Houlton Maine is the location of the state soap box derby race this weekend.
The weather forecast is for sunshine, blue skies. The specially engineered Derby Hill at Community Park in Houlton Maine gets set up tonight for tech day on Friday. Safety checks and trial runs happen tomorrow. The 18th race of the Northern Maine Soap Box Derby is on Saturday, June 22nd.
Besides the build from a kit cars, the boys and girls between the ages of eight and seventeen, what else does it take to run a soap box derby race? Finding a public roadway hill that can be closed to traffic or a track smooth enough to hold the race is key.
But sponsors to finance the trophies, to underwrite the cost of building a launch ramp at the top of the hill, finish line are part of the soap box derby race puzzle.
So is water, food, bathroom facilities. Safety cones, bales of hay, and trailers to return the cars to the top of the hill for heat launches are needed too. A heat is a computer generated program to match racers up for “A” and “B” race phases. Wheels swapped after the “A” phase, lanes swapped for the “B” phase hill rerun. With the shorter, overall time average of two runs down the hill declaring the winner. That advances the driver and car through the heat sheet brackets. To determine the top eight derby car race finishers in up to three categories.
Each soap box derby division has a weight limit total for the helmet wearing driver and his or her car. The weight is the “engine” because gravity is your friend. Combined with finding the shortest, fastest “line” to the finish at the bottom of the designated derby hill. Lubricants, wax, building a car that is balanced, tracking straight and removing all forms of resistance to make it roll faster than the one in the other lane is key. Over and over. The youngest drivers have the heaviest weighted Maine soap box derby cars to lift, load, unload too.
Stock, super stock and master car divisions are the three flavors of soap box derby racing.
The three field of racers help a family keep everyone interested. Behind the wheel of their own car in this competitive down hill gravity NASCAR like racing sport. In addition, derby race volunteers to run the tech day car inspections for safety assurance and a fun race are needed. So are car loaders at the bottom of the hill and “topside” to load the launches for paired runs down the hill.
Loaner SUV’s required with adult drivers to deliver the young, excited racers to the top of the hill. To keep them paired with their cars on the rear loaded trailers hauled behind. Makes the race going smoothly when car and driver are kept together. To end the race on time without confusion or missing drivers, empty cars waiting to run under the sun. Or in the rain, whatever the weather. That’s part of the derby racing experience in Maine.
Timers to keep track of heat phase results, a position called “Dottie” to apply stickers to the nose end of cars are all vital volunteer positions. To running a soap box derby race. To help sort out, streamline who is paired with who on the top of the hill heats. An announcer to keep the race moving along before cloudy weather can cause a race delay is important. And to relay the electronic eye finish line results of each phase of the derby car race heat. So the fans, family, friends and support teams know the score. Of what just happened.
The derby heat sheet brackets of single or double elimination is slowly filled out.
As winners in each race bracket advance across the page to the eventual winner of your local derby race. With that trophy held high champ going on to represent the local derby race city in the World Series of derby racing, The All American running in Akron Ohio.
Planning the party afterwards, pictures of the racers to remember the family fun sporting event all part of the derby local race.
Publicity to keep the program going strong as kids grow up and go through the ranks of the derby car divisions is important too. To assure a new crop of brand new racers to continue and help the program grow. Ordering derby cars, having a fresh supply of parts and keeping current on racing rules and regulations is another vital job someone has to sign on for, to shepherd too.
Watch, Listen, See How A Local Maine Soap Box Derby Race Goes Together From Start To Finish Videos.
If you live in Maine, have or are a boy or girl ages eight to seventeen and would like to experience the “thrill of the hill”, to be part of the state race in Houlton, please email me at the link below. I will personally see that you get everything you need to be part of next year’s Maine State Soap Box Derby Race. The derby program has been a lot of fun, hard work but a memorable experience for my family.
I hope you can get, catch “Derby Fever” from the sound of rumbling wheels.
And witness the neat individual flavor of the car and driver members of a local soap box derby race. The big 76th race of the All American Soap Box Derby is July 27th and is streamed online to watch, hear how your local derby winner does on the big three lane historic hill in Akron Ohio. The derby race in Houlton Maine like the one in Akron is specially designed to set up quickly, to avoid the inconvenience and extra work taking over a public highway presents. And that can “burn out” the crew of volunteers needed to run a soap box derby race.