No soapbox race for 2020 as organisers seek break
PUBLISHED: 16:22 22 July 2019 | UPDATED: 16:25 22 July 2019
Portishead's soapbox race will not be held in 2020 as organisers decide to 'hit the brakes' amid 'increased financial demands'.
The event, which returned in 2017 after a six-decade hiatus, attracted thousands of people to the Lake Grounds on July 14 and raised £20,000 for charity - but organisers have taken a pause after being faced with a number of 'new challenges'.
The high-speed action has provided huge entertainment for massive crowds since the race returned for the first time since the 1950s, as daredevils in homemade karts have weaved their way down the obstacle-packed Esplanade Road course.
However, fans will have to wait until at least 2021 to see the race again, but organisers hope to return with 'fresh energy' after a fallow year.
The not-for-profit event, which has raised £40,000 for good causes since its return, has relied on the support of sponsors to keep it free to attend.
The decision is similar to the one made by organisers of the town's carnival - another of Portishead's showpiece summer attractions - who opted to suspend the event in 2019 due to financial difficulties in staging it last year.
A spokesman for the soapbox event said: "We have been completely overwhelmed by the support and sheer enthusiasm.
"Every year, a small core team spend 12 months planning, and working incredibly hard to get us ready for the next race.
"As the event has grown, each year has brought new challenges that are becoming harder to overcome - from increased financial demands, ever rising documentation and ongoing dialogue with local authorities, through to the guaranteed assurance required that our local road infrastructure and town can handle an event of this size.
"We have therefore made the decision to hit the brakes, and to take a pause in 2020, and will not be holding a Portishead Soapbox Race next year."
The organisers' aim is for the event will 'continue for years to come', and hope it will become 'part of Portishead's heritage'.
The spokesman added: "One of our main objectives has always been to sustain the future of the Portishead Soapbox Race.
"We must taking time to ensure we can continue to deliver a fun day, aimed at raising awareness and much needed funds for local charities, with the community of Portishead at its heart."