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Saturday, July 13, 2024

Soapbox engineers have designs on Red Bull challenge after Accrington achievement

Engineers from a Rossendale manufacturing business have set their sights on their next big feat after success in the annual AmazingAccrington Soapbox Challenge.

The team from Rospen Industries sped to third place in the town centre race – their first-ever soapbox challenge – in a car they engineered at the Haslingden business.

The podium spot, the highest ranking for a team from Rossendale, has now led to the ‘Rospen Screws’ team steering their creation towards their next ambition – entering the acclaimed Red Bull Soapbox Race.

Stephen McCabe, project engineer at the weighing and metering specialist, was in the driving seat for the race, taking fourth place in the heat and then third in the final.

He and a team of enthusiasts spent six months designing and building the Rospen soapbox, drawing on the expertise they provide to clients in sectors as diverse as defence, food, construction and energy.

He said: “It was a fantastic day and we couldn’t believe how well we did in our first event, especially because we were still making tweaks to the soapbox the day before.

“With the crowd cheering everyone on it was a brilliant atmosphere and great fun to be part of. We’re already looking at how we can improve our soapbox and making enquiries to enter Rospen into the Red Bull event for 2023.”

The project team of eight spent time researching and then designing the soapbox to industry standards, before it was built on the shopfloor at Rospen’s base at Waterside Business Park, and then painted in the spray booth usually reserved for the machinery they tailor-make for clients worldwide.

There were last-minute tweaks the day before the race – and between the heat and final, too.

Stephen said: “We went out to buy two children’s bikes the day before and retrofitted the wheels onto the soapbox because we realised on our test run that the wheels we had were bringing it to a stop, even going downhill.

“Then, after our first run with a time of 21.53 seconds, we did some fine tuning to the steering because, when I was airborne after the first ramp, it felt like it was pulling. In the final we made a time of 18.7 seconds, which led to us taking third place.”

Stephen added: “It was great to meet the other teams and the winners were a great bunch of guys to talk to about the cars and share tips. We’re looking forward to our next race now and hoping we can maintain a podium finish.”

Tony McGeever, director of Rospen Industries, was delighted with the team’s success. He said: “It was fantastic for Rospen Industries to be able to enter a team into the soapbox challenge for the first time on what proved to be a fantastic day for all involved. We’ve all watched Stephen and the team working on the car over the last six months and been excited to see what they came up with, knowing the strength of their engineering expertise.

“To achieve third place is amazing and we’re looking forward to seeing the car go from strength to strength ahead of its next event.”



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