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How to watch Duxford Soap Box Derby 2023

The Duxford Soap Box Derby is taking place this Sunday (September 3) and is set to be huge fun for all the family - whether you’re taking part or just watching the fantastic vehicles go by in the races.

We have put together a complete guide to the race times and routes, so you can find a great spot to view the racers and don’t miss any of the fun.

Soapbox derby, Duxford. Picture: Keith Heppell
Soapbox derby, Duxford. Picture: Keith Heppell

Expect to see racers travelling in all manner of home made transport - previous years have included a Hogwarts Express train cart, a pizza delivery themed soap box and a bumblebee on wheels.

This will be the tenth anniversary of the derby, which was set up in 2013 to raise money for Cancer Research UK in memory of Phil Hill ,who sadly died that year after being diagnosed with kidney cancer. To date they have raised £74,150.

The rules of the soapbox derby are that all vehicles taking part must be powered by human strength alone - no motorised soap boxes are allowed. And no pedals or chain driven carts can be raced, either. The vehicles have to be no more than a metre wide and must be steered by the person inside - not the pusher.

The soap boxes can have a maximum of four wheels and a minimum of three wheels .

Soapbox derby, Duxford, Picture: Keith Heppell
Soapbox derby, Duxford, Picture: Keith Heppell

There will be a prize for the best turned-out soap box and fancy dress is positively encouraged for the racers.

Where and when to watch the races

The organisers have announced the following programme of events for Sunday, September 3, but have warned it is possible that last minute changes could occur:

Registration of Soap Box Carts

Graystones cafe and bistro on St Peter’s Street, Duxford.

10:00 am - 11:20 am Registration of vehicles and racers’ briefing

Parade of Carts

11:40 am Starting at Graystones, St Peter’s Street, Duxford, and moving to the John Barleycorn, on Moorfield Road. There will be three age groups - two for children and one for adults and all will start at the John Barleycorn Pub. Racers will gather at Graystones cafe and bistro and parade from there along Chapel Street to the starting line at the John Barleycorn

Soapbox derby, Duxford. Picture: Keith Heppell
Soapbox derby, Duxford. Picture: Keith Heppell

Race times

Starting at The John Barleycorn, Moorfield Road

12:00 noon Children’s race

Race one: 4-7 and 8-11 year olds

Race two: 12-15 year olds

Children’s race winner presentations

1:30pm Adults’ race

Finish line at The Plough, St Peter’s Street

Entertainment from 2pm onwards:

Presentation of awards

Live music from The Spree and Duck Orange

Auction and raffle draw

Food and drink: hog roast, burgers and ice cream will be on sale.

Duxford Soapbox Derby 2022. Picture: Gerry Weatherhead
Duxford Soapbox Derby 2022. Picture: Gerry Weatherhead

Road closures

These roads in Duxford are set to be closed for the Soap Box Derby.

Moorfield road

Hunts road

Hinxton road

St John’s Street

St Peter’s Street

Chapel Street

Rectory Road

Green Street.

Race routes

Adult Race

The teams will gather at Greystones bistro before parading to the start point at the John Barleycorn pub. The route starts along Moorfield Road before turning into St John’s Street, then Hunts Road, crossing the roundabout onto Ickleton Road; the route then follows Rectory Road, Hinxton Road and St Peter’s Street, finishing at The Plough pub.

Duxford Soapbox Derby 2022. Picture: Gerry Weatherhead
Duxford Soapbox Derby 2022. Picture: Gerry Weatherhead

Children’s Race

The children’s race starts and finishes at the John Barleycorn pub The route is Moorfield Road, St John’s Street, Green Street and back onto Moorfield Road.

The two younger age groups will complete a single circuit of the route, while the older age group will race for two laps. Just like the adults, the children’s teams will gather at Graystones before parading to the starting grid.

There is still time to register a team

Teams must be registered and paid for by today (Friday, September 1). The form to fill out is here https://www.duxfordsoapboxderby.co.uk/participating/register

Entry costs are:£5.00 per team for the children’s races; £10.00 per team for the adults’ race

Who can take part?

The 2023 Derby will follow the same format as the 2022 event with three races on the day, two children’s races and the adult race. The first children’s race is for children aged 4 –7 or 8-11, these must have a responsible adult accompanying them throughout the race. The second childrens race is for children aged 12-15, they will complete two circuits of the children’s race route and do not require an adult to run with them.

The adults’ race has three categories: aged 16+, elite and veterans (55+). The elite category is for teams that have previously, or predict they will, complete the 1.4 mile race route in less than 10 minutes. All three races will start at the John Barleycorn

Anyone who wishes to make a donation to Cancer Reasearch UK through the derby’s fundraising page can visit https://fundraise.cancerresearchuk.org/page/duxford-soap-box-derby-2023

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