Billericay Soap Box Derby 2018

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2018 would be the third year of the popular Billericay Soap Box Derby and once again the Billericay Rotary Club have excelled themselves in organising and executing this fantastic event!

A soap box is a gravity powered home made race car. Traditionally they are made of wood or sheet metal with bike, buggy or go cart wheels.

Billericay’s soap box derby is quite unforgiving; there are a couple of nasty jumps on the course which have claimed the lives of many cars over the past few years. The teams have been evolving the cars though and we are now seeing some cars with proper dampened suspension to help them get to the bottom.

Getting to the bottom is only half of the fun though! There are wacky races prizes for the best presented cars and the most entertaining teams! Most of the teams dress up to match the theme of their kart. Here we have Austin Powers and the Shaguar.

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Some of the teams will do dances and stuff at the top of the launch ramp before sending their car down the course.

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The sun was beating down which is rare for a bank holiday Monday and crowds in their thousands came out to line The London Road, or as it would be known for the day ‘Thunder Road’.

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Thankfully, the Rotary Club organise a big screen to show the cars going down from multiple cameras that people can watch if they can’t get a good view at the side of the track.

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The cars were the stars of the show though and there was a huge variety!

My personal favourite is “Rusty Tub” based on a 4.5 litre Bentley. If you’ve been following this blog for a while you’ll know that Bentley’s 4.5 is one of my favourite cars of all time haha!

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TV/movie themed cars are popular every year. See if you can name all the shows and films these cars are from.

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Hands down the best movie car for me was the ‘Creaky Blinders’ car from Parabar Estate Agents.

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The Dunmow Round Table entry was sublime! Proper dampened wishbone suspension on the front. Some serious thought had gone into this!

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This Egyptian themed car also looked like it was going to be quick!

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If it had a motor, this one would pull like a train!

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There was a lot of creativity in the entries!

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Most entries were of course driven by humans but two very talented bears from Quilters School also went down the course.

#adorable

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A small car show had also been organised by the South Eastern Vintage and Classic Vehicle Club.

Most of the cars on show were British with the exception if this stunning pre-war Buick.

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Along with a VW Beetle.

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Ford’s Zodiac platform could easily be mistaken for American. Being a convertible and column shift manual I reckon that this is quite a rare beast. It was in stunning condition too!

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There were a handful of Jags. The blue exterior and red interior isn’t exactly what you’d think of check off on the options list but it actually works!

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Series 3 Jaguar XJ. I like the red with gold stripe on this one too. Very ‘Alan Mann’!

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The later X300 platform is becoming a modern classic. This particular one is an XJR which is the sportier model. Normal ones can be still be had for relatively low money and you get a lot of car for that money!

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MGA and Austin Healey; from the golden era of British sports cars.

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Morris Minors have quite the cult following. the travellers and vans are few and far between. I’d love one of these but hotted up, maybe with the 1500cc engine from an MG Midget. I just think that the little A-Series in it’s standard 1000cc form is just a little too under-powered to pull the minor along at modern traffic’s pace.

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The Austin 10. Another car on my bucket list. I really really like the 10’s little brother the 7 as well!

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Car of the show for me though was this Mini 35. This is a fairly late Mini, being built in 1994 as a limited run to celebrate the Mini’s 35th anniversary. Only 1000 were built and this one was totally original and immaculate! A credit to the owner!

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I’m afraid I will have to end on a more sombre note. Unfortunately a competitor was injured and damaged a vertibrae in his back. As the poor chap was being attended to one penile member of the public asked the stewards for his money back as proceedings were delayed and he felt he wasn’t getting the best value for money. If you were that man who asked for his money back, I hope someone swaps your laundry detergent with itching powder you vile, heartless human being!

Massive massive thanks and congratulations to the Billericay Rotary Club for putting on another superb event and the same to all the competitors for coming out to play. Looking forward to next year’s already!

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By Richard Francis

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