San Francisco sped into the history books at Red Bull Soapbox Race today as Team Trash flew down Dolores Street at 38.5 miles per hour in front of a record crowd of 100,000 revelers. Thirty-three teams in human-powered crafts ranging from the Transamerica Building to a doughnut, from a hammerhead shark to a trailblazing toaster and from the Star Wars Death Star to the Golden Gate Bridge brought silliness and style to the City by the Bay at the non-motorized sprint against the clock.
“There were a lot of good vehicles today and everyone was running really fast. We were really worried about the competition and the ramp, but we put so much work into this car and it paid off!” said Team Trash driver Derek Thew.
The team of real-life garbage men was joined on the awards podium by tree-loving Team Hugger in second place and the machismo-motored team Testoste-Rod in third. The People’s Choice Award went to crowd favorite team Rubik’s Cube with their puzzle shaped racer and horn rimmed glasses. Teams were judged on speed, creativity and showmanship by a panel of local celebrity judges including drag diva Heklina, famed musician Sheila E., San Francisco restaurateur Chris Cosentino and professional surfer and Red Bull athlete Jamie Sterling.
The crafts driving down Dolores Street didn’t just have speed – they also got major air! As the first race circuit to feature a jump, San Francisco’s Red Bull Soapbox Racers could choose to heighten their human-powered racing experience or opt for the safer choice known as “Sally Alley.” Homerun Heroes chose the ramp route and literally hit it out of the park, sending the baseball-shaped craft hurling down the hill. But when it came time for the skilled-shaped Team Breakfast Club to serve it up, they turned to toast, actually disintegrating on impact.
While Red Bull encourages the ridiculous, teams still had to abide by a few rules of the road. All Red Bull Soapbox Race cars had to be entirely human-powered – no stored power or external energy sources allowed. Secondly, all vehicles were required to be less than six feet wide, less than 20 feet in length and no more than seven feet from the ground. And finally, crafts could not weigh no more than 176 lbs (not including the driver).
The winning team nabbed an unforgettable NASCAR experience including flight and hotel for all four team members. Second prize is the ultimate driving day at one of the most challenging and exciting racetracks in the nation. Third place will receive a day of high speed go kart racing.
The San Francisco event puts the West Coast on the map of the 2008 Red Bull Soapbox Race national tour, with stops made earlier this fall in Philadelphia and Cincinnati. The final stop of the year will be in Denver on October 25. The first Red Bull Soapbox Race sped into Belgium in 2000, and has since visited almost 30 countries including Austria, Sweden, Australia and South Africa among others. The first Red Bull Soapbox Race in the U.S. was held in 2006 in St. Louis, MO, and last year saw pit stops in Seattle and Providence.