Being a motor racing fan isn’t much fun when all you have is Freeview. Bar the BBC’s excellent Formula 1 coverage and the BTCC on some random ITV channel, the only other option available to motorsport addicts is to delve into the bowels of the Internet for an illicit feed which, typically, is the size of a postage stamp and has about as much clarity as mud.
As a Freeview pauper, you grab whatever is thrown on to the TV schedule that happens to feature anything with an engine that goes around in circles, such is the desperation.
So imagine my surprise when flicking through yesterday’s listings only to discover the Beeb were showing the first episode in a new documentary series called ‘Gears and Tears’ that is based on, wait for it… Formula 1… Stock Car Racing.
Yeah, you and me both. You could quite comfortably write what I know about oval racing on the underside of a petrol cap. But beggars can’t be choosers, and maybe, just maybe, Gears and Tears would help get me through the bleak summer period while F1 is enjoying a siesta?
“It’s an obsession that’s divided two rival families for 40 years,” the press release proudly states, “two racing dynasties who, every weekend, fight fiery gladiatorial showdowns in thundering purpose-built chariots designed to push the opposition off the track.”
Which is, quite frankly, a load of ol’ toot.
Okay, so Gears and Tears does indeed centre in on two families who wouldn’t look out of place on an episode of Jeremy Kyle, but apart from that, it makes the world of stock car racing seem about as glamorous as herding camels and about as much fun as choking.
Of course, I should be talking about the 700bhp machines that feature in the stock car series, rather than the families behind them, but unfortunately, Gears and Tears is really just a bog standard reality TV programme, with a vague racing connection tacked on for good measure.
The majority of the programme focuses on this supposed rivalry between the two families that has spanned more than 40 years. But Montague versus Capulets, this most certainly isn’t. The wives, who hogged their fair share of camera time, certainly liked to have a good old moan, but in practice, probably wouldn’t say boo to a goose. Surely the producers haven’t over-hyped what is the core of this documentary?
I am always up for broadening my motor racing horizons, but I don’t think Gears and Tears will go any way in promoting short circuit oval racing to the public in general. We only caught a small glimpse of just how committed the drivers and fans are in this particular branch of motor racing, something that would have been a darn sight more interesting.
Instead, it is programming of the lowest common denominator, and I’ll most likely be catching up on my beauty sleep when it’s on again next Monday evening. How about you?