Soap Box Derby 2012
On Saturday, June 2nd, the Hill City Classic Derby took place at Falwell Aviation. 22 drivers competed in the double elimination competition, ten in stock and 12 in superstock. The double elimination format meant that some of the drivers raced down the hill as many as six times.
Since there aren’t any engines in soapbox derby the difference between stock and uper stock is the size of the driver. Stock cars accommodate drivers in the 10-13 age range. In superstock the cockpit is larger to accommodate drivers aged 13-17.
The drivers must make their cars, using a hard plastic kit that weighs about 60 pounds. According to two of the drivers, the hardest part of building the car is getting the steering cables installed correctly. Most of the drivers had assistance from a helpful adult.
In the 1950’s and 60’s the Derby was a fixture in downtown Lynchburg, the course taking advantage of various hilly streets. This year, Falwell Aviation was chosen as the sight of the derby due to the layout of the land and the slope of the runway. Without an engine, gravity plays a vital role in the running of the race. The track was about 100 yards (the length of a football field) and the drivers reached a speed in excess of 30 miles per hour.
The stock and superstock winners, Fulton Fitzgerald and Nathan Hansen, respectively, will travel to Akron, Ohio to compete in the National Soap Box Derby on July 21st. The Carriage House Inn Bed and Breakfast wishes the best of luck to Lynchburg’s representatives!
The derby was such a success the organizers plan to offer the event again next year.
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