A TOUCH of Monte Carlo arrived in Ringwood today.

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 innovatively made 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.

Daily Echo:

The race, which attracts crowds of up to 10,000, 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.

Among the racers was Neil Meaden, 27, who was making his debut in the event and hoping to raise money for a hospital charity.

“I am very excited to be taking part,” he added. “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.

Daily Echo:

“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 added. “It is a good fun event and I think everybody is having a fantastic time.”

Daily Echo:

The mayor of Ringwood, Cllr Barbara Woodifield, was in the crowds watching alongside the mayor of New Milton, Cllr David Hawkings.

The two towns alternate hosting duties for the race each year and the pair were in agreement that it is a great community occasion.

Daily Echo:

Cllr Hawkings said: “It is one of the best partnerships that New Milton and Ringwood share.”

Cllr Woodifield added: “I am really pleased that the weather is holding out. The turnout has been fantastic.”