Ashby Soapbox Derby attracts thousands to Market Street - with plans to do it again next year

By Graham Hill

20th May 2024 | Local News

The Kingswood Design cart crosses the line in a blaze of colour. All photos: Ashby Nub News
The Kingswood Design cart crosses the line in a blaze of colour. All photos: Ashby Nub News

Organisers of Sunday's Ashby Soapbox Derby are already planning next year's event after more than 5,000 turned up in Market Street.

The home made carts drew huge numbers to the town centre - and local businesses felt the benefit with some reporting their best day ever, and one even running out of food and drink.

More than 30 teams took part in the inaugural event which was organised by Ashby Business Improvement District (BID).

Hot weather helped draw the crowds and BID official Stuart Benson said the day was a huge success.

He told Ashby Nub News: "We felt the numbers would be there, the Facebook page had about 3,800 people saying they were interested.

"You never know what will happen, but it was right, and the weather was kind to us.

"We think at least 5,000 people came along, they were the length of Market Street and around six or seven people deep.

The Hilltop Dads were racing for Team Alfred

"If you look at the drone footage online, it'll give you some idea. It's hard to quantify as it wasn't a ticketed event.

"I have never seen it like that before, people really came out to support the event.

"But it's an event that was on from 10am until 3pm so people were coming down to the town all the time.

"We felt it was a big success. Will we do it again next year? I think we'd be stupid not to!

"Even a fraction of those numbers would be good for the town."

Stuart said it was not just the racing that attracted people.

Huge crowds lined Market Street for the event

One of the benefits of the Derby was to show visitors what the town has to offer.

He added: "Businesses reported their best day of takings ever - and one cafe had to close early as they ran out of ingredients.

"The Co-op at the end of Market Street said it did £5,000 in one hour, which was crazy.

"We've had phenomenal feedback from the businesses. All of the bars were very busy as well.

"One of the effects of the event is that people were able to get into the town centre, see what it has to offer and hopefully return.

"It shows people supported the town itself."

The day was not without incident as one car almost fell apart after taking on the 'Kicker' ramp with another crashing into the hay bales.

Stuart added: "It was what the crowd wanted to see - not everyone doing the same thing.

"The teams really got into the spirit of it with their fancy dress and unusual vehicles.

"We have a chat group and the feedback from the competitors has been good."

Stuart says aspects of the event may be 'tweaked' next year.

But he added: "It seems people did heed the warnings about parking, and walked in to the town centre.

"That meant people could come and go from the event."


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