The Red Bull Soapbox Race, Los Angeles 2017

The Idea
The last time Red Bull had a soapbox race in Los Angeles it was 2009. I was lucky enough to be a participant in that event as we built an elaborate treasure chest soapbox car and were feisty pirates in our first attempt at the race.

As is the case now, we didn’t win but we found the best part was the participation and weeks of building or designing with friends. The designing, testing, and camaraderie can’t be beat.

Skip ahead 8 years to Los Angeles 2017 and we were accepted into the event yet again! This time some of the first participants like myself, chose to let a new crop of newbie’s participate. So this time, it will be a new batch of participants in another of Staycationer JoJo’s master adventures.

The first step to getting accepted is to come up with an design idea and then draw or sketch it out for the Red Bull application. From there you fill in the information about the design, costumes, skits, etc.  Yes, you have to perform a skit for 30 seconds before the race starts. They want to know all about it including costumes, design, etc. This event isn’t all about racing and attempting to get the best time, it is also about showmanship, creativity, costumes, and construction.

We floated around a few ideas and the Beatles Yellow Submarine seemed to be the favorite, so it was a done deal. The naming of the team was next and of course they wanted a catchy title, so after much deliberation , “ 5 Buds and a Sub” was chosen.

With an allowed team of five, everything would be twisted as the four girls would dress up as the Beatles and the lone guy in the group would dress up as a crazy female fan. The vehicle would be a Yellow Submarine inspired from the 1968 Beatles animated movie of the same name.

The skit would be the Beatles dressed in colorful attire just like the animated movie and acting as if they are coming out for a concert. With guitars and microphones in hand, they would be waving to the crowd until a crazed female fan appears with a blond wig, hippie attire and a ”I love Paul” sign in her hand.

Luckily for us, our guy friend was comfortable in his masculinity to be able let us dress him up in this wild attire. The idea was that we wanted him to look like a man dressed up as a girl because it looked funny. At least to us it did. So we encouraged him to keep is mustache and goatee.

Once he…er…she enters the stage and spots Paul and Paul spots her, a chase ensues until Paul attempts to hide in the sub to get away from the fan, but the fan follows. The other Beatles lock them in and push them down the hill. Well, that was the plan but on race day and nerves flying around, it didn’t quite translate.

From Bicycle to Soapbox in 53 Days

Constructing the base of the soapbox fell on our male/crazy fan. He took two normal bicycles and used their braking system for front and back. He hooked up the steering and formed a crash bar on top. The vehicle had to be constructed by the parameters set by Red Bull so we could only make it so big. Plus we wanted it to hold two people. The base was made out of wood and he used metal to hold everything together. In addition, they had to be mindful of the final weight as there was a limit.

Once the steering and brakes were complete, it went out for its first test run on one of the quiet streets nearby. We tested on a steep hill that got the cart going about 30 miles an hour. Happily, the brakes held and the steering worked, just a few minor tweaks and that part of construction was done.

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