IT IS the most unusual event in the Penarth social calender, but its popularity continues to soar.

The Downhill Derby, now in its seventh year, sees homemade karts compete to get the fastest time down Cliff Hill on The Esplanade.

This year saw the largest number of entries recorded, with 22 competitors taking the first run.

Among them were some incredibly imaginative and diverse entries, including an adapted shopping trolley, a blue shark design, and the customary replica of the vintage excursion ship the MV Balmoral.

Successfully navigating his way down the course before flying over the ramps at the end, the winner in the Under-12s category was Jack Lee, who came all the way from Bryn Celynnog School in Beddau to take part with his ‘Road Runner’ entry.

Part of a design technology project in school, the kart even featured on the evening news last week.

The under 16s winner was The Woberley, driven by William and Peter Martin, who executed a skilled hand-brake turn around the course chicane to emerge victorios in their category.

The overall Fastest Kart and King of the Hill awards went to the Supermarket Sweep-kart team, driven by Matthew Cooper, who achieved a record-breaking time of 30 seconds from start to finish.

The prize for the Best Kart was hotly-contested, but went to Peter Knowles and Andy Bradshaw, of Hamptons and Shore gift shops.

They created an incredible mermaid-themed effort called Siren of the Sea.

Town mayor Ken Lloyd presented the winners with bespoke trophies, designed by Elliot Penn.

He described the karts as “imaginative” and commended the participants and the crowd on their community spirit.

This was the first year that the Downhill Derby has taken place on the Saturday before the traditional Carnival Day, and organisers said they were “thrilled” by the number of people who turned out to enjoy the spectacle.

A spokeswoman for the town council said: “Big thanks to St John’s Ambulance, Elliot Penn, Jerry Cross and residents and businesses along the Esplanade for their support.”

Anyone interested in entering next year’s race should email to register their name.