A SLIGHT drizzle and the spray of sparkling wine failed to put a dampener on the ninth Soap Box Derby in Brackley last weekend.
Brain child of former town councillor Peter Stocker, the event has gone from strength to strength. For the first time the organisers received permission to shut off the whole High Street, allowing spectators to stand on both sides of the track, bringing more people closer to the action.
Carts are sent down the High Street by a specially built ramp and the fastest carts reach top speeds of 15mph. Some have breaks, but some must rely on a pile of cardboard boxes to stop them.
Competitors in the two classes, under 15s and adults, carry out three timed runs and the team with the lowest combined time is declared the winner.
Top in the adult class was Joseph Borg and Team Force India; second Chris Atkins with Crosby Composites, and third Nicola Snow for Brackley Gossip Girls.
In the under 15s Jack Chambers Young won with Team Jackchick; second was Andrew Tiller with Team Velocity, and Josh McMillan was third with Dave’s Fan Club.
Martin Turbayne and Alex Blanchard of team Caddy Shack, who modified a cart previously entered by the Greyhound Pub, received the trophy for the best decorated cart. Both admitted being embarrassed by the award and said others put a great deal of work into their cart.
Martin said: “It’s a bit fun and it’s about taking part and having a laugh. It is the only place in the whole area that does anything like this and it gets people out. But it takes a lot of organising and there are a lot of people out at stupid o’clock to make the High Street ready.”
Alex added: “It’s great. Everyone has a chance at the end of the day – everyone’s just got four wheels with a bit of wood on top.”
Describing the sensation of hurtling down the High Street driver Martin added: “It’s sheer panic as you go off the ramp the first time. It’s alright second, third time but it’s sheer panic the first time hoping it all stays together. And it does feel fast until you get to the bottom, then stopping is the issue.”
Brackley Mayor Theodora Hayward said: “It’s been wonderful, marvellous.
“I think the soap box has proved itself. It’s now in its ninth year and I think on the strength of that they had the backing and support to close the High Street. I think most of the town is very pleased.”
>> Visit www.buckinghamtoday.co.uk for our video of the Soap Box Derby.