Round Table Great Britain and Ireland

Coleshill Round Table Top Gear Challenge 2011

Published: Tuesday 13th September 2011

Top Gear Challenge

Inspired by the BBC TV show Top Gear a group of Stig wannabies from Coleshill Round Table decided to put on a series of their own motoring challenges.

Coleshill Roundtable wanted to conduct a “consumer test” to identify the durability, speed and agility of a selection of cars from the late 1990’s whilst undertaking off road tasks. This handy test will inform Farmers and those living in the countryside as to which low cost car to buy.

Teams were selected out of the hat during a visit to Tap End brewery back in May and given the first challenge of finding a car for as little money as possible. A few months later and after some very dodgy deals 4 battered cars and their respective teams turned up for the challenge evening

Enter the arena a battered Renault Clio, a VW Polo (with more than 1 hole), a sorry looking Ford Mondeo and a knackered Landrover Discovery. Not surprisingly none of the teams paid more than £100 for their cars. Whilst the cars were lining up for the first challenges there was some speculation as to whether any of them would make it through the evening. Many felt the Discovery had the upper hand.
So with clipboards in hand the teams headed out to conduct 6 carefully planned scientific tests which comprised of:

  • Egg and Spoon race: Each team completed a slalom style course with an egg balanced on a spoon. The spoon was fixed to a magnetic clamp which in turn was positioned on the bonnet. Team 2 in the Clio completed this in the shortest time without breaking the egg.
  • Blind Driving: Each team completed a slalom style course with their appointed driver blindfolded. Other members were given the simple job of providing directions, but in case of team 3 in the Mondeo the teamwork failed almost instantly and the car ended up buried in a large bale. Team 2 again somehow won this in the Clio.
  • Parallel Parking: A simple test of driver skill, teams were tasked with parking their car within 2 spaced out bales. A time penalty was given for every manoeuvre executed by the driver with instant disqualification if either bale was hit. Again team 2 in the Clio won this challenge.
  • Rear Wheel Time Trial: A test of each team’s ability to remove the rear nearside wheel in the shortest time. Team 1 in the VW Polo won this one hands down. 
  • 3 Wheel Slalom: Following on from the rear wheel time trial each team then went on to complete the slalom course minus the rear wheel. The team who managed to get their car the furthest without the axle hitting the ground and in the shortest time won the challenge. Again team 2 in the Clio won this, although there was some suggestion the team comprised of heavier “ballast” than the other teams. Team 4 in the Discovery had problems with the independent rear suspension dropping the axle onto the ground, this coupled weight of the vehicle made it impossible to balance on 3 wheels for any length of time.
  • Crazy Taxi: This was perhaps the most fun challenge. Each team had to complete a lap of the field (around 13 acres in size) dropping a member of the team off at 4 points along the lap. On the second lap the drivers swapped over at each point which involved some pretty scary driving! On the final lap the last driver of lap 3 stayed in the car and picked up all the team members. Team 3 in the Mondeo won this, helped by the 4 doors, 1.6 litre engine and the crazy driving of the first and last lap drivers. Team 4 in the Discovery were slowed down by one of the team members exiting through the passenger window Dukes of Hazard style.

The final scores were:

  • Team 2 in the Renault Clio: First with 15 points
  • Team 3 in the Ford Mondeo: 2nd with 11 points
  • Team 1 in the VW Polo:  3rd with 9 points
  • Team 4 in the Landrover Discovery: 4th with 1 point

In the end the cars survived, if not more battered than at the start with missing mirrors, dents and burnt out clutches. The remainder of the evening was taken up by driving the cars around the lap at increasingly entertaining speeds in the dark. One of the team members decided to do the lap in reverse. The fun came to an end when the fish and chips and a beer keg arrived.
So to summarise, the consumer test concluded that:

  • For sheer speed and comfort whilst tearing over a furrowed field (Crazy Taxi style) go for the Mondeo, please remember to disable the airbag first!
  • Should you ever need to drive on 3 wheels then the Renault Clio wins hands down
  • For those wishing to carry eggs then, according to our test its the Clio again
  • For speedy rear wheel removal  and parallel parking, it’s the VW Polo
  • For driving blindfolded we concluded that it’s down team work not the car. The basic ability of the team to know left from right whilst guiding their blinded driver is the critical factor

But most surprisingly the test concluded that Farmers and Country folk shouldn’t buy a Landrover Discovery!!

And on that bombshell....

See all the photos from the night in our gallery

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