Hackney team finish as runners-up in crazy international ‘wacky races’
PUBLISHED: 13:00 19 July 2013
Four daring friends raced down a hill in a man-powered coffin car in one of the wackiest competitions to hit the capital in years on Sunday.
The Coffin Dodgers from Hackney came second out of 70 soapbox teams from around the country that “went to hell and back” at the Red Bull Soapbox Race at Alexandra Park in Haringey.
Judges scored entries on creativity, showmanship and the ability to avoid hay bales and career over jumps to complete the 800-metre course in the fastest possible time.
The Coffin Dodgers’ vehicle was built by former undertaker Russ Wymann, who lives in Edmeston Close, Homerton, and three of his friends who became his pallbearers for the occasion.
The barman at The Anchor and Hope pub in High Hill Ferry, Clapton, said: “The judges loved us. It was brilliant to come second. I had a fantastic team.
“Our vehicle cost £50 to make and the one that won cost a lot more. It just goes to show it’s not all about the money.
“I had a four-piece funeral band leading me on stage and playing a New Orleans freestyle funeral dirge.
“All my pallbearers followed behind and lowered the coffin on stage, took off their top hats, paid due respects and proceeded to push me down the ramp and send me on my journey through hell and back.
“There were three jumps, one of which is a step called Apples and Pears. The final jump was the big flip which took out a lot of vehicles. A lot of people crashed.
“I didn’t have any wheel brakes. I crashed at the end. I went over the final jump and into the hay bales.
“I had to roll the coffin out, which is why it’s now damaged.”
Mr Wymann continued: “I was not surprised because it was all in my dream that we would come second. Everything went like a dream. I don’t normally have premonitions.”
Team-mate Phil Selvey, 47, who lives on the River Lea in Hackney, said: “It was a brilliant day. We were supported by so many people. It felt like half of Hackney were there with us. I think we intimidated a few of the teams by our support.
“Russ did us proud. We wanted him to roll the car over the finishing line. We came back to The Anchor and Hope and celebrated with 100 of our friends.”
The team won a trophy and a day at a race track driving performance cars.
After their racing thrills, they are now looking for a less deadly challenge.
Mr Wymann said: “Now we are going to organise a cricket league. People should pop into The Anchor and Hope if they are interested.”
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