Famous sportsman caught speeding

The evocatively named Ace of Spades roundabout is a bleak confluence of asphalt and road signs but for the authorities who enforce the variable speed limits on this stretch of the A3 in Surrey, the streets may as well be paved with gold.

Joe Cole yesterday joined a growing list of sportsmen and celebrities to run out of luck as they're caught zipping along a road that boasts a remarkable record in snaring the rich and famous.

The England and Liverpool football star was found guilty of driving his Audi A4 at 105mph (170km/h) in a 70mph (112.6km/h) zone on the A3 in November. He faces a driving ban and must pay £600 ($1300) in costs.

The same stretch, which bypasses Esher to its left as it winds from junction 10 of the M25 for around 30km into London, from Wisley to Wandsworth, has been the scene of several notable speeding cases in the past decade.

At the most notorious stretch, the Ace of Spades junction in Hook, where three lanes narrow down to two, the speed limit drops from 70mph to 50mph, and a speed camera lurks to catch the unwary driver.

It has issued almost 13,000 tickets in three years, which works out at nearly 12 a day.

The final straight approaching the bottleneck offers a peak of the giant arch at the Wembley Stadium. The arch is a relatively recent addition to the skyline, as are the scores of footballers' cars that cruise up and down the A3 since Chelsea moved their training ground four years ago to just off the A3 in Stoke D'Abernon near Cobham in Surrey.

Most of the current Chelsea squad, including John Terry and Didier Drogba, live in Oxshott, near the training ground, and so drive up the road for trips into London.

Others, such as Frank Lampard, and Joe Cole at the time of his offence, have chosen to stay in the city and drive down to Surrey for training.

Cole's England teammate Ashley Cole was convicted in January of speeding on a nearby section of the A3, where the speed limit is 50mph. He was banned for four months after he was caught driving his black Lamborghini Gallardo at 104mph.

The Chelsea left-back told police who arrested him that he had been trying to get away from chasing photographers. Ashley Cole denied speeding and claimed the officers' speed gun was not working properly but the argument was rejected.

Golf's Ryder Cup captain Colin Montgomerie has also been caught speeding on the A3, driving his silver Ferrari Maranello at 105mph.

- Independent

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