Kiwi Bobsled (Isaac) in front of The Dragonator.
Photo: Minty Fresh Photography

Soapbox Racing Team


Soapbox racing has become something of big deal for Greendale School pupil, six year old Isaac Budd who recently attended the ‘TiMOru’ Soapbox Derby in Timaru, with his co-driver dad, Joe Budd. In his sleek black and white, creatively designed kart, it was no surprise that he proudly brought home the second place title in his age bracket.

The event, which was first run in the 70’s and 80’s made a return this year after a group of enthusiasts spent two years planning the event’s relaunch.

Organisers, fundraising group TiMOru (set up in 2011 – is group of mates doing their bit for Men’s Health and Movember) set themselves two main objectives; one to bring back the fun and excitement of soapbox racing and the other to promote and fundraise for men’s health through ‘Movember’ (an annual fundraising event involving the growing of moustaches during the month of November to highlight men’s health). They planned to get work mates, team mates, friends, fathers and sons involved collectively  in a fun project to encourage conversation.

Building the kart has provided a wealth of quality of time for Joe, Isaac and Austin (Isaac’s younger brother) as they have worked alongside a family friend who was the welder for the project.

Isaac had his own special jobs in the build, including some enjoyable time with supervised power tool use and the boys had a scrapbook to draw pictures of what they wanted as a design. Isaac, most importantly, was involved in the setting up of the seat position, handle bar height/position and visibility/protection from kart sides. He was the intended driver of the kart – so everything needed to be perfect.

Race day began with an early start for volunteers, who had to help set up the course using two truckloads of hay bales and assemble fencing. However this didn’t take long and then the junior racers got to give racing a go.

The race was divided into two classes; under sixteen year old juniors, which covered school groups, community groups, father and son groups (both kit set and custom built karts); or open class, covering any age and any design.

The junior course was downhill with hay bales to navigate while the open class saw small jumps added to the course.

Isaac’s dad, Joe, reported that Isaac was extremely excited on the day, “he loved it and would have had me push him back up the hill twenty-five more times if we were allowed, he was in boy heaven, so wasn’t bothered where he placed in the race,” Joe explained.

Joe, Isaac and Austin have two spots booked for next year’s race, with the hope that Austin, who will then be five and half, will race in the cart Isaac has just competed in, with modifications. The three of them are already planning a new cart for Isaac and spending the time together to design and build it makes the whole project worthwhile they all agreed.