• Today
    November 21

  • 04:57 PM

At full throttle

Randy Bennett,

Added 18 May 2014

051814topgear758

Who could have possibly outshone Barbadian international recording artiste Shontelle touching down in a two-seater plane for the opening ceremony of the Top Gear Festival at Bushy Park yesterday? And who else could have overshadowed a stirring and nerve-tingling rendition of the National Anthem by 12-year-old Joshua Maloney, who earned a standing ovation from the estimated 15 000 sell-out crowd on hand? Why, Lewis Hamilton, of course. The 29-year-old 2008 Formula One champion expectedly stole the show in his Mercedes AMG Petronas racing car during the opening day. By the time Hamilton emerged on the track at midday in his green, silver and black speed machine, everyone at Bushy Park was already on their feet. And it took only a few seconds before he got their roar of approval as he noisily sped off for 20-minute run. But the real thriller came when Hamilton returned to the track just after 2 p.m. Sounding louder and driving more aggressively, the current Formula One points leader teamed up with Global Rallycross Championship driver Ken Block to bring the house down. One memorable moment saw both drivers thrill the crowd as they performed donuts simultaneously, side by side, after passing the chequered flag, sending patrons into a frenzy. Afterwards, Hamilton then gave hundreds of adoring fans a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity by taking part in an autograph-signing session. Earlier, spectators were treated to an entertaining entry by Shontelle, who landed at the venue shortly before the opening ceremony. Young Maloney, a student of Harrison College who plays seven musical instruments, then wowed those on hand with a performance that belied his age, albeit a slight hiccup, with the microphone cutting out during his last verse. However, that didn’t dampen the festive mood permeating the venue as the drifters took over the track to officially start the day’s proceedings.

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