A father whose son died after a speeding car crashed into his has slated Jeremy Clarkson after he claimed to have driven at 186mph on a public road.

The Top Gear presenter said he reached the speed while driving in a Bugatti Veyron on the Limehouse Link between central London and Docklands. The comments were made to a journalist in front of an audience at the Hay-on-Wye literary festival.

When she asked him about driving the car, Clarkson said: “I got a great speeding ticket. I think it was 186 in the Limehouse Link. Well, somebody did. Obviously it might not have been me.” When asked to clarify it, he replied: “No, no – there’s too many hacks in here to go any deeper into that.”

Later, when asked the fastest he’d ever driven, he said: “On a public road? 186mph.”

The comments were condemned by Steve Mohabir, the only survivor of a two-car collision which killed eight. Among the fatalities in the crash near Brighton in May 2004 was his two-year-old son and two close friends.

A speeding BMW crossed the central reservation and smashed into their vehicle. All five people in the BMW were killed.

He said: “It’s a real disgrace that somebody with such a public appearance cannot do something to make the roads safer for other people. It’s a case of bragging and boasting and it’s just like something a boy racer would do.”

A road safety charity called on the BBC to sack Clarkson. Mary Williams, Brake’s chief executive, said Clarkson was ‘extremely offensive and irresponsible’ and called him ‘the most appalling role model’.

She added: “The BBC should sack him; he is totally out of control.”

A BBC spokeswoman said Clarkson had ‘not made the remark in response to a direct question’.