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Time to get revved up for a whizz in a soapbox at the UK's home of flatracing

Newmarket, the UK home of flatracing, 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 later this year.

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 because of the coronavirus pandemic has been postponed.

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 - and 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 Haverhill Echo and the organisers of this year’s race, deputy mayor Cllr James Lay, and Newmarket Town Council, are now appealing to local racers and teams to get their entries in with the closing date set for May 31.

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 with 25 competitors having 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 at £7.

Organisers have also reserved a second date in October should the current lockdown affect the event.

If that happened all tickets and team entries would be transferred or refunded if competitors or spectators were unable to attend.