The London leg of 2015’s Soapbox race is over, the crazy DIY constructions have been tested to their limits and beyond, with countless hay bales taking a battering.
This year’s winners were The Breakfast Club, entered by Absolute Radio presenter Christian O’Connell and his team, who hurtled to victory in a shape-shifting, crowd-pleasing soapbox. We got a chance to sit down with Rich Seale, a team member and Lead Automotive Designer for Seymourpowell.
For more information on the race and to watch some of the craziest crashes, head on over to Redbull.com/uk.
Where did the design idea come from?
A lot of people had a hand in it, but it was basically me and my boss Jez [White] who came up with everything and built it. Absolute Radio put a shout out asking if the company we work for, Seymourpowell, could help with the design and the build, and so we ended up taking both of those things on. As a company, we normally do quite serious transport projects, like car design and solving lots of world transport issues, so it was a tribute to our directors that they let us have some fun and do this thing. And it was really great fun.
There was a great atmosphere up on the hill. How did you feel as you were preparing for your run?
I was a bit nervous on my way to the start line, but everything kind of went to plan. We always said going into this, if we do 80% of it right, we’re going to win it. And I think we nailed 90% of it!
Did you have strategies for getting your racer down the hill as quickly as possible or was it mostly about the show? [The Breakfast Club’s racer shed first its A-Team van outer skin to reveal a Dodge Charger before shedding that skin to reveal a DeLorean]
Well, we tried to time the reveals, but on the day, you just go with it, don’t you? Most of it was cardboard, so it was very soapbox-y. As for the guys that went in the car, I think Richie [Firth] and Christian [O’Connell, the presenters from the Christian O’Connell Breakfast Show on Absolute Radio] drove it brilliantly and did the stunts perfectly, so I couldn’t have wished for anything more.
What’s your one piece of advice for next year’s competitors?
Think about entertaining the crowd, not just about making a good car. Put on a show!