Sharlston Soap Box Derby 2010 preview

Soapbox racers will be making a speedy start to the New Year as they hit the streets in a host of wacky, home-made cars to raise cash for a Leeds charity.

The Sharlston Soap Box Derby will see racers from around the country cheered on by hundreds of locals on New Year's Day as they pilot their carts down a 500 yard hill at speeds of up to 25 mph.

The crazy competition is now in its third year and will raise much-needed cash for Martin House Children's Hospice.

Andrew Palmer, who helped put the race together, told the YEP: "Me and a friend took part in a race down in Dorset a few years ago then we were sitting in the pub one day and we thought that nobody does any local village events like this here anymore, so we just thought why don't we try and do something ourselves?

"We started it just for a laugh really, and to raise some money but then almost 1,000 people turned up to watch the first year, then in the second year, when people had more idea what it was all about, we had around 1,500 there.

"People take it quite seriously and make a lot of modifications to their cars but really it's all about having fun and rasing as much as possible."

Last year's event pulled in teams from Wolverhampton and the Caribbean – with two competitors on holiday from San Juan taking part.

Competitors, who last year raced in cars styled like a London bus and

The Flintstones, have to follow a string of strict rules and regulations on how the cart has to be built.

Racers compete in teams of two, sprinting from the start line with the carts for 20m then jumping onto their carts and staying on for the rest of the course.

Organisers have to get insurance and apply for a road closure in

Sharlston from the local authority.

Last year's event raised just under 2,500 for Second Chance Headway Centre.

More details about the derby can be found at: www.sharlstonsoapboxderby.co.uk or on Facebook.

John Garner (left) and Gareth Marshall of LDC

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