Event in LuxembourgFull balloons in their soapboxes
DIFFERDANGE – The 16th edition of the famous Differdange soapbox race took place on Sunday afternoon. The essential was there.
A blue racing car in the shape of a rocket hurtling down rue JF Kennedy, in Differdange. Then another, vegetated, covered with lawn. Then a third, decorated with yellow balloons. Funny atmosphere, this Sunday afternoon, in the heart of the City of Iron, as European Mobility Week opens. No question, however, of backfiring and polluting mechanics, but simple soapboxes piloted by young people from 8 to 15 years old.
For its 16th edition, the event only collected about ten registrations this year, against, good year, bad year, 30-35 in previous years. A defection that Roberto Traversini, president of the Jugendtrëff Differdange, organizer, attributes to “a lack of publicity organized by the municipality”. Few participants in the three events – the slalom, the straight line and the duel, one against one, therefore, but a lot of people massed along the course, on each side of the road. “We must reach 300 to 400 spectators”, notes Vlady, educator at the Jugendtrëff Differdange.
“I marvel to see the imagination”
An attentive and enthusiastic spectator, Zelito, 42, occupies a prominent place at the finish line. “This is the fourth or fifth time I’ve come. It’s really nice, and well done for families. In addition, the sun is in the game! It’s great for Differdange, and I marvel at the imagination of those who made the vehicles,” he smiles while frantically applauding the arrival of a competitor. For David, who came from Athus in Belgium with Evan (4 and a half years old), this is a great first. “It’s cool to show him that, because he didn’t know”. Coming as neighbors, and therefore accustomed to the thing, Alan, 10 years old, and Lana, 8 years old timidly observe the show, but “do not plan to pilot such machines”. “They are a little scared,” confirms Sako, the dad.
On the pilot side, Vladu, 12, is a neophyte. “I’m from Differdange, but I had never participated” in this race reserved for over 8s. “I’m a fan of driving, and my specialty is slalom,” he said, looking determined, at the start area, at the top of JF Kennedy Street. Jana (12), he plays it “old regular” for his fifth participation. “I hope to win,” he says bluntly, advised at the start and debriefed on arrival by a friend. Less joy on the face of Branden, also 12 years old, who had to give up with a heavy heart to pilot his splendid machine in the shape of a mouse. “There is a technical problem”, confirms those around him, “it is too big to enter the cabin”.
All, public, participants, winners or not, disappointed or not, met at the end of the afternoon on the Market Square for the award ceremony and, already, set an appointment at the next year. For an even more 17th edition… at full speed!