On Saturday 1st September 2018 at 2pm, there will be a Soapbox Challenge taking place at Accrington and Rossendale College. The initiative is sponsored by local innovative engineering and Technology Company, Emerson and Renwick Ltd, the event will be the first of its kind in the borough.

‘Soapbox cars’ were historically made from wooden soap crates, hence the name, but materials have become more varied since the first publicly recorded Soapbox race in 1904!

Emerson and Renwick are calling for groups or organisations to enter – one of the first entrants to sign up is Andrew Turner at local company Langtec. Competitors will be challenged to create a four-wheeled non-motorised Soapbox vehicle, using only gravity for fuel and speed. The Soapbox must have a form of steering and the ability to brake and competitor safety helmets must be worn – aside from that, there are no rules … it’s simply the first to reach the finishing line wins!

Novelty prizes will also be awarded to competitors such as the Best Soapbox Design and Best Team Costume.

There will be three categories for people to enter:

– Businesses

– Charities/community groups

– Individuals/friends/families and Under 12’s

With very little construction needed and technical or engineering minimal, soapbox cars make perfect projects for children – something that the whole family can enjoy. People can enter as a family, alone, or as a team and there are no limits to how inventive and adventurous your Soapbox can be.

In true champion style, there will be an outdoor podium on the day to present awards to winners at 4pm at Accrington and Rossendale College. The overall winner on the day will choose a registered charity for 50% of the fees to be donated to.

The Soapbox Challenge will take place on the same day as the Rally Challenge and the Chocolate Festival in Accrington Town Centre – all three events combined providing entertainment for all the family.

Sponsors, Emerson and Renwick Ltd, are this year celebrating 100 years in business – they established in 1918 as a Manufacturer of Textile Finishing Machinery. 2017 saw Emerson and Renwick becoming Hyndburn Business Award winners for Large Business of the Year; seeing the company being recognised as one of the most successful and sustainable in the borough.

Ben Clements, Managing Director, said:

“Our longevity and success are directly attributable to the people in the business who also depend on the community at large. This event will bring a lot of fun and something different to the town. We are looking forward to seeing all of the soapboxes entered and watching people rally together. We expect this event to create a lot of excitement and we definitely encourage people to enter the challenge. As a local company we are really proud of #AmazingAccrington and we want to be a part of things that happen within the community, so it only seemed right to sponsor the first ever (of many I’m guessing) annual Soapbox Challenge.”

The event will be organised by Scott Dawson Advertising as a part of the #AmazingAccrington initiative. Managing Director, Murray Dawson, commented:

“We’re really excited about this. It will appeal to all of the family and entice those with a need for speed in to the town. #AmazingAccrington is about sharing what the town and our engineering and manufacturing prowess can do. I think we can all agree that there is a huge sense of community pride in this town and that’s the one thing I want to be boasted. The Soapbox Challenge will be a fun, high-spirited event that can have everyone involved: from manufacturing companies to schools, colleges and civic groups. We have no doubt that it will be a hit!”

The Soapbox Challenge is £100 to enter per team for businesses (20 spaces) and £25 to enter per team for community groups & charities (5 spaces) and friends, families, individuals and under 12’s (5 spaces). 50% of the entry fees will be donated to the winner’s chosen registered charity.

Entries for the Soapbox Challenge must be submitted by 31st July 2018.

Dominic Henry from Emerson & Renwick testing out our Soapbox course at Accrington & Rossendale College


  • Every team must have insurance to cover injury and damages, with evidence.
  • Driver must be aged 8 minimum to take part in the Individuals, Family and Friends or Under 12’s category or the Charities and Community Groups category.
  • Drivers must be over the age of 14 to take part in the Business category.
  • Anyone under the age of 16 must have parental permission.
  • Soapboxes can be entered into more than one competition race.
  • Up to 8 persons per team with one driver per race entered.
  • Soapboxes will be inspected for loose ends or sharp edges prior to racing.
  • Scrutineer’s decision is final.
  • Teams are responsible for ongoing risk assessments before and during the event and, if at any point their Soapbox vehicle becomes unsafe for use, they must withdraw from the competition.
  • All drivers must wear a helmet.
  • Drivers must be covered – long sleeved tops and long trousers are compulsory.
  • Drivers must remain seated at all times, failure to do so will result in disqualification.
  • The organisers have the right to refuse entry or withdraw entry of any kart or driver if in their opinion they pose a threat of injury either to themselves or others.
  • Trophies will be given to overall winners.
  • Novelty prizes will be given for Best Designed Soapbox and Best Team Costume.
  • Competition entry number must be displayed on the soapbox vehicle

For Soapbox Race specific personal liability insurance with a notable company from just £8, please call 01494 484800 or visit:



  • must not have any loose parts or sharp edges
  • must be less than 1.5m wide, 1.5m tall and less than 2.5m in length
  • must have a clearance of minimum 10cm below the seat
  • must have a functional steering part
  • must have a braking mechanism
  • may have seatbelts: not mandatory but recommended
  • should be built of a good, sturdy, construction standard
  • must have no glass material due to the risk of shattering
  • wood, plastic or/and steel chassis is permitted
  • must not have any weights added inside or outside of the vehicle
  • try to keep it lightweight

Got a Question?

    Entry Form

      Category (required)BusinessesCharities/Community GroupsIndividuals/Friends/Families/Under 12s

      Is the driver over the age of 16?YesNo

      Can you confirm that the driver has parental permission if under the age of 16? YesNo

      *Disclaimer* any information provided on this form may be used in marketing materials.
      You are giving us permission to use any information provided on this form upon signing.
      Any false information provided will result in the disqualification of yourself/your team from this event and any future endeavours.
      Organisers will not take responsibility for any mishaps, loss or damage – partaking will be done at your own risk.
      Upon signing this form you understand that entry fee is non-refundable: you are confirming that you have read, understood and agree to be bound by the terms and conditions.
      Organisers retain the right to cancel the event due to adverse weather.
      By signing this form I am confirming we have obtained personal liability insurance and can provide evidence of this.