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Arctic junkie

4 weeks ago

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Ben Oliver | Journalist


24 April 2024

For a thousand kilometres I’d exercised considerable and unusual self-restraint, barely waking the turbos of the thunderous 585bhp V8 in our Mercedes-AMG G63. But you don’t need a quarter of that power this far north of the Arctic Circle. Speed limits are low in Norway and the optimum speed often much lower as you drive over surfaces you’d struggle to stand on. The scenery is extraordinary but it’s easy to end up in it.

Leaving Tromsø, the world’s most northerly city, at the start of a 500-mile day of driving, I finally had the chance to stretch that engine a little. There’s a short and vanishingly rare stretch of dual carriageway on the edge of town. We were behind a slow-moving fuel tanker which was billowing salty grey slush back at us. The next opportunity to overtake might not have presented itself for 50 kilometres. So I eased onto the gas to pass, and kept on it to give the car behind me space to get past too and back in before the road reverted to single carriageway.

As if directly connected to the G’s throttle pedal, a small figure in a hi-vis jacket popped out from the snowbank at the side of the road ahead, waving a flashing red baton. I’d broken the speed limit once – once – and been caught. The police officer explained in perfect English that my 107km/h in a 90km/h zone would have been okay if I’d slowed as soon as I’d passed the truck, but I’d stayed over the limit for too long, so the fine would be £500. I thought it better not to argue, particularly when she explained that I didn’t have to pay immediately, and that if a demand came in the post it would be ‘up to me’ what I did about it. A month on and nothing has arrived.

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