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Wacky races as home-made carts take to the tarmac near Ludlow

South Shropshire | News | Published:

The final touches have been put to home-made go-carts of all shapes and sizes, ready to take to the track this weekend.

The annual Richards Castle Soap Box Derby is set to go ahead tomorrow as planned, after fears the event's days may be numbered.

The quirky family day out regularly attracts hundreds of people to the village near Ludlow on the Shropshire border, and has raised £65,000 for charity over the last decade - but due to a shortage of volunteers the call was put out for extra helpers to save it for its 11th year.

The drive was a success and a huge crowd is expected to watch the thrills of soap box racing at Hanway Common at Richards Castle.

Carts will be going against the clock down the 550 metre course with a 50 metre descent and entries so far include team titles such as Four Brainless Idiots, Nutty Speed Shop, The Downhill Billies and Scrapheap Challengers.

One of the teams that will be racing is father and son duo Maitland McLaren with their mini replica of a 1972 McLaren Can-Am sports car. Robin Maitland, a 55-year-old gate maker from Overton, will be entering the cart in the races with his 19-year-old son Bruce.

He said: "We've entered prize-winning carts before, usually in the novelty category - over the years the same chassis underneath has been used for a Santa's sleigh, a royal dinging table, a retractable Tower of Pisa and Marge Simpson - but this time we decided to go for something a little more sophisticated. I haven't quite finished painting it yet."

Humphrey Salwey, chairman of the event, said: "Last year we appealed for more help to put on the day and save the event.

"We were very grateful for the considerable support that we received so thank you to all our volunteers, whether new or long serving.

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"It's going to be a fantastic day and we hope to raise lots of money for the local carer's charities."

All proceeds will go to Carer's Association groups and the Leominster-based Marches Family Network.

There will also be a bouncy castle and slide, jousting and a roller coast ride as well as rally cars, vintage tractors, Mercia Minis, vintage scramblers and a car boot sale.

Food and refreshments will include pig roast, burgers, ice creams, teas and cake by the WI, Hobson's Brewery bar and local Tudge's sausages.

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The event starts at 10am, entrance is £5, children under 16 free.

For more information visit www.richardscastlesoapbox.co.uk

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