German Racers Compete for Glory on Toy Cars
No engine? No problem! Men well into their 60s were among those hurtling past crowds at 90 kilometres (74 miles) an hour on bobby cars at the recent bobby car races in Germany, where there was one unbreakable rule: no engines allowed.
Their racing vehicles may be tiny and engineless, but that did not slow down more than 100 people who competed for glory recently in the German state of Hesse’s Bobby Car Championship.
Produced in Germany since the 1970s, the bright-red BIG Bobby Car was originally intended as a toy car for children to sit and ride on, but it is also used in competitive racing by contestants big and small.
According to dpa news, the Hesse race was held on a downward sloping route measuring 600 to 700 metres. The 108 drivers who according to organizers took part included children, teenagers and adults – amateurs, but also professionals competing for spots on the world ranking of the Bobby Car sports association.
Hundreds of onlookers attended the event in the town of Kaufungen at the end of August, according to organizer Rolf Mueller. “Races are held for different age groups, starting at 3 years old,” he said.
Seeing people in their 60s competing on the self-propelled cars is not unusual either. Children have to use only a bicycle helmet for protection, but the faster racers must wear a motorcycle helmet and protective clothing. Competitors can reach speeds of 90 kilometres per hour and above.
There was one scare during the Kaufungen race when a child drove his vehicle into a bale of straw, but the driver luckily only suffered a pulled muscle, Mueller said.
Each racer has to bring their own Bobby Car, and there are strict rules that limit how much the vehicles can be tuned. The plastic body of the car cannot for instance be disassembled and artificially lengthened. Propulsion systems, no matter of what kind, are forbidden.
Hesse native and extreme sport athlete Dirk Auer recently set a new world record of 119 km/h using a mini-car with engines. But in Kaufungen, drivers had to rely solely on their own skills (probably honed since Kindergarten), and of course gravity.