Richard Hammond Goes Ham-Wild in a Tank…How Do I Get His Job???

Richard Hammond of BBC’s Top Gear fame has crossed the pond.  And, if his new show on BBC America, Richard Hammond’s Crash Course, is any indication, he made the crossing on a USMC hovercraft. As if being the host on the world’s most popular car show and getting to drive the greatest cars in the world or drag race a Bugatti Veyron against a Euro Fighter Jet isn’t enough, he has to come to the US and play with some big-ass toys.

The premise of Crash Course is simple, Hamster has three days to learn and master the largest and most complicated vehicles the country has to offer.  In the first episode, which premiered last Sunday, Hammond learned and mastered (OK, maybe not mastered, but learned, at least) the ins-and-outs of driving, shooting and commanding an Abrams M1A2 Main Battle Tank with the US Army Tankers in Fort Bliss, El Paso, Texas. 

Richard Hammond with his M1A2 Abrams Main Battle Tank

First off, let me just say that the soldiers who really do master and operate this machine all over the world are truly hardcore.  It is one bad-ass machine operated by best the US Army has to offer.  The fact that they let Hammond behind the wheel, and worse yet, at the trigger of the 120 mm main gun is more than a little scary.  At least it wasn’t Jeremy Clarkson.  

Throughout the show, Hammond was put through his paces first in simulators, then in the real thing.  The episode culminated in Hammond taking a customized version of the Army’s qualification test in the position of Gunner, Driver and Tank Commander.  To make it a bit more Hamster-ish, there is plenty of Porsche 928, Ford Mustang and Mini Van destruction with the latter making me a bit happy.  Anytime a Mini Van is destroyed, somewhere and angel gets its wings.  

All in all, the show is a lot of fun.  Richard Hammond displays the same combination of affability and humor as he does on Top Gear and the show has the same self-deprecating feel.  I can’t wait to see more.  Its worth checking out.  

Richard Hammond’s Crash Course airs Monday nights at 10/9c on BBC America.  Episode 2, lumberjack Hammond in a Tree Harvester.  The only thing safe in the forest will be the trees.  

Author: Nick Glasnovich

Founder & Executive Editor of

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