Race Day Recap
We left Colorado on Wednesday with a bit of uncertainty. Our vehicle was still a bit tacky from a late paint job, our logos and decals we lying in the seat of the vehicle and we had a long drive ahead of us.
We arrived in Las Vegas where we were greeted with sunshine and very warm temperatures. This was a stark contrast to our starting point! We took that opportunity to decal our vehicle, in front of the “Welcome to Fabulous Las Vegas” sign. Thursday evening we arrived in LA and were prepared for an early start. At 4 am we were out of the house and on the way to the venue. We were scheduled for KTLA news and we arrived prepared to drive and chat with our interviewer, Gayle Anderson. While we were there we got to meet some of our competition. The beauty of these events is that while it is a competition, everyone is there for fun so the teams were all comparing notes, talking about their build and everyone was excited to show off their craft. We had a chance to see some crafts and make some new friends in LA.
Friday night we had a drivers meeting that gave use the opportunity to meet all the teams we had been seeing updates from. It was very cool to us to hear nearly all of them talking about watching our Ferrari build and our Mach 5 build. Tomas from Apocalypse said that he would watch our newest video and get motivation to get out to work in his car. Over and over again, each team we spoke to would say that they had been keeping an eye on our build and each team found our videos to either be inspiring or instructional or both. We couldn’t ask for more! We always want to push ourselves, but the fact that we came to LA and pushed a lot of teams to strive harder and make an even more awesome craft...well, that is truly the best honor we could have.
When we started our build we anticipated that custom car builders and fabricators as well as production companies and maybe even some Hollywood elite may create cars that we would have to compete against. That was a thrilling proposition! I mean, if you are going to compete, why not go against the best! Who knew that they were all going to be looking at us as their ultimate competition! When we arrived at the venue we started meeting teams. Totos Escape, who participate on the TV show Overhaulin’, build concept cars and custom audio for vehicles and are just all round great guys. We met Ironheade, who are designers and tech directors at Pixar with a great concept that created a great theme, in line at the drivers meeting where one of their members happened to accidentally put on a Mach 5 t-shirt that day. The LA Fire Department immediately had street cred since they just finished putting out the Station fire. Apocalypse whose videos I personally couldn’t get enough of. Their team was made up from Hollywood production members working on an apocalyptic movie. The Human Factors are all Design students. We had an unexpected rivalry with them when some friendly Internet banter began a week before. Each of the crafts that showed up was better than expected and each team was more talented than we could imagine. The competition was going to be fierce!
When race day arrived we were prepared, we prepared for our skit, we prepared for the crowds and we were ready to go. We put build sheets up around our tent that showed people how or vehicle was prepared back at Racer Motors headquarters. Our gimmick was stickers, 1200 of them actually. (last year we had 500 printed) So each man woman and child was treated to some information about the mach 5 including its 0-60 time of .6 seconds and slalom of 138 miles per hour. We were swamped all day; it took a lot of effort to remember to drink fluids and to eat anything at all. We had our photo taken with so many people and were visited by many a face, familiar and unfamiliar. It was awesome to see Taryn, our soap box Liaison from last year who now lives in LA and Anthony who we competed against from the soapbox nerds team in Denver. They were both on our team this year! Old friends showed up unexpectedly and new friends were at hand as well. As the day wore on we were made aware that the peoples choice voting had begun and when people were voting for our team they were getting notice that they had voted for “the moustachios” Red Bull sorted out their glitch eventually and the show went on. We spoke to so many people and ran out of stickers incredibly fast! I could have had double the number made and still run out very easily. So many people were so impressed with the car. It was the talk of the show and when people saw it who hadn’t heard anything about it, they were just taken back by its looks and craftsmanship. Eventually the judges stopped by, Ronnie Renner and Eric Estrada were among the judges. Ronnie Renner was just amazed by our build sheets from Racer motors. He was checking out our fiberglass layup then checking out our Road and Track test sheets. Eric Estrada was completely taken back by the whole thing; He kept looking at the details and making remarks. They moved onward and our judging was complete.
We began to line up for our race. Each team is required to do a 30 second skit. We were in the team meeting before and we were told the same things as last year. Show up to the start, you’ll be directed where to go and when, then an interview or a video of some sort, and introduction then do your skit and push the craft. “Look at me, I will be right there and I will let you know when to go” was what the event guy said over and over again. So we watched team after team go from our vantage point. It didn’t lend much of an advantage because most of the time we were away from the jumbotrons and with the craft there we were staying nearby for photo ops as well as in the shade as much as possible. We got up to the stage and the team before us was being interviewed, they did their skit and we started to move onstage. Looking this way and that for some sort of instruction. We chatted with the Firemen who were up there and then heard: Next up TEAM SPEED RACER! We looked this way and that for our interviewer to realize “HOLY CRAP! OUR SKIT MUSIC IS PLAYING!!” In a crazed clustered mess we tried to salvage our skit but to no avail, each cue was coming and going, we rushed and got to our places to soon then too late then too soon again. I am sure it looked as disorganized as it felt! We ended up pushing the craft off the start line a bit disappointed. Matt just killed the course. He cranked the turns, killed the berm and launched the jumps. When he crossed the line with a perfect skid turn, they announced that there was a new fastest time on the course! We had gone faster than any other team! We do realize that speed is only 1/3rd of the overall factors that make up our final score, but when you are showing up to race people, the fastest time is the most important factor! We knew that we couldn’t expect anything good from our scores, because of our poor performance on stage. So when we got to the awards we were thinking we might win people’s choice but we had little hope beyond that. Paul Rodriguez got on stage with Uncle E and the announcement was made. Peoples choice was ours! We stepped down and waited for the awards to finish and the next thing we knew we were on the stage again! 3rd place was ours as well! 2nd was captured by Ludicrous speed and first by Ironheade!
To be honest we couldn’t be happier, I mean to win the Peoples choice award and be the out-of-towners was a great honor. Not only that but the response from the crowd to our craft was pretty incredible as well! We are deciding what our future holds but for now we will simply be excited to be able to know that we have made waves in the Red Bull Soapbox Races. Teams are stepping it up specifically because they have seen what we have done in the past and it is cool to know that we are the big shoes that they are trying to fill!
Thanks to everyone at RedBull who make these things happen and thanks to all the other teams for making it a fun event, we have made some great new friends and look forward to seeing what everyone comes up with in the future!