students and staff had a very successful day at the Crazy Jeans Soapbox Race, held in Dunorlan Park in Tunbridge Wells.
Thousands of spectators attended the madcap time trial race, which saw over 40 soapboxes, driven by representatives from local businesses and organisations, hurtle down the zany track in aid of local charities Hospice in the Weald and Taylor Made Dreams. Our students got involved in building the framework for all competing soapboxes.
Under the supervision of lecturers, the students designed and built the soapbox framework, including chassis, steering wheels, brakes and tyres, which were then delivered to participating racers to be decorated. They worked tirelessly to get all the karts ready, also teaming up with BBC Radio Kent’s Anna Louise Walter to design, build and decorate her kart for the event, with lecturer Gary Crowhurst as her co-driver on the day.
The College’s two teams – one consisting of students and one staff – both had dramatic runs negotiating the various haybales and jumps. The student kart came a cropper on a particularly dicy corner, but recovered well and still completed the course with a respectable time. The staff kart, ‘The Silver Bullet’, driven by Andy Joyce and Gary Crowhurst, positively flew down the track to a fantastic podium finish in 2nd place.
Gary commented on the College’s involvement with the event: “As a local college, it’s important to reach out to the community and involve ourselves. This has many benefits, but the advantages it offers our students are at the forefront. Blending the boundaries between academia and practical experiences in the real world results in a well-rounded and vibrant education at the College.”
Nicole Piesse Turner, Director of Chatty Hatter, who launched Crazy Jean’s Events with Garry Jeffery in 2018, added: “Knowing that the Soapbox Race can have such a positive impact on the education of these students is extremely rewarding, and one of the many reasons that we knew the event would not be a one-hit wonder.”
As if our Motorsports students weren’t busy enough, they also worked extremely hard to organise the Tonbridge Motor Show, raising further funds for the two charities involved in the Soapbox Race. Visitors enjoyed looking around a number of different cars - including muscle cars, classic cars, street cars, supercars - as well as a workshop area and a racing simulator, and hearing live music.