Red Bull : It’s fast, fun, it’s colourful and MAYBE your vehicle will reach the finish line in one piece

For more than two decades, this soapbox race has been challenging the public to test their creativity, engineering and driving skills.

Since 2000 Red Bull Soapbox has held over a hundred races worldwide and attracted a vast array of wacky motor-less vehicles, colourful pilots and thousands of fans packed in to cheer them on. Here is all you need to know:

– Amateur pilots around the world get the chance to build their own imaginative motor-less vehicles, then dress up in costumes and steer them around a course full of steep slopes, sharp bends, and hairy jumps as thousands of fans cheer them on as well as getting the chance to vote for their favourite teams.

– They are judged on their aesthetic, speed and road-holding, while each team can also profit from showmanship with the soapboxes inspired by motorsport, folklore, everyday themes or pop culture such as Mr. Bean’s Mini, Pokémon-based karts, nimble bathtubs and inflatable Zeppelins.

– Nick Hunter, captain of 2019’s UK champions Gas Gas Gas, said: « Whereas other soapbox racing events are looking for the fastest entry, here it’s more about flair and creativity, putting on a show. »

– A solid chassis, light bodywork, thicker wheels, dependable brakes and tough suspension units to combat the ramps are all crucial in giving the teams a chance to make it all the way to the finish line.

– Overloading the front end and getting too fancy with the bodywork will often see the vehicles either crash out spectacularly into the hay bales or gradually disintegrate as they hurtle down the tricky, snaking course.

– Drivers need to pilot their vehicles without fear as the course is much steeper in person than on TV, while they also need to commit fully to the scary ramps and avoid panicking under pressure if they want to succeed.

–It’s a fast-paced race; to be successful, you must commit to the challenges. One participant, Jack, revealed, « When you’re going over ramps and obstacles, you really have to commit. You see some people hesitate, they try to steer away from the jump and only go over half of it, and it goes really badly. Some will even brake too much before they go over a jump and simply slow to a halt and lose all momentum. You’ve got to have a gung-ho attitude and just go for it ».

– The 2022 UK race at Alexandra Palace, London, on July 3 was the latest in a long line of thrilling events, with Go Go Gadget Soapbox coming out on top from the 70 teams thanks to the crafty design and driving skills of workmates Charlie Gough, Julie Emmanuel, Lauren Webb and Al Stewart.

– The race drew fun and colourful characters with a good sense of humour. Trojan Custom Clubare a group of petrol-heads who run a custom car, bikes and trikes club in Kent. Steve Smith, Paul Morgan, and John Davis first met at motorcycle meetings and bonded over a shared passion for three-wheeled bikes. But this isn’t the only thing they have in common – Steve and John have both had motorcycle accidents that have resulted in one of their legs being amputated at the knee. Consequently, the crew have based their soapbox on the concept of losing a leg.

– Teams often benefit from donations given by local companies as they look to build out their vehicle, while they also enter the race looking to raise money for various charitable causes. This year, team Come What Mae – a group of five firefighters from Whitehaven Fire Station, Cumbria. Kyle Rotherham, 33, decided to bring the team together to raise money for the Great North Children’s Hospital in Newcastle, where his ten-year-old daughter, Tilly Mae, is undergoing treatment for a brain tumour. Before race day, their efforts had already raised over £7,000. Come What Mae’s soapbox is inspired by Tilly’s favourite game, Fortnite.

– Kyle Rotherham from Come What Mae revealed: « I’m on cloud nine at the minute, honestly, coming down the track, everything was a blur. The first jump was the one that worried me the most with the water and the kick at the end. I don’t know how long we were in the air, but it felt like we were off the ground forever. « I heard bits falling off, and the steering got a bit wobbly, but you can’t top this, it was absolutely brilliant. When we started dancing, the crowd started cheering. That’s when the adrenaline kicked in, and we were ready for it. »