It will represent an echo of days gone by but when Super Kart Sunday roars through the streets of Letterkenny next month, there’ll be a whole new dimension to the once humble soap box derby.
Set to form the finale event of the Letterkenny Live Festival, it’s the brainchild of Danny Curran, manager of the Donegal Donkey Sanctuary located on the main Lifford road. The Super Kart initiative will raise funds to go to the development of an innovative Sensory Touch Centre at the Sanctuary, offering a new outlet for special needs children.
To help launch the event - it will be held on Sunday August 14 - Letterkenny Town Mayor, Gerry McMonagle took up a new position in the Market Square on Monday of this week, seated in a kart, the like of which will be replicated for Super Kart Sunday.
“We hope to attract around 30 racing soap box karts with each of the participants building their own kart. The maximum weight for the karts is 80 kilos,” Danny disclosed at the launch.
“It will be different from other soap box derbies in that we are hoping to get local businesses involved and get corporate sponsors for each kart. This would be a great team building and movivation exercise in the current economic climate while also benefiting a local charity,” he added.
The new unit at the Donkey Sanctuary will cost in the region of €30,000. “I don’t believe there is one anywhere else in the country but they’re very prominent in England,” said Danny.
The entry fee for each kart will be €200 and a number of cash prizes of similar equivalent will be available in a variety of categories including ‘the quickest time’, ‘the most entertaining run’, ‘the most stylish kart’, and the title of the ‘fastest business in town!’.
A five person team is required with each team having a driver over the age of 18 to steer the soap box through the twist and turns of what has been described as a hell raising circuit. Starting just above the Brewery Bar, the karts will run down the Square taking a sharp turn down the Main Street and turning left by the Library to finish at the bottom of Oliver Plunkett Road.
Private entries will be welcome but organisers are hoping that all such entries can secure a sponsor to cover the costs of the entry fee. Main sponsors of the overall event are Michael and Pauline Ford of Lakeside Kennels in Dungloe.
“We’re hoping it will create a real buzz around the town and be a grand finale to the Letterkenny Live Festival,” said chamber representative and Letterkenny Live organiser, Toni Forester.
Also in attendance at Monday’s launch were County Mayor, councillor Noel McBride, and Deputy Joe McHugh.
“I feel a bit like Fred Flinstone in this,” laughed Town Mayor McMonagle as he patiently sat in the replica kart prior to the official launch.
Come August 14, there’ll be plenty of Freds and Wilmas gearing up for the 2.30pm start in a race initiative which has also won the full backing and support of Letterkenny Town Council and the Garda Siochana.