Daredevils take to the road for Brackley’s Soapbox Derby

The crowds ignored Sunday’s showers to line Brackley High Street for the town’s 11th 
annual Soapbox Derby.

Thirty-four drivers steered their colourful carts down a sloped street track, attempting to set winning times in a series of three heats.

MHBG-20-06-13 Brackley Soapbox Derby ''Pictured: Tim Lewton in Aus Mania

MHBG-20-06-13 Brackley Soapbox Derby ''Pictured: Tim Lewton in Aus Mania

Bernie Tiller, of the six-strong organising committee, said the fun spirit of the event keeps the crowds and competitors coming back year after year.

He said: “I just think it’s a fun event and the people who organise it and come to it absolutely love it.”

The event has become part of the town’s tradition and spans family generations.

Mr Tiller said: “People have grown up taking part in it and even their children are racing now.”

Competitors are asked to build their carts to a set size from wooden materials with wheel sizes also limited.

The derby started life 11 years ago when the then town mayor decided to set it up to celebrate his birthday.

Local businesses sponsor the event and entrance fees and profits go to charity; Katharine House Hospice selected as this year’s beneficiary.

Competitors and their families came from all over the UK to take part.

Jenny Wapshott brought her three children along from Weymouth to support her husband Jamie, who has a sister living in Brackley and who decided to enter the race at the last minute.

“We’re having a great time and we’re obviously really excited for their dad,” said Mrs Wapshott.

“It seems like a nice local event and a good sense of community.”

Sam Walker scooped the under-15’s category title in his kart Wacky Walkers II with Alexander Littlewood on AJL Mark II and Curtis 
Bass-Twitchell on Hot Rod coming second and third respectively.

The over-15s trophy was scooped by last year’s winner Doug Peel Yates with his kart Dunn Thinking. Bilal Gilgil came second on Jenny’s Cafe and Peter Wellend scooped third prize riding Borden Rocket.

The trophies were presented by veteran professional racing driver Barry ‘Whizzo’ Williams and were sponsored by the Mercedes AMG Petronas F1 team.