The Top Gear Race to the North was an epic race organised and made by Top Gear. It involved presenters Jeremy Clarkson, Richard Hammond and James May and was aired on the 21st of June 2009 on BBC2, taking up a whole episode of Top Gear. It was a race between a Jaguar XK120 a Vincent Black Shadow motorbike and British rail steam locomotive 60163 Tornado.

The RaceEdit

The race started at London's Kings Cross railway station where the three presenters chose their transport for the race out of a hat. Clarkson got the steam train (which he didn't want), May got the classic Jaguar and Hammond got the Vincent motorbike. The race was to finish at a bar near Edinburgh's Waverly train station and would try a re-create a race to the north in post-war Britain - no motorways and no modern trains.

Hammond's motorbike broke down on a number of occasions, leaving the main race up to May and Clarkson. The race was very close for most of the way, however Clarkson's train had to stop many times for water and coal. The final champion was May as he arrived at the bar first. Clarkson finished close second and Hammond failed to finish owing to problems with the old motorbike.


Jeremy's train is a new-build example of the A1 Pacific "Peppercorn" class steam locomotives, which were all scrapped, the train was built from plans rescued from a skip when the LNER works were demolished. The train is named the "Cathedral Express".

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