A TOUCH of Monte Carlo arrived in Ringwood yesterday.
Spectators flocked to the town centre as the roads closed for the much anticipated British Pedal Car Grand Prix, which sees teams of competitors weave through the streets of the market town aboard their innovative machines.
In the moments leading up to the 2pm start, the master of ceremonies counted down over the loud speaker system before the brightly decorated cars stormed off from their starting positions.
The race included pit-stops for the teams to change drivers and drama inevitably ensued with two cars overturning and even a wheel falling off mid-contest.
Car number 23, Patterson’s Bangers, sponsored by Patterson’s butchers in Ringwood, won the race in a vehicle made by Martin Cherrett, who has been entering cars into the competition for more than 20 years.
Among the racers was Neil Meaden, 27, from Poole, who was making his debut in the event and hoping to raise money for Christchurch Hospital.
He said: “To be honest our aim at the moment is just to finish. The important thing to me is raising money for a good cause.”
Jackie York, dressed in red and black to match her car, was representing the Ladybirds of Christchurch Bicycle Club and accompanied by the team’s canine mascot Harry.
“We’re doing it in aid of children’s hospice Julia’s House,” she said. “We just thought it would really good fun – and we decided to bring Harry along to watch too.”
Spectator Chris Vincent, an aircraft squadron leader, was watching with friends and said he was appreciating the contest from an engineering perspective.
“Some of them have really impressed me,” he said.
The mayor of Ringwood, Cllr Barbara Woodifield, was in the crowds watching alongside the mayor of New Milton, Cllr David Hawkins.
The two towns alternate hosting duties for the race each year and the pair were in agreement that it is a great community occasion.