Thousands of spectators have braved the freezing temperatures to watch the annual MAD Club soapbox derby.

The event, in Burton on Trent, Staffordshire, last year raised 78,000 for charity.

MAD stands for "Meynall Arms Drinkers" after the pub where the event is held.

Teams risk life and limb, racing through the twisting country lanes, in a variety of contraptions of differing shapes and colours.

Wheels on fire: Going round the bend for the annual Mad Club soapbox derby

By Daily Mail Reporter
29th December 2008
Daily Mail

You don't have to be mad to take part - but it might help if you want to join 'the club'.

Every year, members of the MAD Club don their helmets and climb aboard the homemade soapboxes they've lovingly turned into racing cars for a 1.25 mile charity race.

The club organisers derive their Meynell Arms Drinkers (MAD) title from the Meynell Ingram Arms pub in Hoar Cross where the event takes place.

Rainbow racing: 'Team Muppet' tear through the chicane during the Hoar Cross Downhill soapbox competition, a 1.25 mile charity race held in the village

Obstacle course: 'Where'd She Come From' trims the hay bales as the team negotiates the chicane. Last year the competition raised 78,000 for charity

The course twists and turns through lanes in the village close to Burton on Trent, in Staffs, and this year was watched today by a thousand spectators.

They clapped and cheered as the competitors risked life and limb in a variety of colourful craft with names such as 'Thunderbirds', 'Team Muppet, 'Whoever Next' and 'Where'd She Come From'.

Blaze of glory: Team Muppet tear past the crowds on the downhill run

Crash course: Team 'Starsky and Hutch' come apart at the seams as they demolish the chicane

Around 30 homemade soapboxes take part each year in battling it out for the best time on the track down School Hill within the village.

The competition is now in its fifth year, and last year raised 78,000 for Birmingham Children's Hospital and the Acorns Children's Hospice.

Three's a crowd: 'Here Come The Girls', steered by Michele DeHavilland, tear through the course

Tight squeeze: 'Thunderbirds' put on a colourful display

Out of this world: Thunderbird 2 takes on the challenge watched by nearly a thousand spectators