Category Archives: Soapbox Adventures

Metallicar WIN Best Engineered Soapbox!

(Last modified: September 6th, 2018)

On Sunday 19th August, Team Metallicar were out in full force to see how quickly we could get down Harewood’s famous hill climb.

After doing so well last year we couldn’t wait to get back in the driving seat again ready for our first soapbox event of the year. With a bbq and beers in tow, we set up camp and geared our driver Dan Hoskin up for his first trial run. We tweaked the car after last year’s events and with performance enhancing changes under our seatbelt we felt pretty confident.

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With Dan ready for his first race, the rest of Team Metallicar covered the more important details – setting up our fantastically loud speakers and organising who would be on BBQ duty. With our race tunes pumping, Dan was ready and waiting at the start line. We usually get complaints regarding our speakers however, we were approached by the Harewood Event Coordinators and asked to turn it up as our speakers were louder than the ones hired for the event!

Running as Soapbox Number 9, we launched from the ramp and let gravity do its worst! All cars have the benefit of a practice followed by two timed laps. There aren’t many rules, mainly that soapboxes must be strong, safe and have decent brakes, plus sound steering, which is possibly the most important part!

We all anxiously watched as Dan set off for his first run. We awaited the sirens of the stand by ambulance but as expected, Dan did an amazing run!

Man in a soapbox racer being pushed up the start ramp

Besides the exhilaration, the spectacles really make the day. Soapboxes vary from incredibly serious aerodynamic cars, designed tested, modified and put through their paces yet again to the downright hilarious. Today we saw a fully-fledged furry dog chasing down the track, followed by Batman and Robin and even the police.

It’s a pretty hairy track, with racers reaching speeds of up to 43mph. Over 70 teams entered with two travelling from as far afield as America. Our driver notched up to 22nd place. Not bad. However, we were given the prestigious ‘Best Engineered Soapbox’. Something we’re extremely proud of due to the amount of work that has gone into building it! The overall event was estimated to have raised over £10K for local charities.

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After a long day of racing, eating and drinking, we packed up the Soapbox and headed back to Wetherby. A brilliant day enjoyed by all of Team Metallicar – roll on next year!

Can Metallicar ‘pop’ into York’s Top 10?

(Last modified: March 7th, 2018)

Metallicar’s third and final race of the season took place at the Micklegate Soapbox Challenge in York on August Bank Holiday Monday. It was the biggest and most exciting event we’ve raced yet.

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Our cart was given number 48 out of 50, so we had plenty of time to prepare and make a few final tweaks. And it was a good job too. As we got closer to the front of the queue for our first run, our front left tyre decided to blow out.

Luckily, there was a bike shop right across the road, so we quickly dodged the crowds to get a replacement, and repaired the puncture. Phew! But as we edged forward and sat third in line, suddenly, there was another pop from the exact same tyre!

Panic stations again, but we quickly repaired the tyre once more, entered the track, and got in position for our first run of the day. The countdown began, we settled the nerves and flew down the course in a respectable 36 seconds. We were happy with that.

After pushing Metallicar back through the streets of York to our pit, we got the BBQ lit and enjoyed the sun with some chilled beers.

As the second runs of the day began, we could see that teams were pulling out some very quick times. The pressure was on and we were still nervous about a third blow out.

Metallicar was called and we took our position. We had to beat 34.2 seconds.

We burst down the start ramp, picking up speed. It was an exciting, quick start and everyone knew our final time would be close to the top ten. We raced through the finish… but came up just 1.3 seconds short of what we needed. We were done.

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We had a great day and have already been thinking about the improvements we can make for next year. Extra weight and downhill force will surely get us into the top ten. Bring it on!

Metallicar climbs the leader board at Humber Bridge

(Last modified: July 11th, 2017)

After a mishap at Wicksteed Park Derby left us missing a wheel and a front spindle, Metallicar was back in the Metals4U garage, and in need of some TLC.

We were taught some valuable lessons at our first race of the season, mainly the need for strength as well as speed. With tight timings, our engineers took on the challenge of making Metallicar bigger, better and ready for another round.

Humber Bridge Soapbox

Back in action and ready to rock our second Humber Bridge Soapbox Derby, we headed over to Hull on the 1st July. Away on business, our usual front-man Fred had to sit this one out, so the keys were handed over to our resident speed demons Scott and Sam.

We were up early and excited to test out our improved soapbox. The practice run to make sure we were in ship shape started at 8am and, as expected, Metallicar sailed through without a hitch.

Humber Bridge was no exception to the usual parade of weird and wacky homemade buggies. We spotted everything from brightly coloured racing cars and bulky trucks, to a wedge of cheese and a toad in the hole!

Humber Bridge Competition

At 11am it was time for Metallicar to take its place on the start line for our first race. Running smoothly, even over the bumps and obstacles, we finished with a great time of 36.10. Our second run clocked in at 37.65.

Then all that was left to do was to cross our fingers and watch the others race to the finish line for a coveted place in the final five.

We made it! Metallicar had beaten back the competition and made it to the final. A huge crowd formed to cheer the top five on as they lined up for the last time. Our final race round the track saw us clock our fastest time all day- an amazing 34.95.

 

The results were in and we bagged the respectable position of 4th place. We’re all really impressed with the result!

Here’s what Fred had to say: “The Metallicar soapbox is climbing up the leader board. Considering it is our second season we are very happy with 4th place.”

Be sure to check back in with us to find out what else Metallicar gets up to this summer.

Metallicar gets in a spin at Wicksteed

(Last modified: June 29th, 2017)

The warmer weather has arrived and it’s time for Metallicar to rock and roll into its second Summer of Soapbox derbies. We’ve been tweaking and tinkering for weeks to get our buggy ready to face the speed demons on the tracks. We can’t wait to get back out there.

