MORE THAN 110,000 ANGELENOS CROWDED DOWNTOWN’S STREETS AT RED BULL SOAPBOX RACE L.A.
NEW RECORD SET – THREE TEAMS REACH SPEEDS OVER 45 MPH
Red Bull Soapbox Race Los Angeles brought out the Wild Things, the Tin Man and a team of firemen…oh yeah, and did we mention the crowd of 111,000?!? Despite the rising temperatures, Angelenos came out in droves to watch 40 homemade soapboxes from across the US race through Downtown L.A.’s streets. The urban course caused crash after crash with jumps, a 90-degree turn and tight chicanes, but some teams managed to master the elements and tore through the finish line at lightning speed – with three teams reaching speeds over 45mph!
San Francisco’s Team Ironheade claimed the top podium spot and a V.I.P. NASCAR experience with their soapbox modeled after the soon-to-be-released video game Brütal Legend. Their blistering speed and heavy metal rock theme tore the course to shreds, and with it, the competition. The team driver, Sean Feeley, “just tried to keep two wheels on the ground, but by the end I didn’t have any brakes!” Local team Ludicrous Speed!!! took second place with their Winnebago and memorable costumes and skit based on the movie Spaceballs. The third place team also won the People’s Choice Award, and they aren’t even from L.A.! Denver’s Team Speed Racer won the hearts of Southern California and a day of high-speed go-kart racing with their seamless replica of the famous Mach 5.
Additional crafts that braved the unforgiving course included a lifeguard tower, a grand piano, an oversized bottle of Tapatio hot sauce, a giant brain, a banana hammock, and college rivals USC and UCLA mascots.
STARS, SPEED AND SWEAT
Teams were judged on three criteria – speed, creativity and showmanship – by a panel of celebrity judges including acting legend Erik Estrada, “American Idol” contestant Kimberly Caldwell, motocross star and World Record holder Ronnie Renner, ESPN SportsCenter Host Stan Verrett and X Games host Sal Masekela. Estrada said the event, “was a lot of fun – Red Bull really made a nice contribution to the community,” whereas Renner couldn’t get over the day’s crashes which gained instant respect from the world class athlete: “Let’s face it, you can get hurt here just as bad as you can at the X Games - and these guys aren’t professional athletes, so it’s pretty cool.”
Angelenos were also met with a few familiar voices over the loudspeaker including Jillian Barberie Reynolds and Paul Rodriguez who both hosted the day’s festivities.
THE WHEELS OF HISTORY
Los Angeles may be the latest pit stop, but the Red Bull Soapbox roads have been braved by many daredevils before. The first Red Bull Soapbox Race took place in Belgium in 2000, and has since visited almost 30 countries including Austria, England, Jamaica, Czech Republic and Australia to name a few. The first U.S. event was held in St. Louis in 2006 and the event made two U.S. stops this year in Atlanta (August 29) and Los Angeles (September 26).
It may be fast, it may be wild, it may even be weird, but there are rules to keep it legal. All driving machines must be entirely human-powered – no stored power or external energy sources allowed – though they must have a braking system. To maintain ground clearance, soapboxes should sit at least 7" from the ground, and be no taller than 7' high. And finally, all soapboxes can have one or two drivers, but must weigh no more than 176 lbs (without the drivers).