TV crew focuses on hamster-mad soapbox kart builders

A television crew has spent an afternoon on the De Montfort University Leicester (DMU) campus filming the team of staff and students who are building a ‘hamster’-powered soapbox racer.

soapbox TV kart 5

The Great Escape team from DMU’s Product Design department are creating a zany vehicle to enter in the televised Red Bull Soapbox Race on Sunday, July 9, at Alexandra Palace in North London.

The race will be broadcast on the Dave TV channel and a crew from UMTV visited DMU to film a short profile of the team at work on the project

soapbox TV Nick Rowan IMG_6767

“The basic idea is that the soapbox will be like a hamster ball, with a hamster inside escaping from the vets,” said team captain Emily Hancock, 21, from Market Rasen, who is about to graduate from her degree course and will stay on at DMU to do her Master’s.

The soapbox is being built in the DMU workshops, with the construction led by senior Product Design lecturer Nick Rowan, who will also be dressed as a hamster to drive the contraption.

soapbox TV team, Greg, Alice, Emily, Nick 4

The rest of the team are fellow final year students Sarah Wharton and Glenn Byford, with programme leader Alan Crummey playing a key support role from the start of the project.

The Great Escape team still need supporters to vote for them on the Red Bull Soapbox Race website plus helpers.

Follow the team’s progress @TGESoapbox2017 on twitter and to volunteer to help them, phone 07522 434661 or email

Red Bull Soapbox Race is an international event in which amateur drivers race homemade non-motorised soapbox vehicles, fuelled by nothing but sheer courage and the force of gravity in a downhill race.

The races have been held all around the world and entries are judged not only on their speed on the track, but also on their showmanship and creativity – the more outrageous, preposterous and ostentatious the better.

Posted on Friday 16th June 2017

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