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Thrills at soapbox grand prix

PUBLISHED: 09:12 26 August 2008 | UPDATED: 10:37 12 July 2010

John Crabb in his Canary contraption called 'Probably'. Photos: Angela Sharpe

John Crabb in his Canary contraption called 'Probably'. Photos: Angela Sharpe

Emily Dennis

Move over, Lewis Hamilton and Kimi Raikkonen - these guys are on your tail...

But forget the cutting-edge technology of McLaren or Ferrari, for the drivers being put through their paces here proved that all you needed to achieve adrenaline-pumping racing thrills were a chassis and nerves of steel.

Two of the soapbox racers battle it out

Move over, Lewis Hamilton and Kimi Raikkonen - these guys are on your tail...

But forget the cutting-edge technology of McLaren or Ferrari, for the drivers being put through their paces here proved that all you needed to achieve adrenaline-pumping racing thrills were a chassis and nerves of steel.

Villagers at Botesdale, near Diss, have been hard at work in their sheds and gardens for weeks knock-ing up mean machines from old bikes, lawn mowers and pedal carts for the village's fourth annual soap-box grand prix. And yesterday, more than 1,000 people lined the streets to watch 28 vehicles hurtle down the hill outside the Greyhound pub.

The event has been an overwhelming success, with more contestants and spectators each time.

Highlights this year included the Caribbean Crusader, a ship adorned with jolly Roger flags, and this won the prize for best novelty cart. Others included a chariot with gladiators and organiser Chris Burnard's Just Married cart.

There were children's and adults' races, with the winner in the young people's category being William Cooke, 15, with his cart, Disaster.

His dad Tim said the cart had been modified from last year and had been built using a lawn mower, a bicycle, lots of metal and two scaffolding poles.

He added: “I am a very proud dad. This is an absolutely fantastic event for the whole community.”

In the adults' event it was a tough call as to who was going to win, but Billy Baxter in his Mean Machine cart clinched the trophy from John Crabb in his Probably cart.

Mr Baxter said his machine was created using a pedal cart and his children had helped paint it.

Mr Burnard said: “This is the fourth year of the event and it has been absolutely fantastic. It is really good family entertainment, a fantastic day out and really good for bringing the community together.”

Funds from race sponsorship will go to East Anglia's Children's Hospices, proceeds from a street collection to Rickinghall Football Club and car park fees to village hall funds.

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