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Newmarket Soapbox Derby: Rev up for a whizz in a soapbox at the UK's home of horse racing

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Newmarket, the UK home of flat racing, is synonymous with horses – but beasts of a different kind will be whizzing down the historic heath in late summer.

Plans are going ahead for Newmarket to stage its second soapbox derby. The event, which is scheduled for Sunday, August 30, is being seen as the town’s big summer celebration, which could yet incorporate the annual carnival which is usually held in July but has been postponed because of the coronavirus pandemic.

And this year’s race will incorporate a heat of the national soapbox derby final, with competitors from around the country being invited to compete.


Organisers are keen to attract soapbox enthusiasts from all over the UK. Entry is now open for teams and drivers.

Held in Moulton Road, last year’s inaugural event attracted more than 5,000 spectators as the competitors hurtled down the 400-metre course negotiating obstacles on the way.

This year’s event is being held in conjunction with newspaper publisher Iliffe Media, publisher of the Bishop's Stortford Independent, and the organisers of this year’s race, deputy mayor Cllr James Lay and Newmarket Town Council, are appealing to racers and teams to get their entries in by the May 31 closing date.

Philip Fuller (33920707)
Philip Fuller (33920707)

Entrants can secure their place on the starting line online, where they will find all the rules and regulations as well as details of the soapbox specifications.

“While the country’s lockdown continues, this may be just the time to start working on your soapbox project and give us something to focus on,” said Cllr Lay.

“It’s a time to speak to friends, family and colleagues about your designs and plan your builds together.

soapbox fun (33920688)
soapbox fun (33920688)

“This year’s Newmarket Soapbox Derby is going to mark the coming together of the local community after all the chaos of recent weeks.”

Organisers said this year’s event would be much bigger that last year, with a capacity for 50 teams to enter; 25 have already signed up.

“As we are also set to host the national final for soapbox racing here at Newmarket, inviting the winners of all UK derbies to the town, it is sure to make a spectacular sight,” said Cllr Lay.

Chris Ginn Manchetts Newmarket director readys their entry for Newmarket Soapbox Derby. Picture by Mark Westley (33920685)
Chris Ginn Manchetts Newmarket director readys their entry for Newmarket Soapbox Derby. Picture by Mark Westley (33920685)

Last year’s competitors included local businesses Fastec Racing, the Jockey Club, Tattersalls and Manchetts.

A website has been set up for this year’s race where there is a gallery of images and video footage from last year’s event – visit www.newmarketsoapboxderby.org.uk.

Spectator tickets, which are £5 plus booking fee, can be purchased there or will be available on the day priced £7.

Organisers have reserved a date in October should the current lockdown affect the event. If that happens, all tickets and team entries will be transferred or refunded if competitors or spectators are unable to attend.

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