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Thursday, 31 October, 2002, 18:25 GMT
Biker banned days after TV gaffe
Jeremy Clarkson
Clarkson is known for his love of fast cars
A motorcyclist caught speeding at 137mph has been banned in the week Top Gear presenter Jeremy Clarkson encouraged motorists to have fun on Welsh roads.

Ross Curwell was banned by Flintshire magistrates from driving for a year after admitting dangerous driving on a road at Treuddyn between Mold and Corwen, in north Wales.

The 38-year-old hairdresser was caught during North Wales Police's Arrive Alive campaign last July.

Horseshoe Pass, North East Wales
The beautiful scenery of north Wales

North Wales Police have denied that since Clarkson's gaffe on the programme - heard by millions of viewers - there has been a clampdown on motorists.

The BBC Two presenter prompted a backlash when he said Wales was best to test drive cars because "no-one wants to live there".

On another occasion, Clarkson snipped Wales off a map and stuffed it in a microwave.

Clwyd West AM Alun Pugh has written to BBC director general Greg Dyke to complain about the presenter's comments.

A BBC spokesman said that suggestions Clarkson had encouraged speeding were "nonsense".

His latest comments follow a rap on the knuckles four years ago for "bigotted and racist" remarks at the Birmingham Motor Show, in which he said Korean staff from Hyundai UK had eaten dogs.

Last year, the BBC received complaints from politicians over comments by Weakest Link presenter Anne Robinson, in which she said the Welsh were "irritating".

North Wales Police sent officers to interview Mr Dyke about the incident after a separate complaint about alleged racism by Ms Robinson was made.

In relation to its anti-speeding campaign, the force said it intended to make roads in the region safer, but the force has denied carrying out a purge on motorists.


I made a mistake and now I have to do the hours

Ross Curwell, motorcyclist

Curwell admitted the record speeding incident on the A5104 was a "moment of madness" on his part.

The defendant's Kawasaki 1200cc bike had been fitted with a speed limiter, restricting it to 178mph, the court was told.

In addition to his ban, Curwell, of Edward Street, Cheshire, was ordered to carry out 100 hours unpaid work under a community punishment order, supervised by the probation service.

Prosecutor Huw Evans said he was concerned Mr Evans was caught speeding at a crossroads after overtaking two other motorcyclists.

'Moment of madness'

He will also have to take an extended driving test before being allowed to drive again.

"I made a mistake and now I have to do the hours," said Mr Curwell.

Chris Johnson, defending, said his client admitted his actions were not those of a competent motorist.

"This was a moment of madness.


People who are prepared to take such risks will be penalised

CH Supt Gwynn Vaughan Jones, North Wales Police

"With hindsight he realises that it was silly to allow himself to get carried away like that," Mr Johnson explained.

Following the case, Chief Superintendent Gwynn Vaughan Jones, head of North Wales Police's operation support division, which includes road policing, said he welcomed the court's decision.

"The court's decision clearly shows that people who are prepared to take such risks will be penalised, not only by fines but by other sanctions as well," he said.


More from north east Wales
See also:

08 Aug 01 | Entertainment
13 Mar 00 | Entertainment
09 Nov 99 | Politics
22 Jan 99 | Entertainment
26 Oct 98 | Entertainment
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