Good clean fun for soap box racers

A RURAL Suffolk village was transformed into a race track yesterday as homemade soap box cars hurtled through the main street.

A peaceful August bank holiday does not exist any more for the residents of Botesdale, near Eye, which was hosting its sixth annual Soap Box Grand Prix. Thousands of people lined the pavements to watch the 35 cars, most built in garages or workshops, as they careered down The Street, a large hill running through the village.

The thrilling event is organised by the team at The Greyhound public house and has proved increasingly popular since it was first introduced in 2005.

The 2009 races raised almost �600 for local good causes and East Anglia’s Children’s Hospices and organisers are hoping that the final total from this year can top that amount.

Greyhound owners and “race officials” Chris and Morag Burnard said this year’s exciting day of racing had been very well attended, with the grand final winner being Cock Hot Rod, named in honour of the Cock Inn pub in Diss and driven by Paul Massingham.

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Mrs Burnard said: “It’s been absolutely brilliant – a fantastic day and really good fun for everyone. We reckon we had about 2,300 people, possibly more.

“The junior winner was ten-year-old George Paine in his car Luigi, a streamlined green and white car, who beat Mario, driven by Dan Wilby, aged nine.

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“The Cock Hot Rod, a long-bed low-slung car, won the grand final, beating the Cat Ambulance, driven by Joe Walker and representing a vet practice in Eye.”

She said that although the event was a big hit with the vast majority of residents, there was the occasional objection to how much it takes over the village every year.

She added: “Generally we have a really positive response and most of the village comes out to watch, including people from the other pubs, and the parish council also comes out to help.

“Obviously we get the odd complainer but we haven’t had any so far this year. It’s usually only one person against 2,000 but that proves that with anything, you can’t please everybody all the time.”

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