A device made from discarded Land Rover panels has just touched down rather heaviy and lost one of it’s sheep… Welcome to the madcap world of soapbox racing!

The 4th annual “Brake For The Border” Soapbox Derby took place in th Wye-Valley village of Brockweir on September 21st under clear blue skies and the early tints of autumn in the trees.  Down a half mile road that falls some 350 feet to the finish line at the very edge of the England-Wales border (hence the name) a bizarre collection of gravity powered vehicles assembled to do battle.

Some were serious. Beautifuly designed and built. Others were inventive. One of two plain daft, with detatchable toy sheep!

Bugattis appeared to be a bit of a theme, the ‘Tank’ on the right (No.4) was however the event’s ony real casualty for even if several hard anding over the ramps bent axels and dislodged aerodynamic devices….

Only the ‘Tank’ actually did itsef any real harm when it rolled at the first of two chicanes and scraped it’s lovingly crafted metal bodywork! Sadly it took no further part in the competition.

Meanwhile the London Bus, the WW2 Tank (the sort that has a gun) the wheeled life boat and the tow truck from th CARS movie all managed to get to the bottom of the hill and brake before the Welsh order….or a trip into the river that marks it’s presence.

Inevitably the cream rises to the top, as one saying goes and the sleek, shiny “Shard”(below ) proved that other well worn adage “if it looks right – it is right” by streaking down the hill at an average speed of over 40mph… according to the commentator…. I’m not sure that was entirely true, maybe they had a speed trap at some point and that’s what he meant? The poor chap spent much of the afternoon fighting off a croaky voice that almost entirely vanishing on him at some points. Beer restored full vocal functions later on.


All in all a thoroughy good day was had by all and my two daughters, Charlotte (13) and Georgie (11) enjoyed fighting over the camera to produce most of the photos you see here.

Now this weekend in September is normally rather quiet for us, the book-selling events having concluded and the car trial season yet to start, so perhaps I need to make room in the shed for a soapbox project of our own in 2020?

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