Top Gear series to film at Northland beach

NICOLE PRYOR
Last updated 11:14 07/03/2013
Fairfax NZ

Top Gear is set to touch down in Northland next week as they send a 'supersonic' car down 90 Mile Beach

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A "supersonic" car is set to speed over Northland’s 90 Mile Beach next week, as part of BBC series Top Gear.

The broadcasters asked for the whole stretch of beach to be on shut-down from midday to 5pm each day from March 11 to 17, weather dependent, to film the drive.

Every access, from West Coast road, which is just west of Kaitaia, to Te Paki Stream in Cape Reinga, would be closed off.

The Far North District Council said once the road closure is in effect, people who arrived on the beach unexpectedly would be told to stop until the car had safely driven past.

Spokesman for Far North District Council Rick McCall said the filming would take less than one hour, and was planned for midday Tuesday.

"The film company’s intention is to film a high speed vehicle chase, or race, or something or rather, on the beach," he said.

"The filming of the sequence will take about 45 minutes. It will be taken sequentially across the beach, so divided into about four sections."

The following day was set aside for some general filming on the beach, he said.

Though the BBC was trying to avoid big crowds, McCall said there would probably be some "rubber-necking" when the beach reopened.

McCall said he did not know what type of car Top Gear planned to drive on the beach.

In January, during an interview with AAP, James May let slip that he and co-hosts Jeremy Clarkson and Richard Hammond would be skipping the ditch when they toured to Australia for the Top Gear Festival in Sydney on March 9 and 10.

Three Auckland dogs famous for their car-driving skills would also make an appearance on the show.

SPCA chief executive Christine Kalin confirmed the organisation had received an email from Top Gear producers at the beginning of the year.

In December last year, the three dogs Porter, Ginny and Monty, which had been rescued by the SPCA, had international audiences tuning in to see them perform a world first – driving unaided around a race track, live on national television.

The trio of misfit mutts from the Auckland SPCA successfully put their paws in the 10-to-two position on the steering wheel and drove a Mini Countryman solo down a race track in Auckland.

The feat made headlines with the BBC, the New York Daily News, the New York Times, The Guardian and the Daily Mail, and science blogs from international journals Live Science and the Smithsonian.

It won't be the first time BBC has brought the Top Gear team to New Zealand. The live show last travelled to Auckland in 2009.

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