One giant Leap for mankind: 'Better' and 'Faster' Soap Box Derby Returns
To launch Hunstanton’s annual Soap Box Derby 2019 and announce that entries are now open, a few entrants and key players in the running of the legendary event on Sunday 22nd September came to the Green to celebrate.
The Soap Box derby was first held in Hunstanton in 1953 but was brought back by the Borough Council in 2017, with each year getting bigger and better. A family-friendly event, visitors and spectators will be treated to the racing, a carnival atmosphere and a music and gin tent on the Green.
Entrant Patrick Richardson, who first entered last year and is returning again this year with grandson Oliver in their Apollo 11 themed soapbox cart, said: “We came along three years ago and thought ‘This is wonderful, we really ought to be doing this!’”
“We hoped to get to the moon if we go fast enough down this hill! It’s fifty years since Apollo 11 took the three astronauts to the moon and we thought we must celebrate that.”
“(The soapbox cart) has been in development for 12 months and we have a friend who is an engineer who did the welding for us. It’s a big team effort. Team Richardson racing. My three granddaughters will be along and another grandson who’s the other astronaut, so there will be three astronauts like there was in the original Apollo!”
On the new course, he said: “It’s absolutely brilliant, much better and much faster, much more exciting. It will be a great family day out. I’m hoping that they will suspend the 30mph speed limit for the day as we hope to exceed that quite easily!”
The new course starts on Greevegate and incorporates a few sharp turns and finishes on the Beach Terrace overlooking the sea.
Winner of the last two years Ed Napolitano said: “I’m just going to race it, enjoy the day and see how it goes… I’m excited about it… Hopefully it will be faster than last year. I built (my soapbox cart) myself and I have some friends and my brother push me on the day.”
Cllr Elizabeth Nockolds, deputy leader and cabinet member for Culture, Heritage and Health, said: “The Searles Soap Box Derby was a wonderfully successful event in 2018, and we’re delighted that it’s coming back to Hunstanton once again. The Soap Box Derby will be a day packed with free family entertainment, so make sure you come along and enjoy the fun.”
Paul Searle from Searles Leisure Resorts is pleased to be involved again: “We like to support the town whenever we can, especially when it comes to events that put Hunstanton on the map and attract visitors. The Soap Box Derby is an exciting event to be part of. The local 45 Club will also be pleased to provide the gin tent again and raise money for a local charity.”
The Derby will consist of four categories that are based on driver age: 10-12 year olds, 13-15 year olds, adults over 16 and over 65s. Not only will they win a place on the podium, the top three teams in each category receive a prize. Additionally ‘Concourse d’elegance’ will go to the best looking soap boxes.
(Pictured: Grandfather and grandson duo Oliver and Patrick Richardson)