Top Gear

star Jeremy Clarkson has apologised to fans and news crews who were left disappointed after travelling to 90 Mile Beach to see him.

A few hardy fans of the hit BBC series camped out on the beach all day yesterday in the hope of seeing Clarkson and his co-stars.

However, by the end of the day there was no sign of a vehicle or the Top Gear stars.


Clarkson said sorry to those left disappointed in a tweet sent just before midday today.

"Apologies to people and news crews who had a wasted journey to 90 mile beach. We were there but only briefly," he said.

He earlier apologised directly to Jovica Mrkela, who said he had driven from Auckland to the beach with his nine-year-old son in the hope of meeting Clarkson.

"Would you apologise to him. As usual, the media made stuff up about what we are doing here."

Clarkson went on to tweet an image of him reading the Northland Age's story about the tension between the Far North District Council and local iwi over the Top Gear filming.

"I'd like to correct one report though. The Top Gear crew are not "less than friendly. They are terrifying."

Top Gear was on 90 Mile Beach filming a road versus water race for an upcoming series of the show.

It is understood Clarkson was behind the wheel of a red Toyota Corolla hatchback seen zooming along the beach in a race to the Far North, while fellow host James May, on the America's Cup yacht Oracle, raced from the Coromandel Peninsula to the same destination.

They returned to the beach yesterday to do extra filming from a helicopter.

Some locals managed to get close to the action.

Ngati Kuri kaumatua Pineaha Murray told One News: "We had to hide ourselves because we couldn't be seen to be in the environment. So we were hiding there making out that we weren't there," he laughed.

Mr Murray was given the task of finishing the race with a blessing.

Local business owner Rose Spicer said she and husband David - who run the local sand surf business Ahikaa Adventures - saw a bit of the big race.

"We went down the Ninety Mile Beach, just for a walk and stuff, and on our way up from Scott Point we saw some lights flashing [and] a couple of cars came zooming round the corner and disappeared quick as," Mrs Spicer said.

"We sort of knew what it was."

A number of other locals were hesitant to give details of Tuesday's race or anything to do with the TV crew.

Graeme Neho, chairman of the Muriwhenua group of northern iwi, said he could not talk to the media because it was "Top Gear's story".

Ngati Kuri Trust Board chairman Harry Burkhardt said he could speak about Top Gear only after the crew had left the country.