Billericay Soapbox Derby 2016

Article by Clare Youell: A converted lawnmower and a kart built 230 miles away will taking part as the Billericay Rotary Club's SoapBox Derby returns for its second year.

Rotary members launched the event last year and it was a huge success, with 40 teams taking part and thousands of people turning out to watch the spectacle.

This year, the event will be bigger and better as there are more than 60 teams entering a SoapBox racing kart, more sponsors and even greater community interest.

School, colleges, local businesses and individuals have all been working hard on their entries with Shenfield High School adapting a lawnmower for their vehicle.

The Billericay SoapBox Derby is based on the Red Bull series and has attracted spectators from all over the country.

Here's what you need to know about the event

It's the second year the Rotary Club has run the race

What is the Billericay Rotary Club SoapBox Derby?

It's an event where teams build their own racing kart out of various materials. They don't have engines and are pushed along, relying on gravity to move. Races usually take place down a hill and each vehicle has a designated driver.

When is it?

It takes place on Bank Holiday Monday, May 1.

Where is it?

The cars are raced down London Road, from Sun Corner to Western Road, Billericay.

Why is it called a SoapBox Derby?

The SoapBox tradition was started in the States because the early karts were made out of wooden crates which were originally used to ship soap and other household items.

How many teams are entering in 2017?

Around 60

Can I still enter?

Yes, entry forms are available from Billericay Rotary Club. Teams that have not yet returned forms must do so as soon as possible to Mike Sinclair at Buttsbury Lodge, Stock Road, Stock, CM4 9PJ or email a scanned copy to: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

What are the prizes?

  • Students (12-21 years): 1st- £50 and trophy; 2nd - £30 and trophy; 3rd - £20 and trophy.
  • Corporate: Trophy for 1st, 2nd and 3rd
  • Wacky Racers: Trophy for 1st, 2nd and 3rd
  • Fastest Soapboxes: 1st - £50 and a special trophy; 2nd - £30 and a special trophy; 3rd - £20 and a special trophy

Can I go and watch?

Yes you have to buy a ticket, then you just turn up and join the crowds.

How much are tickets?

Entry prices for advance ticket purchase are:

  • Individual tickets: £3 per person
  • Family tickets (Family of four, 2 adults & 2 children) £10.
  • Two years and under go free.

On the day, no family tickets are available and individual tickets are £5 each

Tickets are available now at: or by pressing the Buy Tickets button on club website homepage at 

Tickets are also from:

  • Anna's Newsagents, 9 Radford Way, Billericay
  • Ashton Charters, 140 High Street, Billericay
  • The Chequers Pub, 44 High Street, Billericay
  • Creatures Great and Small, 127 High Street, Billericay
  • The Red Lion Pub, 113 High Street, Billericay

Also for parents and friends from: Quilters Junior School RotaKids.

What else is there to do on the day?

There will also be a Family Fun day on Queen Elizabeth Field where there will be a kids' playground, a large video screen to watch the racing, refreshments and classic car display. Toilets will be available.

What do the organisers say?

SoapBox Derby chairman, Peter Greene, said:

"Time is running out but everything is nearly in place for the second SoapBox Derby. This event has filled a major gap in the wonderful Billericay community, between the Round Table annual fireworks display in Lake Meadows, the Rotary Club of Mayflower's superb Christmas Market and Summerfest and the Billericay Lions' Santa Christmas tour."

Where will the money raised go?

All profits raised will go to charities supported by the Rotary including two local schools, Hamelin Trust and Little Havens Children's Hospice. Funds will also go to Medecins Sans Frontieres (Doctors Without Borders), Aquabox and Rotary Foundation – End Polio.

Article by Clare Youell, Essex Live

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