Week one, and The Anoraks (Geoff Turtell, Lyndon
Camidge, Marc Draper) meet the Hoselliers (Dave "Spanner" Seal, Mark "Crack"
McCracken, Karl "Sifter" Blackledge). The challenge is to build sand racers
- they have to go quickly, they have to go up and down banks, and they
can't be four-wheel driven.
The Anoraks are off-roading specialists, and think
a long way outside the box, going for a six-wheel drive buggy built from
an old car chassis with three new axles and no suspension. The team only
find two matching axles, and have to improvise with a different axle at
the front. That forces the buggy to move by skid-steering, rather than
a steering wheel. It'll corner well, but compromises on the engine mean
it might lack the oomph to get up and down hills and dips.
The Hoselliers are professional firefighters, built
their racer from a newly-minted chassis, joined by an old Honda engine
and gearbox providing two-wheel drive. The result was close to the traditional
dune buggy, with a standard steering system. It's got the oomph, but it
looks fragile and light, and the fresh chassis might work against them.
Both teams were impeded by some bizarre weather
conditions. The filming probably took place during early July, and certainly
there was drizzle and some severe hailstorms during build day. Race day
dawned slightly brighter and slightly warmer, which wasn't too difficult.
The winner would be decided by aggregate times over the three races.
Race one: a steep hill climb, incorporating a turn
part-way up. The Hoselliers went first, and made it up in just 15 seconds.
The Anoraks went at great speed up the hill, but managed to get themselves
stuck in a dip, and no suspension meant that they couldn't get out. They
were given a time of 60 seconds for failing to complete. After this race,
the Anoraks reduced the pressure in their tyres, to prevent a similar standstill.
Race two: a flat figure of eight course, which
the Hoselliers won by 48 seconds to 52. It all came down to the third race,
round an obstacle course with a flat table, some giant molehills, a deep
trench, and a couple of hairpins. The
Hoselliers went first again, but suffered a broken wishbone at the first corner. They limped on round the course (or, to be more accurate, through the edges of the course) but had to be dug out on one of the molehills, finishing with one wheel side-on The Hoselliers took about 2 minutes 15 to complete. The Anoraks had a window of opportunity, and drove at it with all guns blazing, completing some bone-shaking drops to wrap up victory by just a few seconds.
We'll see more of the Anoraks later in the series...