1 EAGLETON NOTES: The Soapbox Derby

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Sunday, 28 February 2016

The Soapbox Derby

The days of the soapbox as a vehicle for racing are long gone (except for a few diehards) but the name lives on and the Art Deco Weekend Soapbox Derby is one of the most popular events. It took place just after miday on the sweltering sundrenched Saturday morning with a huge crowd lining Napier's Tennyson Street.

There were numerous categories and entries including a 4-7 age group. Given that these machines travel quite quickly and are often hard to steer it must be quite an adventure for a 4 year old.

There were many machines and these are some of them:


Tnen they raced:







There were so many categories and prizes and I have no idea who won in which categories and a trawl of the various articles on the internet have been of little help but, hey, who cares? For the spectators it was just a case of watching the fun.

26 comments:

  1. The Napier people really know how to have fun. what a lot of creativity to make the soap boxes!

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    1. Yes Red they have a great time each year with this event.

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  2. It's disappointing to learn that you were not a competitor Graham! I am sure that you could have constructed and driven an amazing bogie to victory.

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    1. YP I'm flattered by your confidence in me.

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  3. That sure takes me back. The carts we raced when I was a child were nowhere near as fancy as the Napier models though. What a fun event!

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    1. Pauline the carts we had were simple affairs too.

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  4. My brother and his mates made the Ferraris of "soap boxes ("trolleys" as we called them when we were kids) and raced them down the hills of Gympie and pushed them back up again to start the downhill race all over again. Of course, back in the Fifties there wasn't as much traffic around as there is nowadays...and the "boys in blue" turned a blind eye to the enjoyment had by the kids....even if the kids sometimes arrived home black and blue with gravel-rash on their knees and elbows! :)

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    1. Lee despite all the health and safety requirements these days there is still the occasional spill although the speeds here were rather tame compared with some of the old hill runs used.

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  5. I like the Bugattis. I tried to start soap box racing here; we have a perfect hill, in the right place. I think the idea was a bit radical for my village, but one day maybe!

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    1. I hope that you manage to get it started Cro. There is a huge amount of fun and interest here.

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  6. Some of the vehicles look rather snazzy, as does the little girl wearing the feather boa :-)

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    1. Meike the whole theme of the weekend is the Art Deco period.

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  7. Fantastic. Now, do you think coming off the Clisham would be good :-) ?

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    1. Wow Andrea there might be more than the odd grazed knee if they were run down the Clisham!

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  8. How great to see that things like this still go on! In the madness of the computer age, to see things which have been built by hand is a real treat. And it looks as if you had perfect weather for the day too. Thanks for sharing. xoxox DeeDee

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    1. DeeDee it was a wonderful event on a wonderful day. I'm sure that the crowd enjoyed it almost as much as the competitors.

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  9. My grandsons would LOVE to do that. Actually, so would I. Weren't you tempted, Graham?

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    1. Frances the spirit is tempted but then practicality clicks in.

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  10. Haven't seen any race like this in decades. If ever! :)

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    1. Monica I'm not sure if I've ever seen races organised like this before but we raced soap box carts as kids.

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  11. That brings back some wonderful memories of our "billy cart" races as kids! I haven't seen anything like this in years!!

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    1. Liz it's interesting hearing the different names people had for the soap box carts. I am told that in Scotland (or parts of it anyway) they were called guider.

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  12. What a lot of fun that looks! I'd have loved to do it as a kid!

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    1. Jenny I would have loved to have been the driver at almost any age.

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  13. These photos have brought back so many treasured childhood memories.
    We had a "go-kart" and a toy racing car which we would race down our driveway...it was so much fun. I really must look for those photos and post them here.
    Glad you and the kids had a great time in the sweltering sun.

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    1. Oh yes Virginia please find them and post them. I had a red pedal car. I must find that photo when I get home.

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