The day I got stranded two miles out at sea in a Tesla Model 3
When professional drivers aren't professional
I'll put this out there up front – if DriveTribe CEO Jonathan Morris reads this, he'll either fire me or add it to his never-ending list of quips about me never doing a proper day's work in my life.
I'm not sure it was ever meant to be a serious press trip. Ice driving events don't usually teach you much about a car other than how slippery it feels on ice (duh), and when the invite in your email inbox is from Honda, you have to wonder how much there is to be learned by hooning front-wheel-drive Civics on a bit of frozen sea.
Anyway, I'm nothing if not curious, so I signed up and jetted off for three days in the Arctic Circle with six other journalists (including one Rachael Hogg in her previous life at Auto Trader).
My room. This job is a bit crap at times, honest. In the distance you can see the sea where the Model 3 action occurred
After checking into my humble hotel room (see above), I joined the PR team and other journos for a brisk four-hour snowmobile safari, during which only two members of the group rolled their snowmobiles in the forests near Kemi.
With this relevant and arduous testing of Honda products done (the snowmobiles weren't actually Honda-powered, now I think of it… oh well), we went to a nearby teepee to pet a fluffy cute reindeer before going inside to eat a thinly sliced reindeer.
I'll show you the fluffy one outside the teepee rather than the carpaccio one we met minutes later
The sun rose on day two, setting ablaze the glistening frozen sea – but the eery silence over the ice was soon split by the muted thrum of 1.0-litre Civics struggling to get sideways on the icy surface. Some quick googling revealed the Konami-like cheat code you have to enter using the centre-console buttons to fully disable all the stability control systems.
From that point on, the day progressed predictably, with journalists being egged on by pro drivers to get the Civics properly sideways. We soon realised that the Type R on studded tyres wasn't as fun as the 1.0-litre cars on winters. Cutting-edge insight, I'm sure you'll agree.
This was the proper work that necessitated a trip to Finland
As the sun dipped below the horizon and the sensible ones headed inside to warm up, Rachael Hogg and I hung about a bit to get some photos – at which point one of the pro drivers from earlier in the day turned up with a (then new-and-exciting) Tesla Model 3. He asked if Rachael and I wanted a couple of quick passenger laps around one of the ice-driving courses.
Sadly for the pro-driver, the surface of the track he used was polished shinier than my head after a KFC Family Bucket session, and after 10 minutes of getting a bit sideways then blaming the car's stability systems for not getting it as sideways as he'd ideally like, he stuffed the Model 3 unceremoniously into the foot-deep snow at the edge of the track.
"Sh*t, b*ll*cks, I'm not even meant to be driving this. My boss is going to kill me." As the now very flustered driver called said employer, Rachael and I thoughtfully stood by, taking photos of the beached Musk-mobile. We'd have felt a shred of sympathy for the driver if he'd not proved to be such a cocky gobshite over the previous couple of days.
His boss thoughtfully sent out a Honda to rescue the far-too-sober-for-this-time-of-evening journalists, and then despatched another car to rescue the Tesla. And thus, Hogg and I probably became the first journalists to get stuck at sea in a Tesla Model 3.
This is how little snow it takes to get a Model 3 fully stuck. Rachael walks away, her face full of sympathy
If you take anything away from this story it should be that you should always snatch an opportunity to go to the Arctic Circle, and that reindeer look nicer than they taste. Oh, and you can win a Tesla Model 3 by clicking here. Tickets are only £4.99. Buy loads, win the car, don't get it stuck on the sea.
Sale ends 11:59 BST 04/06/21. 18+ and UK resident. Competition ends 14/06/21 at 23:59 BST. Full T&Cs are here.