Thrills and spills Soapbox Derby smashes Bluebell Wood’s fundraising target

Bluebell Wood’s Soapbox Derby turned Clifton Park into the whackiest race ever this weekend.

Thousands turned out to cheer on the 36 speed demons hell-bent on glory in the hospice’s much-loved annual fundraiser, which looks to have raised over £12,000.

There were thrills – and the occasional spills – as some of the craziest costumes and handmade karts the event has ever seen zoomed over the course’s bumps, jumps and chicanes.

Team Axles of Awesome stormed into first place. Driver Rick Lamb, of Sheffield, and his pit crew – Andy Dean and Peter Temple – lifted the trophy for hitting the fastest lap time – a super-speedy 43 seconds.

Said Pete: “We’re just a group of mates who decided to enter because my wife Laura is a paediatrician and often works in neo-natal and intensive care units. We understood what valuable support Bluebell Wood gives to families. We built the car in Andy’s garage, after watching lots of YouTube videos!”

Dearne’s Demons, a team formed by Wath company Dearne Electrical, got the fasted recorded speed on the speed gun and took second place with a time of 45 seconds.

Kart teams Liberty Steel, The Batmobile crew from Wakefieldand Ardagh Bottlers, an intrepid team from Ardagh Glass, who have sites in Barnsley and Doncaster, all tied for third place with a solid time of 46 seconds.

Dozens more intrepid teams experienced the thrills and spills of racing along in wacky soapboxes to raise funds for the region’s only children’s hospice. Eye-catching designs cheered on by the crowd included fire trucks, an Amazon parcel on wheels and even a furry dog kart.

Gary Holden, of Dearne’s Demon’s commented: “We had a fantastic day. All the teams helped each other with spares and repairs, the crowds were generous and enthusiastic, and we personally raised £600 on the day with a raffle and competitions.

“Coming second and having the fastest recorded speed felt brilliant, but the real winners on the day were everyone who connected with Bluebell Wood.

George Sykes, of Liberty Steel, which also won the award for Most Creative Kart, said: “Coming third was bitter-sweet. We were sure we were in with a shot of winning, but unfortunately the last obstacle got the better of us!

“We will definitely be on the starting line next year. The day had a great buzz about it from start to finish and it’s very rare you get to do something which is so much fun for such a good cause.”

Helen Mower, Head of Fundraising at Bluebell Wood, said: “Our Soapbox Derby goes from strength to strength, with even bigger crowds turning out to support some of the most creative hand-made karts we have ever seen. It looks like we have smashed last year’s fundraising total of £10,000.

“We’d like to thank our sponsors, Crystal Peaks and Incentive FM Group, Prestige Financial Solutions and Greencore, and Clifton Park for hosting our spectacular Soapbox Derby for a third year. Every penny raised will help to make a big difference to families facing the toughest of times across the region.”

To find out about Bluebell Wood events, visit www.bluebellwood.org.