Getting the three protagonists in our ultimate drag race together – an Ariel Atom V8, BMW HP4 superbike and Citroën’s Monster Energy DS3 rallycross car – was a hard-enough thing to organise in itself.
But to then get the correct rider for the bike (because you need to be more than tasty to get the most out of an HP4) and to find a window in rallycross driver Liam Doran’s busy mid-season schedule were also quite high hurdles to overcome.
A couple of weeks ago the stars aligned, and that morning I woke up with a proper set of heebie-jeebies in my stomach. And then, as you may have seen if you’ve already watched the video, it rained. And there was precisely nothing that any of us could do about that.
At which point we had to make a decision; abandon ship and come back on another day, or roll the dice and see what occurs?
In the end we went for option two and came away with what I’d hope you still feel is a reasonably entertaining video to watch. But for those of you who think we were silly or just plain wrong to conduct an event like this in the rain, two things to bear in mind.
One, we will most definitely try and do something like this again a little later in the year, when the British weather is a touch more predictable.
Two, watching Chris Northover teeter on the edge of oblivion on the HP4 in the soaking rain while making it look so ridiculously easy was, for me, something that is well worth watching, over and over again.
As for the Citroën DS3, looking across and watching that thing launch itself down the runway in the rain, from behind the wheel of an Atom V8 that was slithering all over the road, is one of the most incredible things I’ve seen in a very long time indeed.
But before you dismiss the Atom completely, take a look at the video and more specifically at the performance figures that appear right at the very end.
This comparative data was recorded earlier in the day when it was a bit less wet – and as you’ll see, the Atom was actually traveling faster than the rallycross car as it crossed the line at the quarter mile. So although it came third in the damp, in the dry it would have been – and hopefully will be – a much closer contest.
As they say, watch this space. And in the meantime, take a look at what that HP4 can do, and then weep!