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VIDEO: Soapbox racers prepare for 11th annual Belchford Downhill challenge

By Lincolnshire Echo  |  Posted: September 14, 2012

  • Racers use the power of gravity to reach speeds of up to 45mph in their home-made carts

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Fearless racers will be hurtling downhill at breakneck speeds as they compete in the 11th annual Belchford soapbox races.

Belchford Downhill Challenge is one of the largest soapbox car races in the country.

More than 50 teams have signed up for this year's event, on Sunday, September 16, with some travelling from as far as Aberdeen for the chance to be named the fastest.

Using homemade carts, they rely on gravity, braking power and steering to navigate a half-mile long course.

Some of the carts can clock speeds of up to 45mph as they compete in time trials and head-to-head races.

Dick Black, one of the event's organisers, said: "It's great to see teams coming back year after year with improved designs, but it's also good to have a new crop of entrants.

"Some are new to gravity racing and just want to have a go. It's amazing to see home-built carts achieving such good speeds."

The manmade machines come in all shapes and sizes, from the ultra-modern and aerodynamic to novelty and rustic. The event will also see the return of the two-man gravity sidecars and the junior classification, which features teams made up of under 16s.

Another member of the Belchford organising team, Peter Thompson, said that the sidecar races could be the ones to watch out for this year.

He said: "Historically, the soapboxes are a lot faster but the sidecars have evolved massively in recent years and we'd be surprised if they didn't clock the top speed this time.

"We have one team taking part which has been winning races all over the country and they've been known to reach speeds of up to 60mph.

"It's a great day out and we've also got plenty of car parking, a craft fair and music.

"But it's also a chance for local charities to make their presence felt and do some fundraising. We raised a massive £5,000 for local good causes last year and hopefully we'll be able to do that again."

The Belchford Downhill Challenge takes place in Furlongs Lane, in Belchford, near Horncastle. Racing starts from 9am and entry to the event is free. Parking is £2 per car.

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