Organisers of Eastbourne’s Soapbox Race are planning to call time on the Wacky Races style event, unless enough sponsorship can be found within a month.

The one-day event which brings a multitude of crazy creations and capers to the town, normally takes place on the western end of the seafront, but does not have enough funding to continue this September.

Attracting around 10,000 people over the course of the day and hundreds of thousands more across social media, the show was previously subsidised by local car companies, hotels and Eastbourne Borough Council.  Increasing costs and a lack of headline sponsor however, mean the 2024 event no longer has the green light.

An Eastbourne Borough Council spokesperson said, “Soapbox began in 2021 and became a surefire hit with both residents and visitors, taking place towards the end of our busy events season, generating lots of money for charity, raising the profile of local businesses and showcasing our incredible community spirit.

“This is our biggest event to be introduced in recent years and following its phenomenal success we would love to continue, but it only has a future with the financial support of local businesses and sponsors. 

“Please do get in touch if you can help in any way, this really is the last opportunity to get this event back on track for 2024.”

The event was slated to return on 22 September, but entries remain closed until £13,000 in funding can be found to cover its road closure, safety and security costs.

First established in 2021, the race generally attracts 35 – 40 teams and around 140 participants, each building their own soapbox cart in an array of zany designs and generating money for local charity. 

Crowds cheer on the crazy costumed participants along the twisting downhill route, while a big screen displays live footage, and a pits area provides food outlets and the opportunity for families to explore the soapboxes after each race.

Featured in regional and national media, the event attracts a strong family audience with more than a third aged 35 – 44 years old.  Many of the videos of the races online have been viewed thousands of times.

Opportunities are available to advertise or sponsor parts of the event, with packages ranging from advertising on ramps and railings to big screen adverts and full headline sponsorship.

Businesses can pledge their support by contacting soapbox@lewes-eastbourne.gov.uk by 30 April, before a final decision is made on the future of the race.