Soap box derby racing in Houlton ME.
June 24th, 2023 is the race date for the 27th running of the soap box derby race in Houlton ME. Today, if you want to derby race in Maine, “Derby Hill” in Houlton ME is the one state site for gravity racing. Once upon a time, there were five local derby racing site locals in Maine. The Northern Maine soap box derby built a two lane racing hill.
I think the big reason Houlton ME survived the one by one closure of the other four local Maine soap box derby programs.
The Soap Box Derby youth car racing program began back in 1933. World Championship finals are held each July at Derby Downs in Akron, Ohio.
Un-powered cars bit from a kit compete using only gravity for fuel. Kids between 7 to 20 years of age are eligible to race in the All American soap box derby program.
Getting a car sponsor or buying a derby car to assemble is part of the education.
Workers to set up a hill, tear it down after a derby race is one of the biggest cost in manpower and logistics. Someone needs to be on the top of the hill to load cars into the gates. To launch each heat from “Topside”.
Other individuals at the bottom of the race course to help pull cotter pins, rotate wheels, load cars on trailers to head back to the top of the hill.
To keep racers with their cars for quick pairing.
So the day is no longer than it has to be to determine your winners in each division.
So we can move on to have the big soap box derby party and lots to eat. While watching the awards presentation after all the fun winds up in this year’s local Maine soap box derby race.
Timing the lane heats to determine who advances up the soap box derby racing brackets.
Lots of jobs for volunteers to fill year after year. Weather is always an unknown but heck, we live in Maine. Get lots of different types of weather to work around all year long.
Our Houlton Maine derby racing program trains drivers and their support teams to expect blistering hot, pouring rain, maybe even snow and gusty wind conditions on the track.
If you live in Maine, if you want to sponsor a soap box derby car, visit this link for the costs involved buying a stock racer. For larger, older racers, this is the link for buying a super stock derby car.
There is a master division to keep the interest of the oldest derby racers.
I helped one of my four kids who all soap box derby raced and can attest from experience. It takes way more than 30 hours to build a masters kit car. Here’s the link to the newest version to buy a soap box derby master kit car.
There are lots of existing soap box derby cars around the state of Maine.
You see them for free and wearing layers of thick dust and rust from laying around the back or up over head a Maine garage.
Sometimes you see them in sell swap trade guides. A Maine stock or super stock soap box derby car will be mingled in among the list of for sale item bargains. Most seem to be free to a good home.
The only problem with old derby race cars is having to update floor boards, making sure the axles or other parts are not outdated.
There is time, expense, dedication and a lot of gravity aerodynamic science that goes into building or maintaining a soap box derby car.
Kids grow up and learn to drive real cars out into the big wild World. But they never forget what an allen wrench is for or an lock washer. How to adjust weights, tighten a steering cable or change a brake pad.
The derby race cars that impress me the most are not the ones where one sponsor or someone’s parent bought the kit out of pocket.
But rather the derby race cars passed down with many sponsors each contributing the money to buy them, splitting the cost of paint, updates, helmets, new brake pads, graphics, etc.
Rather than read read read, let’s watch a couple Maine soap box derby race program videos.
It’s all downhill, gravity racing where weight, alignment is your “engine” with the trick to get from top to bottom quicker than the other lane driver.
Thank you for helping spread the word on the state of Maine soap box derby race held in Houlton ME’s on Derby Hill.
The Houlton Maine local derby race was the largest five years in a row. It takes 66 volunteers, around 200 derby race car drivers. Lots of car sponsors, program advertisers to pull off that kind of accomplishment! Kids are king and queen and the whole village raises the youngsters in rural small town Maine! That’s why year after year, Maine soap box derby has kept rolling in “The County”, in “Vacationland”.