A TopGear Christmas or How I Learned to Love Cities of the Underworld
It would be safe for you all to assume that the majority of my imagination is occupied by automotive obsession. It often manifests in some way, shape or form in everything that I do… at least in my head that is.
I’m not claiming to have invented or discovered the next evolution in motorsports. I am, however, the first one I know of (which is based on literally no research whatsoever) the first to write a blog post most likely viewed by no-one about it.
Christmas 2010 marks many firsts for me. My first Christmas as a married man. My first Christmas in Germany. My first Christmas watching the December 26th broadcast of the TopGear Christmas Special.
While all of those are important, arguably the first more than any other, for the purpose of this article let us focus on the last one.
I recall the Middle East special more than perhaps any other short of the Florida Road Trip. I honestly laughed till I cried and since then that particular special has fallen in line with other Christmas themed movies in my household:
- Frosty, check
- Rudolph, check
- Polar Express, check
- TopGear Middle East Special, check.
Perhaps it was the laughing till I cried that I missed the awesomeness of the concept initially. Perhaps I was blinded by all the awesome toys I got that year. Regardless of why I missed it is negligible to the fact that I have now rediscovered it.
It being Circus Maximus.
The realization came as I watched a re-run of History channels mega-hit Cities of the Underworld. In fact this was the very first episode ever of the show. They were exploring Istanbul… some may know it used to be Constantinople. It’s been a long time gone, Constantinople that is. Why did Constantinople get the works? Well it said that is nobody’s business but the Turks.
When Emperor Constantine moved the capital of the Holy Roman Empire from Rome to Constantinople – now Istanbul – he built a hippodrome to rival Circus Maximus in Rome. Then Rome fell and the Western Roman Empire crumbled… way to go Constantine.
ANYWAY… Circus Maximus, the most famous of all hippodromes (that fact is unverified) was where all the Romans, when in Rome, would attend chariot races. If you haven’t linked up where Autosport Evolution is going then you may want to stop reading or just move onto the next sentence. The next step is modern day chariot races as displayed by the former TopGear trio in the December month of 2010.
Many of you may be thinking it would just be a group of cars turning left in a circle and we already have that. You are correct, we do already have that and it is Shake and Bake awesome. This would be different. Dirt track, flat not banked and not in dirt track cars. I’m talking modern day chariot racing. Open cockpit roadsters, with a bump and roll cage and dirt in your face. Tight corners, bumping, bashing and smashing.
I’m not advocating in any way, shape or form replacing NASCAR, dirt track racing or a destruction derby with Autospot Evolution just using it as another step forward. Imagine the raw, visceral action of open top roadsters barreling a half mile into a sharp turn and back again.
Amazing to think something so awesome, just waiting to be rediscovered, existed as far back as the Greek civilization of Mycenaen. First described by Homer in the Iliad.
Coming soon to a hippodrome near you and sponsored by Budweiser… the king of beers