For the first time in almost ten years Red Bull allowed teams across Britain to showcase their Soapbox making prowess as the Soapbox Derby landed in London’s Alexandra Palace.
Eventually won by Newcastle’s Team Spit-Phya, with their Phya-Bird based on Donald Campbell’s land speed record setting Bluebird, all the Soapboxes were judged by a panel including downhill mountain biker Gee Atherton, Red Bull Racing Chief Designer Rob Marshall, Street-Trials champion Danny MacAskill and special guest Christian Horner.
The three categories they judged included speed, creativity and showmanship – with Spit-Phya demolishing the rest of the field in speed, many hoped for a decent points hall to get themselves up the charts.
Runner’s up in the end were Coffin Dodgers fronted by ex-Undertaker Russell Wynn who, as their prize, have been invited to a high speed track day to see if their driving skills are just as good in an engined car.
Third place were Does My Scrum Look Big In This? Their racer designed to look like a scrum had a helping hand from British and Irish Lions Winger George North.
One driver who didn’t get timed or scored was, as previously mentioned, Red Bull Team Principal Christian Horner – he raced a design from the F1 team itself and while he probably didn’t hit the dizzying speeds of some of the others he certainly felt the nerves it can bring stating: “It’s the scariest thing I’ve done in my entire life!”
The day however, was not without action, for the first handful of runs many cars were hitting the final jump – named Big Air – at close to their top speed of 30mph. The results of the jump were often spectacular and occasionally painful for those who mistimed the landing – one team who got a rough deal was Scotch Eggspress, their scotch egg cart rolled on landing and their driver broke two fingers before hitting the hay bails just after the finish line.
Many Soapboxes also failed to reach the line one cart that reenacted the finale to Cool Runnings was team The Bolt Mobile fittingly designed around Olympic gold medalist Usain Bolt.
Crashing into the hay bails just halfway down the 500 metre course – the team rallied round and carried Usain over the line to the adulation of the 20,000 strong crowd.
For photos from the day taken by The Checkered Flag please click here.