “We’ve seen an organ recital, the cross, many tombs and met some bishops,” May explained.
“And we’ve still got 13 and a half hours left!” Clarkson interrupted.
“Yes, Jeremy’s already spent £8.50 rubbing the black prince,” May exclaimed.
Electric cars were back on the agenda as the boys continued to talk about their love for motoring and the future of cars – with May saying that he thinks that eventually “cars will disappear”.
May said: “The answer to the problem of personal transport is that we haven’t made use of the space up there so we’re looking at some sort of air travel in the near future.”
When asked about what type of car they preferred, May admitted that he has taken a shine to the concept of electric cars: “My preference is for petrol but I actually find the idea of electric cars quite surreal. It runs out for a long time but electric is an amazing thing – it works with trains so why shouldn’t it work with cars.”
Despite the issues they had experienced with the electric cars, Clarkson admitted that this development in motoring was something we would have to accept in the future: “We have to face the facts, electric cars are coming whether we like it or not but the problem is that this won’t do.”
There will always be complications with any inventions, as May said: “This is its second or possibly third time coming, we’ve known for at least 100 years but the issue has always been the storage of electricity, they’re like a wild animal, you have to tame them.”
After demonstrating that they were still capable of somersaulting, the boys were ready to continue their afternoon with a guided tour around the castle grounds: “James, can we just get the brakes on – I’m exhausted from all my somersaulting,” Clarkson said.Tweet