Getting into Top Gear with my bypass gripes


Write Away by Sara Harris (Leighton Buzzard Writers regular LBO column)...

Has Jeremy Clarkson ever visited Leighton Buzzard? The jeans-wearing curly-haired Top Gear-fronting stick insect probably hasn’t...but he should.

Last time I watched him on TV, he was driving across a rutted dirt road in Africa punctuated with potholes, shouting “pothole, pothole, pothole, BIG ONE!” as the car bounced and lurched its way across a road that had clearly never seen tarmac.

This has given me and the Small Harris a handy new catchphrase for our trips up the new section of the bypass. It is now almost impossible to drive safely in the left-hand lane towards Milton Keynes, because of the enormous and proliferating potholes.

I know they cannot be fixed in winter, but some of these potholes have been there since last winter, and are getting frankly dangerous.

The ‘big one’ is right at the top of the dual carriageway, just as you approach the roundabout. I saw the rear bumper of a Nissan Micra sticking out of it last week with the rest of the car halfway to New Zealand...okay that’s not exactly true but it isn’t far off.

The last time I saw a surface with so many fissures and craters, Neil Armstrong was parking on it.

The Top Gear team specialises in driving shoddy vehicles across terrible terrain.

The Wing-Milton Keynes stretch of the A4146 seems ideal for their next adventure.

Richard Hammond can steer a penny-farthing around the cracks and crumbling road edges.

James May can construct some sort of conveyance out of a skateboard and two fire-extinguishers and wonder why he isn’t going anywhere.

And Jeremy Clarkson can commandeer a Latvian HGV and drive up the road eight feet from the rear bumper of the car in front, bouncing over the disintegrating tarmac and shouting “pothole, pothole, pothole, BIG ONE!” with glee.

Having said that, though, I wouldn’t watch it

It would be far too reminiscent of my daily commute, in almost every detail (except that sometimes the HGVs are Lithuanian, rather than Latvian).

Eventually there is going to be a nasty accident as a direct result of one of these huge potholes.

And on that note, it’s time to go!