Douglas Soapbox Derby

“Approaching the grid now is James Graham from Gulp Racing. James lists his hobbies as painting landscapes while standing in freshly ploughed fields, shouting at seagulls, and making his own vegetarian curtains from Tofu meat substitute,” commentator #1 informs the crowd before his partner quips “I’ve always preferred traditional beef curtains myself…”

Action photo of a fighter jet soapbox cart going down the hill
Steve McIntosh pilots ‘Fighter Jet Flash’

It must be Soapbox Derby Day in Douglas. A traditional end-of-summer fixture since 2014, this madcap event sees a section of the Isle of Man’s capital closed to traffic so that competitors can fling themselves down a steep hill in various wheeled contraptions.

The ‘course’ is spiced up by a series of wooden ramps and chicanes, while safety barriers protect athletes and spectators from each other, a bit like a cross between the Monaco Grand Prix and a Carnival. Hundreds of people jostle for space on both sides of the track to watch racers jump, slide, spin and crash as an innuendo-laden commentary keeps adults entertained.

Action photo of a soapbox cart going down the hill
2020 Winner Alex Bottomley of Team Sneeze

Well done to Alex Bottomley of Team Sneeze for posting a fastest time of 26.507 seconds – full results here.