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Thousands enjoy 'most popular soap box derby yet' as karts race through Hunstanton

It was a case of wacky races in Hunstanton on Sunday as thousands turned out to watch the annual Searles Soap Box Derby.

The Mystery Machine from Scooby Doo, Thomas the Tank Engine, and a pirate ship were among the handmade karts that zoomed through the town’s streets, which more people than ever before enjoyed.

This year, the course, which started at the town hall and finished near the bandstand, was dubbed as “new and faster” – but after one kart, by the King’s Lynn Police Cadets, flipped over during its first run, the ramp part of the course was removed for safety reasons for the second run.

Action from the Searles Hunstanton Soap Box Derby.. (17233657)
Action from the Searles Hunstanton Soap Box Derby.. (17233657)

The crowds also enjoyed entertainment on The Green, which included stalls, children’s immersive theatre, a gin tent and live music.

The free event, organised by West Norfolk Council, saw more teams than ever race, with 44 teams from all over the country, including some from Newark, Wellingborough and Milton Keynes, amongst others.

A council spokesman said each kart raced twice, once at about midday and again later in the afternoon, and for the first time this year, there was a speed trap that recorded several karts travelling faster than 30mph.

The winners of the derby were:

Adults: 1st: Hunstanton Round Table (31 secs and 28 secs); 2nd: The Green Machine (35 secs and 30 secs); 3rd: Apollo 11 A (36 secs and 30 secs)

Under 13s: 1st: Team Parrin (34 secs and 34 secs); 2nd: Elevation Youth Club (37 secs and 37 secs); 3rd: Totally Toy Story 1 (42 secs and 45 secs)

Under 16s: 1st: King’s Lynn Police Cadets (1min 40 secs and 37 secs); 2nd: Team Bintley B (48 secs and 1min 31 secs; 3rd: Whomsley’s Wonderbug (55 secs and 51 secs)

Veterans: Winner: Apollo 11B (34 secs and 34 secs)

The 'concours d’elegance' awards in each category went to: adults – Dad’s Army; under 13s – Tigers; under 16s – King's Lynn Police Cadets; veterans – Apollo 11.

The event’s overall winner was Hunstanton Round Table – the driver for which, Ed Napolitano, now has a hat trick of victories, having been crowned the overall champion in all three of Hunstanton’s Soap Box Derbies.

Elizabeth Nockolds, deputy leader of West Norfolk Council and cabinet member for culture, heritage and health, said: “It was an amazing day for everyone. Since the borough council reintroduced the soap box derby to Hunstanton in 2017 it’s gone from strength the strength.

“This year there were more racers and more spectators than ever before. The new course was faster and more fun and I’ve enjoyed watching the creatively made karts racing down the streets of the town. It truly is the biggest soap box derby in Norfolk.”

The rain held off all day and only appeared as the winners were being awarded their trophies by West Norfolk mayor Geoff Hipperson and Mrs Nockolds.

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