Article by Melissa Barker: A daring estate agent dressed as wizard Gandalf hurtled downhill at 24mph in the world-famous Red Bull Soapbox race.
Mark Reeve spearheaded his team's Lord of the Rings-inspired challenge in a cart, dubbed Gandalf's Getaway Car, which was disguised as a Hobbit hole.
The 47-year-old's team, made up of colleagues at Billericay-based Ashton and Charters, came 30th out of 65 in the race, at north London's Alexandra Palace on July 12.
[quote width="auto" align="none" border="#0066cc" color="#0066cc" title="Quoted by Mark Reeve"]There were over 20,000 people watching. Everyone looked like they enjoyed themselves. It was such an amazing day. It is definitely something we will all do again. There were some amazing cars. It's not all about speed. The way the car looks is just as important.[/quote]
The 65 teams, which included strawberry, toaster, shark and Star Wars-themed carts, were chosen from 2,000 entries.
On the day, which was filmed by TV channel Dave, they were judged on speed and finesse.
They were also judged on their comical 20-second sketch, which each team had to deliver before boarding their carts.
For Mark's display, he acted out a scene in which Gandalf and Bilbo were chased by female hobbits.
Their racer boasted artificial turf around the skirting, reminiscent of the Shire in fictional Middle Earth, and had curtains for a homely feel.
[quote width="auto" align="none" border="#0066cc" color="#0066cc" title="Quoted by Georgina Faint"]None of us have actually seen Lord of the Rings before. It was our graphic designer who came up with the idea and we just decided to go with it because, as an estate agents, we wanted our car to resemble a house. It was an amazing day, everyone was hyper, taking pictures of each other's creations and asking how we made our car. It was quite comical. We had a laugh acting it out but it was difficult getting across a story in such a short amount of time. It was such a good day. We have definitely caught the bug and are all hooked and want to compete in another race in the future. Once my friends saw videos and pictures of the day, they have all decided they're going to take part in the future. All the kids I know really want to try it.[/quote]
Article by Melissa Barker, Brentwood Gazette