First stop was the quaint town of Kettering for the Wicksteed Park 2017 Derby! After making a pit stop at a couple of local cocktail bars for some well earned refreshments, we got our heads down before the morning’s festivities.

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Up and out early doors with fake beards on, the final checks on Metallicar got underway for the big race. 40th in line after the kids race, we had a bit of a wait. But at an amazing 28°C, it was shaping up to be the perfect day for a race, and we were happy to watch all the other marvellous creations make their way onto the track.

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From ghost trains, to old school race cars there was a mix of soapboxes that would put Wacky Races to shame! We even spotted a father-son team with a Star Wars themed cart ready to make their galactic debut – definitely one of our favourite soapboxes of the day.

Grave Digger

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Finally it was time to take our place at the starting line. The DJ boomed out some heavy metal to get us ready and raring to go, and the crowd went wild as we launched onto the course. Looks like our emphasis on speed when tweaking the car worked, we sailed towards the finish line in our fastest run ever!

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As we screeched to a halt to avoid crashing into the bales of hay, disaster struck. The force of Metallicar’s breaks sheared the front spindle clean off. Then we saw one of our front wheels bounce off down the track, and it all ‘faded to black’!

Our first run saw us take the bronze in the respectable position of third place. But with the state our soapbox was in, it was all over for Metallicar.

IMG_4509We called it a day and headed back to Wetherby with lessons learnt. Mainly how important strength was as well as speed! Keep your eyes on our blog, you haven’t seen the last of Metallicar this summer!

Metallicar makes its debut

(Last modified: June 27th, 2017)

With the brakes oiled, the metal polished and the fake beards on, Metallicar – our very first soapbox, was ready to rock and roll at the annual Wicksteed Park Soapbox Derby last Saturday.

Starting from 10.15am at the park in Kettering, Northamptonshire we lined up with the others for cart inspection. We saw everything from a cheese wedge car to those racing for local charities, and even met a Stormtrooper!

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The Soapbox Derby runs over an inclined course with a left hand bend at the bottom. It starts at the speed hump outside the old Golf House, next to the campsite and runs down the hill towards the Hexagon Café.

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We were 12th in line to race out of 50 cars with Director Fred Rowlands in the driver’s seat. By 2.30pm we were ready and raring for our first run down. With the crowds cheering us on, we gave our cart a big push and watched it speed off down the hill. Fortunately we won’t be making it onto the ‘soapbox fails’ video with a smooth run from start to finish.

When the results came in at the end of a wonderful day, we finished in a very respectable 13.82 seconds – only two seconds off the fastest pace! This put us 20th out of 50 cars, great for our first race. Big congratulations to the winning team ‘Postbox Mario’.

We had a fantastic time at Wicksteed Park and would like to say a big thank you to everyone involved! We’re already really excited for our next big race at The Humber Bridge Soapbox Derby on the 25th. Make sure you check back in to see how we get on.

 

 

The Soapbox challenge is careering towards us and we can’t wait!

(Last modified: June 26th, 2017)

With only a few days to go we’re doing our last bit of fine tuning to get our very first ever entry, Metallicar ready for the Summer’16 Soapbox Challenges. We’re making our debut in two crazy races. The first one is this Saturday 18th June, at Wickstead Park and if we survive it, there’s one the following Saturday 25th at the lively Humber Bridge Soapbox Derby.

The team is hoping to take one of the coveted trophies home for a number of competitive titles ranging from Most Innovative Design, to Best Turned Out Crew and Fastest Single Run Of The Day.

Our car is expertly crafted from our own metals and handmade in the true Soapbox tradition. Powered by nothing but a big sturdy push at the start, gravity and a little prayer. Thank fully one of the rules is that we have a fully working brake to at least two wheels. We’ve designed our car with a minimal, robust yet sleek look, hopefully to protect our driver and gain as much momentum as we can. Though we’ve seen creativity at its best in flying beef burger carts, crazy horses and even Tutankhamun’s cask.

Take a look at our top secret video of the Metals4U team in action! We think we’re on track to do pretty well for our first attempt. In fact, after a few practise runs in Metallicar and we’re pitching our luck at stealing pole position!

Keep an eye out to see how we get on over the next few weeks…and wish us lots and lots of luck.

We’re gearing up for our first Soapbox Derby

(Last modified: March 7th, 2018)

Ever since Charlie Chaplin graced cinema screens in ‘Kid Auto Races at Venice’ in 1914, the Soapbox Derby has been part of American culture. The first official race on record ran in 1934 in Dayton, Ohio. It was originally a competition where young boys built makeshift buggies from scratch to see which could cross the finish line in the fastest time. It played on a fascination with flashy cars and ultra-fast speed records, even if some were fuelled by gravity!

At its peak in the 1960s there were upward of 20,000 kids in 250 clubs across America taking part. It wasn’t long before the phenomenon took the world by storm. The Akron All American Soap Box Derby plays host to more than 550 youngsters each year from all over the US as well as Canada, Germany, Japan and New Zealand.

In the UK the Red Bull Soapbox Race takes the crown, with more than 100 races around the world since the very first was held in Brussels back in 2000. Homemade Soapboxes range from gorgeous classic car replicas to Red Bull cans, burritos and Pac-Man themed contraptions. As well as being wildly competitive it’s also hugely entertaining. Take a look at our video of the best Soapbox crashes over the years:

Here at Metals4U we’re all huge fans of the Soapbox Derby, and the way customers use our products to create the fantastic vehicles taking part. We’re getting creative and making our very own cart to be entered in the Humber Bridge Soapbox Derby on Saturday the 25th June. Keep your eyes on our blog to track our progress and be sure to come out and see us put the pedal to the metal on the day!

M4U soap box poster (A) M4U soap box poster (B)