On Sunday June 2nd, the Northern California town of Mountain View was home to the Silicon Valley Soap Box Derby competition, a qualifying event for the 71st annual All-American Soap Box Derby that will take place in Akron, Ohio on July 25th. Thirty-two kids ranging from 8-18 years entered the competition in their self-assembled kit cars.
The little race cars are built by the parents and children from kits provided by the All-American Soapbox Derby. Kids ages 8-12 compete in stock cars, while the older ones participate in 'super' stock cars. The difference between the two is the size, weight and aerodynamics.
Other than that, all the cars are the same - None of the cars have engines - they are just equipped with brakes and a steering wheel. Kids are however free to decorate them as they wish. This year one of the cars resembled a watermelon.
The race, which takes about 30 seconds, involves two cars competing against each other down a hill, with most of the work being done by the force of gravity. The winners move on to the next heat and continue competing until one final winner remains. While the cars can go up to speeds of 35mph, this year's maximum speed was about 10mph.
Besides the 32 competitors, 8 physically or mentally challenged kids also participated in the 'Super Kids' race. This race involves pairing disabled children with experienced drivers who compete in specially built two-seaters with dual controls. This year, two blind children participated in the race.
All participants receive a trophy, while the final winner in each category gets to compete in the All-American finals in July. The three winners this year were Alison Parman from Mountain View in the Stock Car category, Elliot Martinez of San Jose in the Super Stock Car category and Pauleen Ugalde in the Super Kids category.
The race is so much fun that even the adults couldn't keep away. The Mayor of Mountain View along with the chiefs of the four neighboring towns and some police captains and fire chiefs all took part in the fun. The winner in this category was the Mayor of the City of Cupertino, who credited his 'streamlined' body for the victory.
Sources: Svbd.com, San Jose Mercury News