The wacky and hair-raising world of soapbox racing is careering its way into Bradford city centre for the first time this year.
Bradford Business Improvement District (BID) is bringing the Super Soapbox Challenge to the city’s streets on 1 May.
The BID, a limited not-for-profit company funded by more than 600 levy-paying businesses and organisations to help promote and develop the city centre, had hoped to stage the event last year but it had to be postponed because of the Covid pandemic.
Following the huge success of the big festive fireworks display, the BID is determined to bring more crowd-pulling major events to Bradford’s retail core.
BID chairman Ian Ward said: “It was a huge shame that we couldn’t stage this last year because the announcement prompted a brilliantly positive reaction and there was genuine excitement starting to build up.
“Now that the Plan B restrictions have been lifted, we have a great opportunity to get this fantastic event off the ground and get people coming back into the city centre to see just how much we have to offer while, at the same time, supporting local shops and venues which have been badly hit by the pandemic and raising money for charity.”
The BID is the principal sponsor of the Super Soapbox Challenge but further support will be needed from local and regional businesses to help get it off the starting grid.
Mr Noble added: “We really want to make this happen for Bradford but delivering an event of this type will require partnership working and a number of sponsors to come forward before we can fully commit to it.
“These soapbox events take place across many cities in the UK as well as Europe and they are increasingly popular. They’re also very good for shops and businesses, bringing in lots of families for a fun-packed day-out and leaving a lasting feel-good impression on visitors from further afield.
“Experience elsewhere suggests it will be great for the city centre and is likely to become an annual event if we can get the first one off the ground.”
The races, which will wend their way downhill through the city centre on a course still to be finalised, will be staged by a company which has already achieved major success with similar events in places such as York and Barrow-in-Furness, in Cumbria, where Eddie ‘The Eagle’ Edwards was among the competitors.
Andrew Pearson, events marketing director at the organisers, The Super Soapbox Challenge Company, said: “It will be a fantastic, free community event for Bradford which we predict will bring 20,000 people into the centre for a fun-packed, family day out.
“Our post-event research on similar soapbox race-days we’ve organised elsewhere suggests that between 20-25 per cent of attendees will travel from outside of the city so it’s a great way to showcase Bradford to new visitors too.”
Individuals and teams taking part in the event will be able to use it to raise money for charity and schools and charities themselves will also be encouraged to enter. Businesses can enter corporate teams to build and race their carts as well as non-corporate groups.
Over and above trophies for the top racers, entrants can compete for awards such as Most Innovative Cart Design, Best Turned-out Soapbox crew, and even Joker of the Day.
A variety of sponsorship packages, costing from £500, are available and any business or organisation interested in supporting the event is asked to contact Andrew Pearson on 07885 944478 or e-mail email@example.com.
Businesses can put their name to winners’ trophies and medals, the stage, the start ramp and finish barriers, course barriers, pit stop areas and more.