Cairngorms National Park

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Gravity racing is coming to Cairngorm mountain

11th June 2009

Teams from across Britain will be converging on Cairngorm Mountain next month for a two day spectacular of gravity powered racing, featuring all the thrills of motorsport but without the noise or the emissions.

Cairngorm Soapbox Extreme, organised by the newly formed Scottish Cartie Association (SCA) and with funding secured through the Cairngorms Local Action Group LEADER programme, is the latest addition to the UK soapbox racing calendar.

SCA chairman Stephen Hall explained: “We wanted to put on something really spectacular to catch people’s imagination, and Cairngorm really is the ideal venue.

“The course, down the Cairngorm Ski Road, is two miles long and has a great mixture of straights and testing hairpin bends. We expect that top speeds will be well in excess of 50mph, and you really won’t find anything like this anywhere else in Britain.”

Gravity racing is the next step up from the humble soapbox cart, traditionally built by children from scavenged materials. But instead of pram wheels, planks and a bit of rope for steering, these are precision engineered racing machines driven with skill and passion.

“You’ll find all kinds of machines taking part, from carts build by blokes in sheds from whatever parts can lay their hands on right the way up to high tech’ masterpieces built by professional race teams such as Lotus and Honda” said Stephen.

And there is no shortage of courage either, for as Stephen explained: “It takes quite a lot of guts to hurtle down a hill on something you’ve made yourself, but to barrel down a mountain? This is definitely not a sport for jessies!”

He added: “We’ve had a great response from the local community and there is a real enthusiasm for the event in the area, not just in the local area but also further afield, from the North of Scotland right down to the South of England.

“We’ve had an amazing amount of support and help from lots of sources including the Aviemore Business Association and Cairngorm Mountain Ltd.”

A vital part of the jigsaw was achieved earlier in the year when funding was secured through the Cairngorms Local Action Group LEADER programme.

Stephen explained: “It was a huge boost when we learned we’d been awarded a grant, and things have just been a blur since then. It’s really catching on and is generating a lot of interest.”

The event will run on 25th and 26th July, with safety inspection of all the carts on Saturday being followed by practice sessions and timed qualifying. On Sunday the carts will race head to head in a do-or-die knockout to find the “King of the Mountain”.

For further information, including details on taking part, log on to www.soapboxracing.co.uk