THE waiting is almost over.

After months spent building a crazy collection of pedal cars in workshops and outbuildings across Hampshire, the teams are only hours away from lining up on the starting grid.

The Daily Echo-backed British Pedal Car Grand Prix is taking place in Ringwood today – two years after it last visited the town.

Part of the main shopping area will resemble the millionaires’ playground of Monaco as the homemade vehicles battle it out in streets that are closed to all other traffic.

The two-hour race is likely to be even tougher than usual this year, with temperatures expected to reach the high twenties as the heatwave continues.

High Street and three other roads, Market Place, Southampton Road and part of Meeting House Lane, will be shut between 10.15am and 5pm.

The eagerly-awaited event has attracted more than 30 entries from across Hampshire and beyond.

One of the vehicles has been built by Ringwood Brewery, which is celebrating its 40th anniversary and is one of the other sponsors.

Jodie Ringer, brand manager for the brewery, said: “Last year’s Boondoggle car has been replaced by a ‘Cheers to 40 Years’ design but the team remains unchanged, consisting of brewers, draymen and brewery shop staff.

“We’re very excited to be part of such a great local event that brings the community of Ringwood together.”

The pedal cars will assemble at the Furlong Shopping Centre at 10am and will be displayed there until parade laps start at 2.30pm, followed by the race itself at 3pm.

Race director Tony Butterworth said: “The whole emphasis of the event is to have fun.

“The pedal cars vary greatly in design. Some are very light and competitive cars while others are built to amuse the crowds.”

Members of each team take turns to pedal their car as the race unfolds.

Mr Butterworth added: “Each car has a team of up to four pedalers who can change over as many times as they like, which makes the pit lane viewing very interesting for the spectators.

“As well as local competitors the race attracts entrants from across the country.

“In 2016 teams travelled from Bristol, Rugby, Chippenham and even Germany to take part. Some are members of the British Pedal Car Committee and hope to give our local teams something to think about.”

The race has two venues, with New Milton hosting it one year and Ringwood the next.