Following the success of the Billericay Soap Box Derby in 2016 which had 5000 attendees, the Rotary Club of Billericay decided unanimously to host another this year!
Soap Boxes, for those of you that don’t know, are basically gravity powered go-karts. At events such as the Red Bull Soap Box Derby and countless other local events across the United States where soap box racing seems to be most prevalent, contestants are judged on the speed of which they complete the course and the look of their kart. In Billericay we wanted to keep the emphasise on the fun side of the derby so teams were judged on their karts and the applause of the audience. There was also a judged pre-run performance which saw teams acting out little scenarios and even one team of horses and a Native American Indian dancing to The Sugarhill Gang’s Jump On It before pushing their wagon down the ramp!
The imagination brought to the event by the teams was once again amazing. There were a couple of similar karts but Only Fools and Horses is such a popular show in this part of the world I would be gutted if that little Robin Reliant didn’t get recreated!
There were a couple of other TV and film cameos including:
The DeLorean from Back to the Future.
This is Billericay Rotary Club’s own entry based off of Thunderbird 1.
My favourite, the rare cab from The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air!
I was also pleasantly surprised to see how many people had replicated Nissan’s R33 Skyline! (boat joke)
There were a few karts that were made to look like full size cars too! Here we have a replica of the ‘South Eastern Vintage & Classic Vehicle Club’s Morris Minor van. More of that later!
Here we have Carriann’s Nails replica of the company Smart Car. Sort of off topic but Smart Car’s are definitely a under-rated platform to build on, there are some people doing some crazy stuff with them out there and I hope they get more popular!
Up next we have a little ice cream van. This isn’t supposed to be based on any particular type of van but the attention to detail around the windows and such makes it look so cool!
Next up is the Soapicorn, based loosely off of Ken Block’s Hoonicorn. I know we’ve all seen the videos but I got to have a good look around the real one at places. Such an incredible piece of engineering! Anyway, I love the super wide arches on this soap box.
Finally we have this incredible little replica of a VW camper van. It’s sitting on a gokart repair stand at the moment, it’s not really this high. The launch performance for this one was great; it wouldn’t start so they try to fix it and then push it down the hill haha! I can relate.
As you can see the kart next to it looks like a camera lens. Basing the karts off of objects seemed to be the other big theme. Here we have a lawn mower complete with person pushing it.
This entry was from Mayflower High School and was of one of their student planners. We used to have these ring bound ones at Billericay and they were horrible lol! We used to have our lesson plans in them and used them to write homework in. It brought back memories seeing this haha!
The last was a ‘snap off’ tool box. If a box that size was genuine snap on that would be worth more than every car I’ve owned in the past four years put together haha!
There were a couple of other cool ones that I couldn’t really think of a category for so I’m just going to image dump them here:
Now before we get to the action on track let’s have a look around some of the other things at the event.
Of course there was lots to eat and drink and a picnic area for people. There was also a little classic car show courtesy of the South Eastern Vintage & Classic Vehicle Club. They had the full size version of their Morris Minor soap box on display.
A little Morris Traveller was also keeping it company.
This little Austin was also super cool. I’d love to own a pre-war car one day. Suicide doors should definitely make a come back!
Talking of pre-war. This Buick was stunning! It’s mad how large U.S market cars are in comparison to U.K market cars even in the 1920s and 30s. (Excluding things like Bentleys and Rolls Royces because they pre-war examples of those are huge!)
This one threw me a little bit. My knowledge of MG’s isn’t what it should be considering my Dad owns two of them. When I saw this I thought it was a V8 BGT because of the bonnet bulge but something in my head was just saying ‘that isn’t right’ after a quick bit of Googling it turns out that this one is the straight six powered MGC. Super rare car and a pleasure to see!
Sitting alongside the MGC is a Reliant Scimitar. A front engined, rear wheel drive shooting brake. I’m sold.
Toomey’s and Volvo also brought some new cars out that people could buy if they wanted.
The back area also had a large screen so you could watch the runs from the pits as the trackside got so crowded last year. This was a nice touch that I really wasn’t expecting!!
The track itself is a straight down hill run on rough tarmac flanked by trees. Inflatable barriers run down either side of the track and behind that were metal barriers behind which the crowd stood.
The cars would be launched off of a big wooden ramp and there were two smaller ramps the karts had the option to jump over as they went down the track.
It was great fun to watch! I couldn’t take too many photos on track as it was super busy, which is a good thing, I’d rather see people out supporting a local motorsport than be able to take good photos!
All in all I would like to congratulate the Billericay Rotary Club, the teams and the sponsors of the event on a really good fun today! Once again you all excelled yourselves and I’m looking forward to the next one in 2018!
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