RedBull Soapbox Race 2004

The RedBull Soap Box Race at Knebworth Park

Full race day report, 8th August 2004

After much preparation, the race weekend was finally here and Team Moby and his dicks loaded the van and set off to Knebworth Park. We arrived on site and setup our pit lane as the excitement was growing. It was great to see the range of carts that had assembled and the format of the course (which had been a closely guarded secret).

Saturday was for Time Trials which would be used to seed the carts into different categories. But before our driver, Jim could get going there was the formality of the cart MOT to pass.

We passed the MOT with flying colours and soon our cart was being lifted onto the back of the start ramp by telehandler. Jim donned his crash helmet (good job!) and climbed into the cart. A quick push and he was off - the cart performed well with good start speed and easily made it round the corners.

Dan and Paul were ushered off the start ramp by the RedBull people and we went back to the pit lane thinking all was well. How wrong we were...

After passing the finish line, Jim had a massive accident and barrel rolled the cart. It could have been the transition from the road course to grass that caused the roll or maybe the twichy steering or just a bit of cockyness from the driver. But eye witnesses reported that Jim was thrown around like a rag doll before getting large impact on his shoulder. So off to hospital for x-rays and confirmation that Jim had broken his collar bone.

Our cart - Halibut Lector is made out of tougher stuff than Jim it seems and escaped with only minor damage. So the team (a little shocked by the news) got started on repairing the damage.

Paul bravely stepped into Jim's shoes and became the team's new driver and after a while Jim was back from hospital. The testing was over and we got allocated our running order for the following day. Then it was time to chill out with a beer.

Sunday morning and the day of the competition arrived. We set up our pit box with all the extras such as harry haddock fish, nets, seaweed, anchors etc and donned our team uniforms which were kindly provided by Cosalt.

The crowds started to arrive and soon we were having a right laugh playing our fisherman roles for the spectators (and the hordes of press). Some of our supporters club were still stuck in traffic (due to heavy drinking the night before) by the time we were called up to join the waiting line for the race. But eventually our supporters turned up and we were ready to go. Soon the cart was lifted onto the back of the main ramp and we waited nervously to get going.

Paul (our new driver) donned his crash helmet and we were lined up on the starting grid. A quick interview with the presenter for the cameras and then we were under starters orders. We watched the lights go green and we were off. The run down the tricky start ramp was smooth and by the end of the steep section we were challenging for 2nd place. Halibut Lector tussled with an ice cream van cart but eventually the lost out. Paul navigated safely down the course and finished in 3rd place. Spot on! No broken bones this time.

Positions were worked out on a points system, with on the top 20 teams going through to the next round. Points we awarded for race position, creativity and crowd clapometer. We got,

Creativity 16
Race Points 6
Clapometer 4

Which wasn't enough points for the next round but still a good performance. A lot of the crowd had gone home by the time we raced so I feel that effected our Clapometer score. We were just 4 points short of making the second round so not bad at all.

So all the effort was finally over and a great time was had by all - a shame about Jim's injury but as I write this, his collar injury is healing well. So we all had a right laugh and can look forward to having spare time again... Get well soon James.

RedBull Soapbox Race Photo Gallery

Your Comments

By bob on 18th 2005f November 2005, 10:32
just have fun
By jake on 03rd 2006f February 2006, 12:19
nice report. Do you know if there will be another soapbox race this year? If you could let me know that would be cool. jake

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