Scouts just miss out in soapbox racer contest

Stuart Harrison in the First Lurgan Explorers' soapbox.
Stuart Harrison in the First Lurgan Explorers' soapbox.

A team from 1st Lurgan Scouts just missed out on top honours at the soapbox race during Hillsborough Oyster Festival on Saturday.

It was the third year in a row the Explorers team led by James Stewart have gone in for the competition and the boys managed to match their second place finish from last year.

New additions to the soapbox racer for 2013 were disc brakes, modified steering, new rear wheels (scooter wheels from eBay) and additional padding in the cockpit.

Following an inspection by race commentator Plum Tyndall the boys’ vehicle was given the thumbs up.

Plum was pleased by the hard work put in by James Stewart (Team Principal and Chief Mechanic) and his 1st Lurgan Explorer team during the off-season, often working long into the night.

Race conditions were very wet, with the track so wet in fact that after the first practice run the rules were changed with a push start on vehicles being banned by the organisers.

On the first run driver Stuart Harrison negotiated the track safely and had the second best time. However the brakes had been binding so we knew we could improve.

Brakes were repaired during the short intervals between runs and a better time was anticipated.

However with the lack of a push start it actually got worse.

Still, considering everyone was playing according to same rules so it meant the position of second fastest was maintained.

Stuart managed five successful runs without incident to take second place in the Junior Section.

It matched Mark McIlwaine’s second place finish last year and was a considerable improvement on 2011’s outing when the kart, driven by Jordan McIlwaine, unfortunately crashed on its first run due to a collapsed wheel.

As soon as the last race was over Stuart made tracks to Mourneview Park to watch his beloved Glenavon, leaving last year’s driver Mark McIlwaine to collected the cup on Stuart’s behalf.

Meanwhile James Stewart and the rest of his pit crew went to a local eaterie for a well deserved burger and chips.

For next year, the Explorers have vowed to work on speed with further fine tuning to the braking system.