The petrolhead’s map of Britain

The petrolhead’s map of Britain

Thursday, January 12th, 2012

If you are horrified by even the thought of taking public transport, are interested in Jeremy Clarkson’s opinions, and can name the make and model of a car at 100 paces, you are a petrolhead. Here are some places to find like-minded people:

Shakespeare County Raceway

Every August, the Shakespeare County Raceway, near the quiet little town of Stratford-upon-Avon, hosts tens of thousands of bikers for the four-day Bulldog Bash.

The list of what happens at the festival sounds like a chemical formula for testosterone: Hard rock, beer, drag races, stunt riding, exotic dancers, wrestling, the wall of death, a strongman competition and a ‘Run wot you Brung’ time trial. (Actually the chemical formula is C19H28O2. Sorry for any confusion.)

The Isle of Man

Every spring, the Isle of Man’s main roads are closed for one of the oldest motorbike races in the world, The Manx TT. The best riders get round the 37-mile route at an average speed of 120mph, and one racer averaged 130mph for a lap in 2007.

As if to tempt foolish civilians to try something similar, certain roads on the island have no speed limits. This may be why Jeremy Clarkson has a house there.

Racetracks nationwide

If you’re the kind of person who still gets a little thrill from taking your Toyota Yaris up to 75 on the motorway, you really need to try one of those supercar driving days. They involve doing laps of a racetrack in ridiculously high-powered cars – Ferraris, Lamborghinis, Porsches, and loads more.

Bentley Wildfowl and Motor Museum

Though there are 125 species of wildfowl at Bentley (near Uckfield), the real attraction is the motor museum, which has an Alldays and Onions car from 1909, a 1987 Lamborghini Countach with doors that open vertically, and a Derby Bentley from 1935.

It’s less than three miles from the Lavender Line, which runs real steam trains for a few days each month, that’s not too far from the Brighton seafront, where you can ride the Volks electric railway. Built in 1883, it was the world’s first public electric railway.

Dunsfold Aerodrome, Surrey

Top Gear is filmed here on Wednesdays from 2pm till around seven. If you want to be one of the lucky few who experiences Jeremy Clarkson’s semi-offensive ramblings as they happen, check the BBC website for details on how to get tickets.

The M25

The M25 is often referred to as Britain’s biggest car park, though it is not a car park at all – quite the opposite – it’s illegal to leave your car parked on the M25. Britain’s biggest car park is actually the Sheerness dock in Kent, where imported cars are stored.

The M25 was opened on October 29, 1986, and is 117 miles long. Rumour has it that some people have driven the whole way round it in an hour. The M25’s fastest speeder was caught by police in 1992. He was doing 147mph, and lost his license. At the other extreme, fog caused a 37-mile long traffic jam between junctions 1 and 9 in 1995.

Image sources:

http://www.flickr.com/photos/mccaffrey_uk/3208129302/sizes/l/in/photostream/

http://www.flickr.com/photos/nampara/2976953499/sizes/l/in/photostream/