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Full name: Richard Mark Hammond
Date of birth: 19 December 1969
Place of birth: Shirley, Solihull, England
Spouse: Amanda Hammond
Children: Isabella, Willow
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Richard Hammond was born in the English town of Solihull to Eileen and Alan Hammond in 1969. Nowadays, he’s most well known for his TV work presenting shows like The Grand Tour on Amazon Prime and previously Top Gear (2002-2015) on the BBC. He’s also presented Brainiac: Science Abuse (2003–2008), Total Wipeout (2009–2012) and Planet Earth Live (2012), and has a rich history in journalism and writing, also.
In 2016 he started a company called DRIVETRIBE alongside his co-hosts, Jeremy Clarkson and James May. It describes itself as an ‘automotive enthusiast social media’ and has quickly become a leader in the industry.
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Richard was born to Eileen and Alan Hammond in 1969. It was at this time they lived in Solihull, which is very close to Birmingham and close to Richard’s grandparents who worked in the Birmingham automotive industry. Here, he attended Blossomfield Infant School in Shirley and Solihull School.
In the mid-80s, he and his family moved to Ripon where he attended Ripon Grammar School. He got ‘booted out’ of the Grammar school so started to attend Harrogate College of Art and Technology instead where he stayed there for two years.
For the next ten years he supported himself by presenting radio shows, but everything changed once he’d interviewed a motoring correspondent on Radio Lancashire. He knew at this point he wanted to mix these two parts of his life: motoring, and broadcast. He soon gave up his job and got himself a job in TV doing what he could.
On hearing about auditions that were taking place for a reboot of the popular motoring show, Top Gear, he managed to get one. But months went by and he hadn’t heard a thing until one morning when he got a call to tell him he’d got the position as a Top Gear presenter. He was in tears and had to ring back asking “did you mean me? Richard Hammond, the short bloke?”
The show started in 2002 with Jeremy Clarkson and Jason Dawe alongside Hammond and it soon became a hit culminating millions of views each episode. You can view Richard Hammond’s first ever appearance on Top Gear above.
Andy Wilman, Top Gear’s producer, let it slip that Hammond’s contract for Series 2 was nearly not renewed after the leaving of Jason Dawe, but thankfully, Hammond stayed on and swiftly became a necessary cog of the Top Gear machine.
Best/Funniest Moments Of His Career
We have to start with Hammond’s own Opel Kaddett which he acquired during Top Gear’s Botswana Special episode. He loved it so much he could ruin it and had to take it home. In fact, he still owns it to this day. the “Oliver, you’ve got a cold” line in the video above never fails to make me smile.
Whether this segment was scripted or not, it has to be one of the funniest Top Gear moments. Paul McKenna makes Richard forget how to operate a car, so he’s lift looking very puzzled at a high powered Alfa Romeo. It gets even better later in the episode as Hammond thinks a children’s Porsche 911 toy is his own and gets extremely angry with Clarkson when he rams it.
You must know that Hammond has a secret want to be an American. He loves muscle cars and camping and will wear cow boy hats unironically. For this very reason, they didn’t need to do much when they transformed the trio into their American counterparts.
All Of Hammond’s Crashes
Filming Top Gear means the boys aren’t every too far away from danger. Hammond however, has got a little too close on several occasions.
Vampire Dragster Crash
On 20 September, 2006, Hammond was seriously hurt while piloting a jet powered drag car at the RAF Elvington airfield near York. After several successful runs, he wanted to go faster so prepared for a final run of the day. During the acceleration, a front tyre exploded and the dragster veered off of the track and onto the grass where it flipped multiple times.
The dragster, which can theoretically reach speeds of up to 370mph, dug into the ground and catapulted Hammond around the cockpit. It was reported that he was drifting in and out of consciousness and suffered ‘significant brain injury’. He was put into a coma for two weeks while he healed.
Rimac Concept_One Crash
During the Season 2 filming of The Grand Tour (2017), news erupted that Hammond had crashed again. This time it was on a Swiss Hill Climb track where he’d lost control of the electric Rimac Concept_One and driven over the side. He suffered a fractured left knee and was quickly sent to the local Swiss hospital by air ambulance. The car burst into flames shortly after the crash and continued to do so days after the incident. Thankfully, he didn’t suffer any other major injuries.
Mozambique Motorcycle Crash
Again, during recording for Season 2 of The Grand Tour, Hammond fell off his motorcycle countless times and reportedly lost consciousness after hitting his head. Clarkson admitted that “he really did hurt himself quite badly.”
In 2010 Hammond gained a private pilot license in a Robinson R44 helicopter and in March 2012, passed his B206 LST helicopter license. After his Rimac accident he was told he couldn’t fly until he healed, but as of February 2018, has taken up flying again.