To continue the friendly rivalry with our sister company TW Services, DDS decided to compete in the Wheels and Fins Festival in Broadstairs this year with blind faith that we could continue our winning streak following the triumphant win in the notorious 2015 football match.
Did we spend fortunes on a top spec cart? No. Did we need a gimmick? No. Raw racing talent, courage and determination were the key requirements to take us speeding over the finishing line in our virgin voyage of soapbox racing.
The odds were stacked against us, TW were very familiar with the event – successful even in previous years – however passion overrode inexperience. The commitment to training was not without its risks, one of the team members even sustaining injuries during the practice runs, however being men of focus their fear turned to adrenaline, steeling them for the main event.
Reminiscent of a scene from Cool Runnings, albeit in Summer and next to the beach, the underdog yet quietly confident Team DDS wheeled their modest soapbox cart to the starting line, studiously ignoring the mutterings of doubters in the crowd. With a mighty shove, the cart was free flowing down hill at speeds approaching 40mph, hiccupping over the jumps as graceful as an elephant jumping hurdles, Team Captain at the wheel, fighting to keep control and follow the racing line. The excitement was palpable, the racing time competitive. We made it to the next heat – unfortunately, TW did not.
We were the victors against our sister company once more, but the war was not won. The next heat, our competition became more experienced and polished. Still we were not deterred. Our home made cart had served us well so far, it was time to raise our game.
Final heat, tensions increased, Team DDS pushed the cart with an almighty shove – this was our swansong, we were realists, knew when we were beaten despite only a couple of inches between carts racing through the chicanes – but nevertheless we’d go out in style. Gliding down the hill, the black beast leaving a trail of red flare in our wake, we finished that race with pride, knowing we could hold our heads high.
Finishing in joint second place, yet above TW Services, Team DDS had achieved the impossible as a virgin competitor.
A huge thank you is well deserved to our talented colleagues within DDS – from the racing team to the mechanics and fitters who made and enhanced the cart – a brilliant team effort all round.
Needless to say, Wheels and Fins 2017 will be an exciting rematch……