Latest Soapbox Racing News

Night Train is King of the Mountain

King of the Mountain

Night Train driver Graeme Smith.

Picture courtesy of Aaron Sneddon

Night Train, driven by Graeme Smith, won the inaugural Cairngorm Soapbox Extreme last weekend, beating the team from Cairngorm Mountain into second place. Night Train was originally built and run by the Wheel Nuts at Cadwell Park, Belchford and Richards Castle before being acquired by Graeme earlier this year.

This is Graeme's first year of competing as a gravity racer, although he also races cars as well. He fought out the final race of the weekend long event against two other newcomers to gravity racing - Cairngorm Mountain and the Alford Bowling Club, both of whom built new carties from scratch especially for the event. the fourth finalist, Jim Ewen, is an experienced hand, having raced down Cairngorm before as a competitor in the Highland Wheels Extreme street luge events held in 2001 and 2002.

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17 Teams Entered for Cairngorm Soapbox Extreme

Haldir's Arrow17 intrepid gravity racers will compete in the inaugural Cairngorm Soapbox Extreme for the honour of being crowned "King of the Mountain".  Teams will be travelling from as far away as Suffolk to compete over two days on the longest course in Britain.

First to sample the course will be Haldir's Arrow (left) from Glasgow. This cartie has some pedigree, having raced twice before at the Belchford Downhill, and should be very competitive.

The carties will run individually against the clock in practice and qualifying runs on Saturday evening, and then run in head-to-head group eliminations on Sunday. The heats will be run for the first twenty minutes of every hour from 10.00am, with the finals starting at 4.00pm.

The full list of competitors is;

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"The Cheats" Clean Up at Catterline

Tequila Slammer MkII

The Cheats - Won despite collecting a cone
The Bandit

The Bandit - Collecting vegetation and bending wheels

"The Cheats" decided not to use their new cartie - the Slammer MkIII - and instead chose the more manoeuvrable MkII version to run at the 2009 Catterline Cartie Challenge, and the decision paid off when they won both the Connons Shield for single fastest time of the day and the Constructors Trophy for best aggregate time - a feat they managed despite collecting a five second penalty for taking a cone several yards down the course.

It was a close competition, and, with two runs completed, Robert Lindsay was in first place for fastest time and Tea Weasel's "Flying Ferret" had the best aggregate time, but both slipped up in the final run of the day to let the Cheats take both prizes. There was disappointment for Firstdrive Cars "Bandit", which had two runs that were quicker than anything else on the hill, but also had two 5 second penalties on every run and so finished well down the field overall. Consolation was had, however, with their disasterous first run. Although it was hopeless from a competitive point of view, it was awarded the "Spirit of the Carties" trophy for gathering a large amount of vegetation in the process of trying to navigate the tight and twisty course.

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Border Bogies - Unofficial Results

MIRA Lindley SpecialBest Aggregate Time (Adults) : Slammer Mk III

Fastest Time of the Day : MIRA Lindley Special

Best Aggregate Time (Juniors) : Haggis Hunters

Best Engineered : Slammer Mk III

Team Tunbridge's 'MIRA Lindley Special' (pictured right) was easily the fastest cartie there, and a good 4 or 5 seconds quicker than its closest rivals, Slammer Mk III and Flying Ferret. However, it proved the old racing maxim "If you want to finish first, first you must finish", as its overall time was wrecked on the second run when it spun off into the bales just yards from the finish line.

Fortunately, for all the data geeks amongst us, there was a state of the art datalogger on board to record in minute detail the events leading up to its exit from the track, and driver Charles Armstrong-Wilson has written a really interesting piece to explain it in detail. It's got graphs and everything.



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Cartie Testing at Durris

With Cairngorm Soapbox Extreme just two months away, several teams gathered at Durris for a spot of pre-race testing yesterday. Chris Harvey was there to report on the action for STV, and you can see the result on the STV News tonight at 6.15pm.

The testing proved very useful, and with some carties clocking 50mph in places, the high speed "shakedown" revealed some issues that are not always apparent at lower speeds.