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Racers have good clean fun at inaugural Hub City Soapbox Derby in Nanaimo

Aug. 20 event raised money for Nanaimo Child Development Centre
Juliet Brunt and Carver Thompson got on their marks and got ready at the Hub City Soapbox Derby Aug. 20. (Karl Yu/News Bulletin)

Racers in Nanaimo had some good, clean fun as they flew down an Old City Quarter hill in the first-ever Hub City Soapbox Derby.

Little kids and big kids assembled soapbox kits, complete with wheels and brakes, and steered a course down Fitzwilliam Street, between Selby and Wallace streets, from the morning till afternoon of Saturday, Aug. 20.

Carlos and Marcus Acosta, father and son, constructed their soapbox together, with Marcus racing in a Minion costume.

“The greatest challenge was the braking system,” Carlos told the News Bulletin. “Kind of had to make that up on the fly. At first we started with one and I realized it didn’t have enough stopping power … so we came up with this [where] we connect the two and he actually brakes with his knees and that’s the only one that I see here in all these cars.”

Marcus was pleased with his results after time trials.

“I thought I did way better than my practice test because when my practice test was going, I didn’t do as good,” he said.

Prizes for fastest racer, most creative vehicle and best-dressed pit crew were awarded in both divisions. Grayson Baerg won as fastest in the Little Kids’ division while Carson Henderson took the Big Kids’ title.

“I wasn’t fully expecting to win,” said Henderson. “I knew the competition would be hard and that all of the drivers had a little bit more experience … than me and that they all had a couple pounds on me, so we would be a bit slower with our top speed, but our cart made up for it and I think our crew did really well.”

The event was organized by Alair Homes, VMAC and Kristo Zorkin Group and benefited the Nanaimo Child Development Centre. Close to $12,000 had been raised at the start of the day, said Lisa Henderson, Alair regional community manager. She said she was pleased with how the inaugural derby played out, especially after COVID-19 delays.

“We saw some amazing designs,” she said. “We’ve got some quick cars, slower cars, but mostly [everyone] just having lots of fun.”

RELATED: Inaugural Soapbox Derby to bring thrills to Nanaimo hill

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Asher Mitri concentrates as he heads down Fitzwilliam Street. (Karl Yu/News Bulletin)
To the victor went the spoils at the inaugural Hub City Soapbox Derby took place in the Old City Quarter in Nanaimo. (Karl Yu/News Bulletin)
Owen Vertegaal during time trials at the Hub City Soapbox Derby in Nanaimo. (Karl Yu/News Bulletin)
Marcus Acosta with “Team Minion” during time trials. (Karl Yu/News Bulletin)
The inaugural Hub City Soapbox Derby took place in the Old City Quarter in Nanaimo on Aug. 20. Here Roczen Prest turns the corner near the finish line. (Karl Yu/News Bulletin)

Karl Yu

About the Author: Karl Yu

After interning at Vancouver Metro free daily newspaper, I joined Black Press in 2010.
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