On your marks for Northamptonshire village's annual soapbox derby return with ‘unbelievable’ carts

Gravity and sheer courage will be the order of the day in July when the Welton Soapbox Derby returns to the county for the eighth time

“Unbelievable” homemade carts of all shapes and sizes are set to race through Northamptonshire this summer.

Welton Soapbox Derby, a non-profit organisation raising funds for local charities, returns for its eighth free-to-spectate event in Welton this year.

The non-motorised event challenges teams to design and build a traditional - or outrageous - soapbox before competing against the clock in a 600-metre downhill race.

And if previous years are anything to go by, crowds can expect to see anything from Postman Pat’s van - to a replica lighthouse on wheels taking part.

Chris Barlow, one of the four organising team members, said: “We’ve had everything that you can think of. You think you’ve seen them all, and then every time we come back, somebody will turn up with something unbelievable.

“We're now full steam ahead. With the local businesses' support, we’ve managed to raise the funds.”

The first Welton Soapbox Derby event was delivered in 2014.

“Everybody was talking about it. It was a great little village event. It started off just as an idea in the pub and then quickly became a formal event in the events calendar for the area,” said Chris.

The team delivered six events back-to-back with more than 2000 people spectating from 2014 to 2019. In 2018, 40 teams took part in 100 runs down the challenging course. Not all of them managed to safely navigate the fearsome left-hander, where a number of carts have been written off.

Chris said: “All of a sudden, we were attracting people from Sheffield and Yorkshire. All over the country, really.

“The event in this little, quiet, sleepy village of Welton draws from a national platform for racing teams to take part in.”

This year’s event is set to take place on Saturday, July 13, with the winners' podium to be announced at 5pm.

The race is scheduled to start at 12pm outside The White Horse Pub in High Street, followed by a 120-foot downhill gradient, a nearly 70-degree left-hand bend, and speeds of up to 38 miles per hour.

“It’s all about the community in the area. We’ve got local teams in and around Daventry and Welton itself building what they can with the bits and pieces they’ve got.

“You’ve got the creativity of it as well. Some soapboxes are built for speed, and some are very much built for creativity,” said Chris.

Places cost £20 for the race licence required. There will be prizes for first, second, and third place in each age group category, as well as an award for the most creative cart and fastest overall speed.

“We are delivering consistently on what we’ve done before. It will be a great day. There’s something for everyone. Lots of charities make lots of money on the day. It’s a lot of fun,” said Chris.

Take a look at the pictures below from the previous Welton Soapbox Derby events – can you spot anyone you know?