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Soapbox Race Rolling Downtown on Saturday

By Eric Richardson
Published: Monday, September 21, 2009, at 04:58PM
Red Bull Soapbox Race Test Run Eric Richardson [Flickr]

A Red Bull driver gives the corner at 5th and Grand a test run earlier this month.

Expect hay to fly this Saturday as the human-powered contraptions in Red Bull's Soapbox Race take on Downtown's Grand Avenue hill. Bales will line the course as it runs down Grand from a start ramp near California Plaza, takes a left turn at 5th street and ends at the intersection of 5th and Olive.

Organizers hope to 50,000 spectators, so, whether you're planning to attend the event or not, Downtowners should take a moment to familiarize themselves with what all is going on.

WHAT: 47 absurdly-designed soapbox cars will roll down the course -- one at a time -- competing on both time and style. The fastest vehicle doesn't necessarily win. Judges look for speed, creativity and showmanship. Spectators also get to vote a People's Choice award via SMS.

You can check out vehicle designs on the event website, or just show up and see them in person on Saturday.

WHEN: Saturday, September 26. "Pits" open at 11:00am, and opening ceremonies get underway at 12:30pm. Racing starts at 1pm.

WHERE: Pits are on Grand Avenue, atop Bunker Hill. Awards will be given out at Pershing Square. Judges will be seated at the turn, which will allow them to still see the cars that don't make it through the turn.

Spectators will be allowed along the course, and at least one big screen will provide viewing for those having trouble getting close enough.

STREET CLOSURES: 5th street between Flower and Hill, Olive between 4th and 6th and Grand between 3rd and 6th will all close Friday evening for setup, reopening Sunday morning.

DOWNTOWN TEAMS: Unfortunately, neither of the two Downtown teams made it into the final field. You can read our interviews with them to see what they were hoping to build.

MORE INFO: Check out the Soapbox Race Los Angeles website.

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